Collaboration

Make science
make sense

nuron engineers, wastewater and sewer experts have worked together to develop and patent a next generation, dual-purpose fibre sensing technology for wastewater operators and industry.

Background

nuron was formed by Mike Ainger (former Geo) and Mark Rutherford (Financial Strategy Expert) and commenced trading in 2015, bringing together their considerable experience of the utilities and telecommunication industries. The company was set up to address the need for a step change in monitoring technology for the wastewater industry, and to lead a team of bright entrepreneurs, innovators and engineering experts.

nuron’s entrepreneurial management team is headed up by Claire Fenwick, Managing Director, with Paul Dickenson as Technical Director and Louise Keogh as Commercial Manager. They combine successful careers focused on installing and running conventional communication networks, fibre networks in sewers and developing fibre optic monitoring solutions for oil and gas customers.

nuron’s technical advisors include experts in Optical Fibre Sensing and Networking, Sewer Engineering and Fluid Dynamics from the Pennine Water Group (a leading urban water engineering research group in the UK) at the University of Sheffield.

Left to right: Louise Keogh, Claire Fenwick, Paul Dickenson.

Management Team

Claire Fenwick

Managing Director

Claire holds a Bachelors degree in Special Engineering from Brunel University and has a successful 15 year track record in the telecommunications industry working at COLT, BSkyB and Telewest.  More recently she brings business strategy and leadership experience from her time at FibreSpeed and has infrastructure procurement, build and management experience ranging from conventional telco networks to man-entry and non-man entry sewer networks and subsea cable installation at Geo Networks.  Her versatility, leadership skills and love of challenging convention have fast tracked her from grass root delivery to senior management. Claire is a conscientious and diplomatic leader with a hands-on delivery style.

Paul Dickenson

Technical Director

Paul has a background delivering fluid mechanics and flow monitoring for the oil and gas industry. He spent 13 years with Schlumberger, the largest oil and gas service company, in a range of UK and global technical roles. Most recently, he lead the development of flow monitoring applications of distributed fibre optic measurements, targeting well surveillance, pipeline monitoring and leak detection. Paul holds Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in engineering from the University of Cambridge. He has a methodical approach to problem solving and natural ability to communicate complex solutions in a simple way.

Louise Keogh

Commercial Manager

Louise began her career working in the clean water industry before transferring to the telecommunications industry. During her time in telecoms she excelled in project management and customer network engineering roles. She has a proven track record of getting to the heart of customer’s requirements and implementing complex customer projects spanning: fibre infrastructure extensions (conventional and in sewers), Wave, Ethernet and IP products. Louise continually strives for a deeper understanding of the work she is involved in, displayed by her commitment to professional development in advanced fibre optics, Cisco networking and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering with The Open University.

Board Members

Mike Ainger

Mike is the Founding Director of nuron, and has 30 years’ experience in the transport, communications and engineering industries, including 10 years in the UK rail industry and over 15 years in senior management roles in the telecoms sector.

Mike was Chief Operating Officer of Geo Networks from 2004 to 2014, the UK’s leading dedicated optical fibre business, which was sold to Zayo in 2014. He was also responsible for the development of the UK’s only optical fibre business to successfully use the sewers, Geo metro (formerly Urband).

Mike is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Chris Smedley

Chris is an experienced leader who has developed and led several technology businesses with an emphasis on customer acquisition, high quality service, retention and growth. He originally qualified as a solicitor at Linklaters, before joining the senior management team at Colt Telecom plc.

He founded and ran Geo Networks, the UK’s leading dedicated optical fibre business, which was sold to Zayo in 2014.

As well as sitting on nuron’s board, Chris has recently established a new business, Landways, which provides long-term communications infrastructure solutions for high-density buildings and venues.

 

Mark Rutherford

Mark is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years experience in telecommunications and technology business, specialising in commercial and business development and strategic planning on start-up businesses.

He was part of the founding team at Orange’s New Business Ventures group, tasked with expanding the brand in Europe, before joining 3UK as Director of Business Planning and Strategy to launch the first commercial 3G operation in Europe.

