Access continue recruiting with a trio of senior level hires

From L-R: Lewis Counsell, Richard Sheppard and Dave Riches join Access' senior team.

Creative and digital transformation agency Access has made three new senior level appointments as the business continues to grow and expand its digital services.

Lewis Counsell joins as head of quality assurance, Richard Sheppard comes on board as a senior developer, and Dave Riches has assumed the position of senior front end developer.

The new recruits will work alongside Access’ current team of over 30 staff to deliver high quality platform solutions and campaigns for clients including WaterAid, Edrington and Wave Utilities.

Between them, the trio bring more than 50 years of digital experience to the agency.

Counsell joins the Manchester-headquartered agency having worked as a testing consultant across a range of sectors. Prior to that, he was a senior member of technical staff at VMware in London where he worked for 10 years. Within his career, Counsell has specialised in quality assurance and testing for more than 14 years, bringing a wealth of experience in both understanding customer and user expectations and of system behaviours to Access.

Counsell said: “The team culture and high calibre of staff at Access was a major influence in my decision to join the agency, along with the opportunity to further my career working on some fantastic clients. Access’ whole team has a commitment to constantly strive to advance the way they work and continually improve the services and systems they deliver, an ethos I share in order to deliver the highest quality product using the latest technologies.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining the agency, which is attracting new clients and growing its team. Testing and quality management is integral to the agency’s strong reputation for delivering best in class digital products, which I’m looking forward to carrying forward in my new role. We’re also going to be growing the team, with the appointment of a Test Analyst in the coming weeks.”

Richard Sheppard’s career history is equally impressive, having worked within the technology sector for more than 30 years. His first job was in the US Air Force where he was a load crew academics instructor. Most recently, Sheppard worked at Zürich-headquartered UBS as a Drupal developer; as well as at Capgemini where he worked on the Royal Mail and Parcelforce websites; and at Worcestershire-based online publisher Aroq. He is a well-known member of the Drupal community with many years of experience in Drupal development.

Sheppard said: “I have been aware of Access for many years in the open source Drupal community and have always admired the way they communicate with the outside world. I'm looking forward to learning new things and providing value to the team with my long-standing Drupal experience.”

Completing the trio is Dave Riches, an Acquia Drupal front end specialist. Joining Access from Mirum Agency in London, he has worked with some big brand names and is an experience he is looking forward to continuing at Access as a Senior Front End Developer. He began his career as a front end developer at TUI Travel PLC before moving to NDP.

Riches enjoys working closely with creative teams, brainstorming ideas, finding simple solutions to design challenges and bringing them to life. As well as strengthening the team's core Drupal capabilities, Riches is also a Contentful Certified Professional and brings a broader range of headless technology experience, including React and Gatsby.

Riches said: “Access is offering me flexible remote working, which is a huge benefit to me, with a young family and living in London. I will be applying my six years of Drupal experience to Access’ ongoing partnership with premium spirits company Edrington, plus there are some exciting new business opportunities that I am really looking forward to getting started on.”

Digital director and co-owner of Access, Mark Hope, added: “I’m extremely proud to be attracting such exceptional talent into the agency, which we’ve been able to do by providing a supportive culture, rewarding client work, and flexible remote working across the UK and beyond. Dave, Lewis and Richard have all built up impressive reputations and expertise in their respective fields and they will be a fantastic asset to our expanding teams and service offering.

“Despite the overall challenging economic environment, we’re seeing continued demand for our services, particularly across research, UX and development as clients prioritise or accelerate digital transformation. With some exciting new clients joining our roster we’re continuing with our plans for growth and are actively recruiting across strategy and data, project management and development.”

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