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Our Innovative Team

COVVI prides itself on having a team of highly qualified and dedicated individuals with a wealth of experience in prosthetic technology and product development.

Upon the acquisition of the Bebionic hand by Ottobock in 2017, the brains behind the award-winning technology decided to create something new; with a reinvigorated vision and abundance of fresh ideas, the COVVI team was born – in combining their abilities to manifest the vision for COVVI. COVVI aims to deliver a world-leading prosthetic hand with users and clinicians at its heart, working together we can action real positive change to the many lives of upper-body prosthetic users forever.

Simon Pollard

Simon Pollard

Group CEO

Simon is an enthusiastic entrepreneur with a keen eye for great ideas, which lead him to form COVVI in 2017 alongside a team of industry veterans, all of which had big aspirations in advancing bionic technology. As CEO, Simon works on the front line of COVVI to drive the success of the business, by delivering a world-beating product that can reach a global audience through a strong distribution network. He strives to amplify the benefits of prosthetic technology to the upper-limb amputee community across the globe.

Simon is always looking to further develop the offerings of COVVI and change as many lives around the world as possible. By analysing usage data and incorporating AI into COVVI’s software offerings, we can continually improve the potential of our products and stay at the forefront of the prosthetics industry.

A Leeds-born and bred businessman, Simon has spent over two decades building a highly successful commercial portfolio. He has a true passion for valuing customers and places this as a central ethos in his entrepreneurial endeavours. His mission to develop leading brands is driven by a tenacity to achieve and build upon previous successes – the companies he currently oversees cover a diverse range of industries, from hospitality, childcare, IT and telecoms. A proud moment for Simon came in 2015 when he was chosen by The Insider as a ‘one to watch’ in their annual ’42 Under 42′ list – a program that recognises Yorkshire’s most dynamic and inspirational entrepreneurs, celebrating their success in helping to grow the regional economy.

Donna Wilson

Donna Wilson

Financial Accountant

As the Financial Advisor for COVVI, I am delighted to be in a position to continue the vision that Simon has worked so passionately to achieve. I have been involved in the day-to-day finances of COVVI for several years, which has given me much insight into the operations of the business, and I have enjoyed seeing it flourish into a world-leading manufacturer of upper-limb prosthetics. I am looking forward to working alongside Simon and the management team to ensure that the business continues to maintain the high standards achieved to date.

I am a mum of 3 children, so I’m kept pretty busy out of work but in my spare time I love to travel, eat out and spend quality time with my family and friends.

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson

Business Development

Emily graduated with a 1st Class Honours degree in International Business Management and speaks fluent Spanish with academic exchanges in both Spain and Mexico. After graduating, she decided to return to Mexico City in order to take up the opportunity of working as a Senior Buyer for Mexico’s leading department store chain with over 125 stores nationwide. The role allowed her to work with people from many different countries and develop organisational and interpersonal skills at a senior level.

After returning to the UK, Emily is extremely excited to be part of the COVVI team working with distributors across Europe to deliver our world-class hand to as many people as possible.

Claire Prendergast

Claire Prendergast

Customer Service Manager

Claire is joining COVVI at an exciting time. She comes with an extensive background in providing excellent Customer Service and is about to hit the ground running to ensure we continue to provide an exceptional Customer Experience to all.

Claire thrives on procedures and will ensure that everything will continue to run like clockwork.

As an Army Veteran, she is driven by her exceptional work ethic and her commitment to always providing the best service possible.

James Hunt

James Hunt

Supply Chain Manager

James joined COVVI in October 2021, as the company’s Supply Chain Manager. Graduating in 2002 from studying Mathematics at the University of Exeter, James has been working in Supply Chain since he left, giving him 20 years of experience across varying sectors and with companies of varying sizes. He believes that structure and procedure are key to success, and so is keen on systematic approaches and processes.

James believes that COVVI can change people’s lives for the better, and is excited to be part of the team that can do that. Outside of work, James is a keen Formula 1 fan (given the name), and follows lower league football.

Rob Spares

Rob Spares

Mechanical Design Engineer

Rob works alongside his mechanical engineers in figuring how components will fit together within a compact design. Coming from a science background, he is very much the meticulous inquisitor of the team and holds great value in precision and favours refining simplicity from initial complex and elaborate component plans. Joining the team at a similar time to his colleagues, Rob has benefited from COVVI starting from the ground-up as this has allowed him to implement processes that tests components at every stage of their development.