As well as sitting on nuron’s board, Mark runs a business specialising in supporting the creation of new start up and further development of telecom businesses.

Technical Advisors

Prof. Kirill Horoshenkov

MEng, PhDMEng, PhD

Professor of Acoustics

Kirill Horoshenkov is Professor of Acoustics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield. He is an expert on novel sensing technologies for the inspection of underground assets and instrumentation. He has been principal investigator or co-investigator on 19 projects related to urban water sensing. He has over 160 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. He has a strong track record in research leading to non-academic impact. In 2009 he was awarded a prestigious Brian Mercer Award from the Royal Society, ultimately leading to the establishment of his spin-off, Acoustic Sensing Technology Ltd, which markets SewerBattTM technology for buried pipes inspection in the UK and overseas.

Prof. Simon Tait

Bsc (Eng), PhD

Professor of Water Engineering

Simon Tait is Professor of Water Engineering in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at Sheffield University. He is an expert in the processes associated with sedimentation in river and urban drainage systems and the hydrodynamics associated with flows over rough, water worked sediment deposits. His secondary interests are in applying and developing improved measurement and management methodologies to allow urban water infrastructure systems to cope better with pressures caused by climate change, changing patterns of use and physical deterioration and more recently the study of energy use and recovery in urban water systems.  Simon has over 70 publications in refereed journals. He sits on CIWEM’s Urban Drainage Group and is current Editor of the ICE’s Water Management journal.

Dr. Stuart Kingsley

CEng, MIET, SMIEEE

Former Chief Scientist for SRICO

Dr. Stuart Kingsley developed fibre-optic phase modulation concepts for communication and sensing systems in the 1970’s and was the first to show optical fibres could be used for sensing.  The former Chief Scientist for SRICO in the USA with a focus on Fibre Optic and Integrated-Optic Communications and Sensing, now runs a photonics consultancy.  He has nearly 70 publications to his name and a dozen patents, and in 1984 was joint winner of the prestigious Rank Prize for Optoelectronics for his contribution to fibre optics.  Once described by the late Arthur C Clarke as a “Maverick” and in line with Stuart’s interest of doing controversial/unusual things in photonics, Stuart has been involved with the promotion of the Optical Search For Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (Optical SETI), since 1990.

 

Don Ridgers

Bsc (Eng)

Former Principal Engineer for Thames Water

Don Ridgers was formerly Principal Engineer for Wastewater Network at Thames Water, the UK’s largest Water and Sewerage Company, specialising in sewer rehabilitation, asset deterioration, asset failure research and integrating the established benefits or solutions through continual improvement of company standards and into investment plans. Drawing on his 28 years’ experience working at Thames Water and earlier work in local government, he now runs a successful consultancy company providing specialist advice in all technical issues associated with sewerage. Additionally, he is the chairman of a number of key British and European Standards Committees for wastewater subjects.

Goals

  • Help wastewater sewer operators address pipeline and infrastructure challenges associated with climate change,
  • Support a better monitored, measured and managed wastewater industry,
  • Revolutionise wastewater monitoring to deliver real benefits to our wastewater customer’s and their end users (everyone!),
  • Equip wastewater sewers and pipelines with fibre sensing networks to build SMART infrastructure and cities of the future,
  • Drive invention so end users actively choose how they use their clean and wastewater.

Key Milestones

  • January 2015
    nuron commenced trading as Moormead Solutions Limited
  • February 2015
    Desktop proof of concept
  • March 2015
    First seed investor funding round completed
  • April 2015
    SMART grant for proof of concept awarded
  • May 2015
    Patent filing for end-to-end solution
  • November 2015
    Prototype design
  • July 2016
    Proof of concept project successfully completed
  • November 2016
    Product development for live pilot trials
  • December 2016
    Second seed investor funding round completed
  • December 2016
    Moormead Solutions Limited renamed NURON LIMITED
  • January 2017
    nuron launch to wastewater market