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DriveTech boss Jim Kirkwood answers Barker's Dozen

Date: 14 July 2008

Drivetech chief executive Jim Kirkwood

BusinessCar deputy editor Paul Barker puts 13 searching questions to DriveTech MD Jim Kirkwood

1. What was your first job? I recall this very well as it was working in my father's fish business - summers always seemed hot and dry while winters were very cold. Meeting the public day to day was an education in itself and gave me a great foundation for the future.

2. What was your first company car? An old Ford Cortina Estate (terracotta colour) which was given to me when I joined Kodak. My girlfriend at the time called it Betsy - it was a real heap because it kept breaking down. Eventually the engine blew up on a trip from Carlisle to Glasgow. End of car.

3. What did you listen to on your last car journey? The Eagles new album "Long Road to Eden" which is excellent.

4. What one thing do you wish you could do better? I played golf to a pretty good standard when I was younger and was pushed to get even better by my father and our local club professional at Turnberry in Scotland. But I never made it to the dizzy heights of county or national level....what could have been?

5. What's your biggest achievement? Having a happy, positive and balanced disposition towards life. It's for living and for that I have my parents and sister to thank. Anything is possible - forget all the negative nonsense.

6. Who are your role models? Interesting one... generally individuals who have at one time had very little but aspired to succeed and in the end achieved both as people and professionally.

7. What's the stupidest thing you've done? Stupidest or funniest or both? When I was 17, I suffered a bellspalsy which is a paralysis of one side of the face. I looked like something out of a horror movie for about 3 months until I got movement back into my face. Did not stop me going to the school Christmas party though and trying to win the heart of a girl I thought was just fantastic at the time... mmm... not one of my better decisions.

8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting? Salaries and bonuses - always a good one!

9. What's in your garage? I don't have one - experience has taught me that it becomes a place to store all the things you do not really need while the car sits on the drive.

10. What's the worst thing about your job? The treadmill of growth relentlessly speeds along which means change is constant. Sometimes I wish I could just press the "big red button" and stop the world for a day or two...even just a couple of hours.

11. What one law would you make or change? More regular re-testing of car drivers in the UK - a lot has changed since I took my test almost 30 years ago from car technology to roads to signage. I'm not convinced the ordinary driver has a clue what half these changes have been or mean together with the implications for them as a driver.

12. What keeps you awake at night? Nothing - I sleep soundly. Been told I snore from time to time but I know that's just hogwash!

13. Who is your ideal celebrity date? If male, I'd meet up with Tiger Woods & Billy Connolly for a few beers. Learn more about tees, holes, clubs, strokes and bogeys while falling off my seat. If female.....simply not enough room to write them all out here!