Rob started his career in more traditional heavy-engineering roles, but an interest in modelling and simulation led to further study and employment with AEA Technology where he developed fluid dynamics software. He was subsequently offered a research position at the University of Bradford, modelling the flow of polymers within the extrusion process. After completing his PhD, Rob conducted further research into material characterisation and optimisation which drew him away from simulation, and into a more hands-on engineering role. His continued interest in process imagining combined with commercial projects in developing medical devices, requiring novel injection moulding toolsets, steered him towards a design-based position. Now a Research Fellow, and with 20 years of industry experience, Rob moved away from academia and joined began working on prosthetics in 2014 where he can apply his background in materials, testing and design to a worthwhile product.

Awais Hussain

Awais Hussain

Software Engineering Manager

Awais joined the COVVI team in June 2019, as a Software Engineer, working closely alongside the Electrical Engineers to develop the COVVI Go App and web portal. Prioritising user experience has always been at the forefront of his work, ensuring that the app and web portal maximise functionality at the same time as providing significant benefit to our users and clinicians alike. Being able to adapt to the fast-paced environment at COVVI has been a key factor in his success.

His passion for programming over the years led him to pursue a BSc in Computer Science as well as an MSc in Advanced Computer Science at the University of Leeds. During his studies, Awais built up a portfolio of personal projects and professional experience through contract work in his free time. Having developed a strong skill set in a range of development areas allowed Awais to confidently take on the challenge of working solely on large software projects.

Paul Smithson

Paul Smithson

Electronics Design Engineer

With the freedom to be creative and flexible at COVVI, along with his ‘make things work’ attitude Paul is a valuable asset to the electrical engineering team. He designs circuit boards and firmware alongside his colleagues, which brings to life the motor control of the fingers along with various background functions. Paul sees the team at COVVI being uniquely positioned to be highly responsive to patients, and personally endeavours to listen to user feedback and experience, constantly adapting and developing according to their needs.

Paul is an engineer with more than two decades of electronics-industry experience within the biomedical, instrumentation and surveillance sectors, he has designed electronic circuits and writing firmware for quadrupole mass spectrometers, thermal imaging cameras and infrastructure CCTV systems. He was also instrumental in designing the surveillance system used by Network Rail to monitor unmanned crossings. Paul, who considers himself to be creative with a strong practical approach to design, development and testing, first established a position within the prosthetics industry in 2014 to work on the bebionic hand, and other assistive technology products.

David McCrickard

David McCrickard

Electrical & Software Engineer

David is one of our electrical whizzes at COVVI and so spends a lot of his time designing circuit boards, coding firmware (microprocessor-level software), and developing electrical accessories that enables COVVI products to be compatible with smartphones, tablets and their corresponding software. He has been instrumental in developing top-tier electrical components that improves upon the limited functionality of prosthetic predecessors and applying updatable, multi-purpose technology that invests in our product’s future.

David is an experienced engineer with over ten years’ experience, having graduated in 2003 from studying Electronic Engineering at the University of Bradford. He has worked with companies of various sizes on a variety of unique products, from iPod accessories, image scalers, tensile testers, electronic looms, vibration white finger monitoring equipment, and most recently upper-limb prosthetics for the medical sector.

David believes completing the full life-cycle of development has been both challenging and rewarding, having not envisioned working with the healthcare industry on such ground-breaking products – looking back on his career he feels privileged to have experienced working with such technological variety, and is certain the best is yet to come as COVVI now looks to the future.

Louis Chappell

Louis Chappell

Software Engineer

Louis is a software developer that joined COVVI in March 2022, and hit the ground running, developing the support web app and contributing to the COVVI Go App and COVVI Portal.

He has over five years of software development experience in a wide range of fields and takes pride in working on such a fantastic product suite. Louis is excited to help the users of the Nexus Hand and improve their experience by streamlining their interactions with the hand; allowing them to access the huge customisation potential of the device in the most intuitive manner possible.

Lauren Evans

Lauren Evans

Customer Service Executive

Lauren has joined the team at a very exciting time. With 7 years of providing great customer service under her belt, 4 years of team leader experience and a bachelor’s in journalism; she is well equipped to make sure COVVI continues to provide total customer satisfaction at all times.

Lauren is extremely detail-oriented and enjoys making sure every box is ticked along the way.

Wayne Leach

Wayne Leach

Group IT Manager

Wayne has worked in IT industry for the last 26 years, 10 of those years have been working with us as Group IT Manager, reporting into the CEO and managing the IT function across five group companies.

