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News > Alumni news > Ross Wells (Class of 1996) Tells Us About his Career in Cyber Security

Ross Wells (Class of 1996) Tells Us About his Career in Cyber Security

Ross started out in electrical & electronic engineering and after 12 years as a risk assurance consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) moved into the fast moving space of cyber technology.
Ross and Jeff Finney assessing the security of the refinery control systems.
Ross and Jeff Finney assessing the security of the refinery control systems.

Here he tells us about his exciting career travelling all over the world protecting governments and companies from the threat of cyber attacks:

I can remember my first day in Sept ‘89, having spent my early years in a village primary school with 100 pupils, it felt quite overwhelming to be part of a school with over 600. I did my 11+ exam in mid-August, so it all happened quite quickly. The first thing I remember was meeting Mr Barnard, before school started on my first day. He was a very imposing figure and my overriding memory of him was his absolute passion for cricket, something that I also share.

The two teachers that I remember the most from my time were Mervyn Davies and Godfrey Wood, Mervyn as head of the sixth form and Godfrey as my computer studies teacher.

One of Godfrey’s most memorable sayings was, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch’. Well, until the day he returned to his desk to find a free lunch sitting there waiting for him! Godfrey boosted my growing passion for IT which carried me through into my degree and beyond into my career today.

Mervyn was always full of passion for life and supported me as Sixth Form Treasurer (Grant Yates as the deputy – always somehow making more money from our tuck shop than was meant to be possible). Mervyn always encouraged me to do my best and after both my GCSE and A-level results, told me I could have done better (my results weren’t bad – I hasten to add). Soon after I got my degree result, my father was out on a driving lesson with one of his pupils and he spotted Mervyn. He told them to immediately stop the car, then jumped out and rushed over to tell him, “he got a first!”, before getting back into the car and driving off.

This was quite a turnaround in their relationship as my father, who’d been to the school when it was ‘The Tech’, had a very different approach to his studies than me which resulted in Mervyn not letting him take O-Level history. Upon realising that I was attending the school, Mervyn once said to him, “I thought we’d got rid of you years ago, and now you’ve sent your son here!”.

I left in '96, worked at Railtrack for a year as part of the 'Year-In-Industry' scheme, before taking up my place at the University of Bath to study electrical & electronic engineering. It was here that I really got into programming, networks, building computers and (believe it or not) human behaviour.

From there, I worked at PwC for 12 years as a risk assurance consultant and really got into cyber security, especially as part of the contracts I managed with the UK Government. One of my proudest moments, having researched the use of technology by the Police as part of a project for Godfrey, was the day I got my security pass for Scotland Yard. Little did I realise at the time, that my Great (x3) Uncle was one of the first Police Officers for The Met in the mid-1800’s.

After PwC, I joined BP to become its first cyber audit lead, travelling the world to assess the security of its corporate systems, pipelines, refineries and terminals. In 2015, I moved to Texas to become the CISO of its gas & power trading business in Houston, supporting the continuity of its operations following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Four years later, I became the CISO for its Castrol business. In September, I became BP's new Cyber Authority and  now provide subject matter expertise and independently review the work of its digital security teams.

Visiting a gas pipeline to assess the security of the control systems

One of my favourite moments, amongst many, was meeting James Clapper (US Director of National Intelligence – overseeing all US intelligence agencies, including the NSA and CIA). I had no real idea who he was until I met him, surrounded by armed Secret Service agents!   As the largest energy trading business in North America, he wanted to understand how it operated and its cyber risks.

A team building exercise in an escape room – part of the central authorities team
 we all have unique specialisms to guarantee the safety of BP’s operations.

My career has been incredibly varied so far and hope it continues this way for many years to come. Living overseas and travelling as part of my roles has opened my mind as have given me a greater appreciation of both the UK and other countries.

Ross networking with other professionals, sailing in Galveston Bay.

I would definitely encourage anyone considering working abroad to do it, it has given me so many opportunities that I would have never dreamed of.

Space City is Houston’s nickname ; home to NASA space centre. Rockets take off at Cape Canaveral in Florida, but are controlled from here,
hence 'Houston we have a problem'. 

Ross now lives in Houston, USA with his wife and two daughters. "I’m now a regular at cyber security profession events in Houston, presenting, facilitating and networking – but most importantly enjoying what I do and having fun!"

Ross' story is such an impressive journey. If you would like to get in touch with Ross to ask him about his career and your career options in this field, he welcomes your questions and would be pleased to help. Please email:

We love hearing your career success stories so please do write in with some photos and inspire the next generation or give them ideas of what they could do after leaving school. Same email address as above applies. Thank you! 

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