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Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.


Anthony Lawrence

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Hello.
 
How are you today?  Have you done something with your hair?  It really suits you.
 
Theodore Roosevelt once said that "in any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing and the worst thing you can do is nothing". Making decisions that are right, but aren't what you'd like in an ideal world are always going to be hard but after about a week or mulling over the different options to take, I think the decision I've arrived at is the right one - I will be stepping down as Web Services Director for the division.
 
Sadly, there comes a time in everyone's VATSIM career where they do come to the end and, as the King said, they have to stop.  As many of you have noticed, my availability has been slowly diminishing over the last few weeks due to an increased workload in my career, an increase in expectations in personal projects, and a range of personal factors.  Whilst I have been tempted to ride out the storm in the hope that there may be calmer waters ahead, I am only too aware that leaving my team to be left dragging dead weight during my absence would not only be bad for them but also have a huge knock-on effect on those members who rely on our services developing and improving, to sustain their enjoyment of this hobby.
 
For those who don't know my background, I started my VATSIM journey in 2006 as a member and after an incredible amount of badgering to showcase my talents to Simon and Matt Hardman, was allowed to be in charge of the CTP Website for (what was) a tame event back then.  Following the success of that system, Alan Hunter trusted me with updating the football results for the World Cup on the division's website (Simon, I'm sorry I never bought that back) before offering me the role of Deputy Web Services Manager.
 
Back then, I never imagined I would stick around for a total of 11 years, with a short break in service whilst I was behind the great firewall of China - I have to mention that before Barrie has an aneurysm for me not mentioning it's not continuous service (are you sure you don't work for the Department of Work and Pensions?).  In that time we've recovered from various catastrophic happenings to our data, improved the provision of web services tenfold and built the department up to something that stands out in the VATSIM ecosystem as one of the best provisions available, has very firm foundations, an incredibly high bus factor and is welcoming to the community (there's no sign up process, or red tape to contribute to the web services - just code and push).
 
I've loved every single opportunity that has been presented to me during this time - it's helped me not only on a personal level but a professional one too.  Having spoken with Simon, I've passed on some of my recommendations for how to proceed and offered my service as an advisor/external-eye/critical-friend/someone to sanity check something whenever the team might need it.
 
The team I'm leaving behind are an incredibly talented one and we wouldn't be able to provide such a good response time to tickets, or turn around on new features, without their dedication, support, and knowledge.
 
Before I conclude, I want everyone (everyone) to remember something: we're all here for the same reason.  Regardless of what your opinion is on the network politics, the policy, the infrastructure, or hell the colour of our logo, please try to keep in mind that we're all here because we want to share the thrill of aviation with one another, learn new things and mix with those that want to be part of a friendly community.  Before you next hit "Post Reply" berating a member of staff, or slamming their idea into the ground, please do remember: we care just as much about this division as you doso try to be part of the solution and move in the same direction as the team.  The UK is heading into new, greater territories and it's important that the staff have your full backing and your belief that they'll do what's right for the division (see my quote at the beginning).
 
Anthony out.
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27 Comments


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Oliver Gates

Posted (edited)

Ant, thank you for everything that you've done for the division; I wish you good luck for the future.

Edited by Oliver Gates
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Charlie Watson

Posted (edited)

Ant,

You have been a great asset over your time on the network, as well as being a fantastic, well rounded and generally a pleasant helpful person - there aren't many people like yourself knocking around.

Enough of my soppy leaving message; good luck in the future!

 

Edited by Charlie Watson
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Oliver Rhodes

Posted

Theodore Roosevelt also once said that "far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing". By virtue of the existence of this post, you and your team have succeeded with both measures.

Ave atque vale! ^_^

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Nick Marinov

Posted

Ant, thanks for all the hard work and countless hours that you've spent for the division! Some big shoes to fill.

Good luck for the future! :) 

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Simon Irvine

Posted

No Elon Musk quote Anthony?

I'm not quite sure where to start.  It doesn't seem 11 years ago that you started to bug me :o.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with you, even on the days when I wanted to kill you.  You have been a massive support to me since I took over as Director again last year, and I'll miss your bad jokes and your rants and our trips to Birmingham Indian restaurants where it takes you hours to order from the menu.  

Enjoy your retirement, and I only hope to god this doesn't mean you will be spending more time on Heathrow Director.

Thank you Ant.

 

 

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Ant,

Sad to see you go. You have been a real help in getting me settled in, and the work you have done for the division has impacted everyone in it and, I am sure, will continue to do so every day. I really have enjoyed working as part of Web these past few months, and you will be missed.