Working as part of the Group has provided Wayne with a number of exciting challenges in what is a fast-moving environment which operates a dynamic portfolio of businesses which include telecoms, Nursery, Hotel and Prosthetics, all of which are extremely varied. In turn the last 10 years has helped Wayne further develop and demonstrate his skillset across multiple platforms. Wayne has seen it as a real privilege to work with such a dedicated team of friendly people who all aspire drive growth and service our customers across the portfolio.

In his spare time, Wayne has spent the last 13 years being heavily involved in coaching junior football, achieving a Level 1 FA Coaching award. He spends a lot of his spare time following his two sons in their sporting activities. Wayne’s youngest son plays for the junior team he currently coaches, with his eldest achieving many accolades throughout his athletics career; and hopes to go on to compete for the Irish National Team in the future.

John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson

Production Lead

John has joined COVVI with the task of bringing the COVVI hand to production in a calm and controlled fashion, drawing on his experience in high precision manufacturing in the Medical Device and Biotech industries. He has previously worked for York Instruments, leading a team on the pre-production build of a Neuro-imaging device based on a technique known as Magnetoencephalography (MEG) – mapping the magnetic signals generated by activity in the brain. John spent a lot of time developing production build methods to allow for speed, quality and efficiency, and played a pivotal role in delivering an electronics upgrade to an existing MEG machine based at the University of York’s neuro-imaging centre. This upgrade allows them to take at least 20x more brain data per second than before.

Prior to that, John worked for a company producing cutting edge Biotechnology that measured thermal stability of proteins for early stage drug research. It was in this role he learned most about production controls before a promotion to Production Manager. After the product was sold to a US company, John facilitated the transfer of the Production department and delivered training to production staff and service engineers alike – the product now sits in the Unchained Labs portfolio as the upgraded version ‘Uncle’.

He obtained a Batchelor’s Degree in Physics from the University of York in 2008 and acquired a Level 3 Diploma in Manufacturing and Production in 2017.

John prides himself on high quality, efficient, reproducible Production and having worked in ISO 13485 accredited environments, you can be assured he won’t rest until the COVVI hand is perfect.

Gemma Smithson

Gemma Smithson

Digital Media Producer

Gemma is a recent graduate from Sheffield Hallam University and has a real passion for what she studied there. She picked up a lot of valuable skills, learning from operating different cameras and recorders to the complexity of different editing software. Having a passion for making films has been with her from a very young age and has never stopped pursuing it.

A lot of her experience comes from school studies or home experiments, now with the help of COVVI, she can really stretch her limits and put to good use all the information she has collected thus far.

Steven Young

Steven Young

Assembler

Steven has worked in the field of engineering for a considerable number of years, in one form or another, including experience in the prosthetics industry. Prior to joining us, he worked on building and assembling the BeBionic hand for several years, which was ideal as he now works as part of our assembly team!

In January 2022 joined COVVI after being captivated by the craftsmanship of the Nexus Hand on our website. He was especially impressed by the build quality of the hand and knew he wanted to be involved in its production. Now working in the Production Area of our head office, Steven works as a part of a team which builds the Nexus Hand for our users all around the world, and looks forward to the future and developments that may come.

Zach Myers

Zach Myers

Assembler

Zach studied Business for two years at Leeds City College, before pursuing a role in this field after gaining his diploma. However, he discovered that his true passions were more aligned with engineering, automotives and aerospace, so he decided to pursue a career in this sector instead.

Upon introduction to COVVI and the Nexus Hand, Zach was immensely impressed with the intricacy of the design, and knew he wanted to join the team as an assembler.

Christine Gales

Christine Gales

Assembler

Christine has come to COVVI for a new challenge in helping create and build our most innovative products.

Christine brings a wealth of shop floor experience and knowledge of the industry, having spent the last 28 years in the artificial limb industry. She initially trained as an electronics technician acquiring various qualifications in this field. She then progressed to other roles, from programming personalised aids for the disabled to specialist footwear prosthetics. For the last 10 years Christine has worked solely on the bionic hands. She really is ‘hands on’, building the hands from scratch with quality precision.

She has remained in this industry because she ‘believes’…especially in products that have the ability to change peoples lives!

Mohammed Fiaz

Mohammed Fiaz

Test Engineer

Mohammed Fiaz started working for COVVI in April 2019, working closely with the R&D and Production teams to aid with the building and testing of COVVI’s wide range of products.

Mohammed ensures the quality and functionality of our specialised, in-house products through a series of in-depth testing measures to ensure the Nexus Hand and its accessories perform to expected test specifications, which are set out by the R&D team. His ongoing work is vital to COVVI and ensuring of production pipeline continues to run smoothly.