 

Best of luck for the future :thumbsup:

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Thanks for all the hard work, Ant, been a pleasure working with you :)

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Alex Ashley

Posted (edited)

Thanks for your great work Ant - since I've joined VATSIM you've done some great news including the new work on Core. I can only wish you the best.

I nearly forgot, your favourite:

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Edited by Alex Ashley
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Alex Hartshorne

Posted

Ant, I appreciate that our views generally do differ, but this doesn't stop me from admiring your skills, dedication and talent which you've put into the Division over the past decade.

Don't be a stranger and hopefully we'll catch you around! :)

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Trevor Hannant

Posted

Thanks for all the hard work you've put in over the years Ant, hopefully freeing up some of your time will allow you to relax around VATSIM and join us in the air/on the scopes some more.

All the best fella!

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Calum Towers

Posted (edited)

11 years is a long time. Some people get off with less than that for manslaughter...

It was only around 18 months ago that I joined your team, throughout that entire time it's been a genuine privilege to work with you. Your guidance, support and direction will be greatly missed. You should consider the strength of VATSIM UK's Web Services as your true credentials.

Best wishes for the future, don't be a stranger!

P.S. sending emails at 2am is not cool...

Edited by Calum Towers
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Michael Benson

Posted

Anthony,

Thank you for your efforts you've put into the division over your tenure, there is no doubting they have changed the feel, image and stability for the better insurmountably.  Aside from that though I think the biggest thing you've brought to the staff team for me personally is a willingness to listen to and enter into a discussion with the membership whatever their feedback, comment, gripe, etc.  It's been very refreshing, all the best.

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Matt Collier

Posted (edited)

Ant,

Thank you for all of your fantastic hard work and time you've put into the division. Don't be a stranger ;) 

Edited by Matthew Collier
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Thanks for all the work you've put into the division, best wishes to the future!

"No, I'm the villager!"

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Harry Sugden

Posted

Your tireless efforts, that even if I thought I knew the extent of, I will never quite be able to comprehend. Then there are the endless tools you've created with your coding genius, your general assistance with all my tasks as staff (and not-staff!), and the VATSIM related advice you've given also. To add to that, great controlling sessions (including the real life ones!), and quite frankly, one of the best listeners to all my past woes! All the best with your real world job, and maybe we'll go against Simon's wishes and jump on Heathrow Director one day soon ;)

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Fraser Cooper

Posted

Thanks for all your hard work Ant. Enjoy retirement! :)  

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Peter Lockwood

Posted

Ant, thanks for all your hard work you have done for the division! 

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Thanks for your expertise and wisdom. All the best for the future Ant.

Don

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Sebastian Wheeler

Posted

Ant, While I only know you by reputation (and some helpful answers to my endless questions on TeamSpeak!) I want to say thanks for all the work you have put into the division, which has made all our lives easier. all the best,

 

Seb 

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Oliver Parker

Posted

I echo what Mr Benson has said. He's hit the nail on the head there.

Thanks Ant. Hope the flying is going well!

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Daniel Crookes

Posted

Everyone has said everything that could be said. From myself and us here at the PTD thank you so much for everything you have done, I've not known you as long as many but you really will be missed. :) 

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Removed Gdpr

Posted

Ant,

What can I say, that already hasn't been said already. I know all to well how challenging it can be trying to juggle to many balls especially chairing a department as demanding as web. You have done so with great professionalism and for that I thank you. I've had the pleasure with working along side you on the DSG and in that time many great things have been achieved under your stewardship, I wont list them all as there are many. All that is left for me to say is don't disappear completely as i might need to pick your brain about you tube videos ^_^

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Celestyn Chmielewski

Posted

Sorry Ant, like you, I just got prompted at work recently and this mean my hours got increased a lot at work so spent less time in the evening browsing VATSIM forums and just spot this thread now!

I joined VATSIM UK in 2006 briefly and I remembered seeing your name in the forum and I escaped VATSIM UK and Europe and didn't return until 2010 (wow, four years?) and I managed to recognised your name in the forum! And I even remembered you introduced World (or was it Euro?) Cup prediction game when I returned in 2010 and immediately got involved in this game! Even though I was rubbish at it, it was good experience for me! Actually, I was a little sad to not see it returned to VATSIM UK after that but I realised how busy you guys are......still hoping to see it come back next year!

I am still amazed to see you still working in Web service team for over 10 years! I want to say massive thank you for all these works you done in past 11 years, even when I wasn't in VATSIM UK division for few years......! I will be honest, I was happy to see you back in Web team few years ago after your break!

Enjoy your wonderful retirement, Ant! Or will I see you back in Web team again in future? ;)

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