Women in Tech Awards 2021 Finalist: Nour Rteil

At Techbuyer we are fostering a culture of fearlessness and determination to help us drive sustainable change in the IT industry and reduce the negative impact the industry has on our planet. At Techbuyer we believe that no problem is too great and no idea is too bold. It is our goal to empower people, to solve problems, to challenge perceptions, to influence change.  

Our amazing colleague, Nour Rteil has been shortlisted for the 2021 ‘Software Engineer of the Year’ at the Women in Tech Excellence Awards for her critical work on the multiple award-winning Interact tool. We couldn’t be prouder!  

We caught up with Nour to talk about the Interact project, the award, and her advice for people in the tech industry.  

What is Interact? 

Interact started as a research project between the University of East London and Techbuyer. The premise of the research was to investigate how to measure the efficiency of servers and optimize server refresh cycles. After 2 years of research, hundreds of hours of experiments and a peer-reviewed IEEE paper, it was clear that the potential of this research was far too good to sit on.  

Using the findings of the initial research project, the Interact tool was designed to conduct component and rack-level analysis. This is then used to recommend vendor-neutral new and remanufactured solutions for your hardware. Its detailed reporting provides optimum solutions for cost, energy reduction and carbon savings. The tool is revolutionary in that it empowers business and data center managers to make decisions based on what matters most to them. 

Today, Interact is a sister company of Techbuyer and shares the common goal of providing sustainable IT solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the technology industry. Interact is making its mark as one of the most innovative and exciting new companies in the technology sector. Just last week Interact won the ‘UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award’ at the BCS UK IT Awards (also known as the Oscars for the IT sector).  

Who is Nour Rteil? 

Nour Rteil is the Lead Application Developer at Techbuyer and the Lead Researcher and Developer at Interact. Nour studied computer and communications engineering at university. She went on to become an associate for the Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the University of East London and Techbuyer. 

It was here that Nour was introduced to Techbuyer and the research project, headed up by Richard Kenny (IT Director at Techbuyer) and Astrid Wynne (Sustainability Lead at Techbuyer). With the help of academic leader Dr. Rabih Bashroush, a world expert on energy usage in the digital sector, Nour began experimenting and researching how to analyze the efficiency of servers.  

Two years of research, one IEEE published paper and hundreds of hours of experiments later, it was clear that the potential benefits of these findings were too big to ignore. Nour led the way in creating Interact, the first non-intrusive, user-friendly, scientific, secure and vendor-neutral tool for IT hardware analysis and upgrade recommendations.  

Why has Nour been shortlisted for Software Engineer of the Year? 

Nour’s research and the Interact tool that has been created as a result, is truly ground-breaking and the potential monetary and environmental applications are extensive. Interact is gaining serious attention from major organizations and key players in the world of sustainable IT.  

We chatted to Nour’s immediate colleagues Rich Kenny and Astrid Wynne to get their thoughts on why Nour deserves this fantastic award: 

“Nour is an incredible engineer. She looks to solve problems rather than just find fixes and that’s very rare. She is also a true team player and we’re very lucky to work alongside her” - Rich Kenny, IT Director.  

“Nour is the type of person who will go away and quietly create something amazing. I have yet to find something she does badly – not just as a developer and researcher but as a writer and public speaker too. She has contributed to every aspect of our sustainability aims: making the case for energy-efficient refurbished equipment, flying the flag for better standards and taking time to educate the next generation as well. I cannot think of a better role model for the industry.” - Astrid Wynne, Sustainability Lead. 

We caught up with Nour to ask her a few questions about the Interact project and the recent nomination.  

Why is the Women in Tech Awards important to you?  

“I think it is a great opportunity to highlight what women are contributing to in Tech, especially because the sector has been mostly dominated by men and most of the tech breakthroughs, we hear about in the news are accomplished by men. Hopefully, this will inspire women, especially younger girls, to consider a career in Tech by having someone they can relate to in some way.” 

What was your highlight of the project? 

“There are many moments throughout the project where I felt very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, including winning our first award at the IT World Awards for IT Project of the Year and Start-up of the Year. We’ve since then won many other awards that make me very happy to continue working on this project.” 

What was your lowlight of the project? 

“At the beginning of the project, we had no idea whether the research would be successful and if it would yield any results. There was a lot of uncertainty, and the finish line was a long way off.”  

What advice would you give to people going into the technology industry? 

“Do not be afraid if you feel like you don’t know enough about a certain area, there are so many great resources out there that you can use to help you.” 

“There are so many different areas within the tech sector, if you find something that really interests you don’t be afraid to specialize and find your niche.” 

What is Next for Nour? 

“We are currently working on an exciting research project to measure the effects of temperature and environment on the performance of servers.”  

Techbuyer’s attitude towards development  

At Techbuyer we are big advocates for training and personal development. Those in our team don’t necessarily stay within the same role or even the same department. If they show an interest, particularly in the technical side of our business, we encourage their personal growth into this area. We have had members of the marketing and sales team take a technical interest and change the direction of their career.  

Making a move into the technical industry doesn’t have to start in the primary stages of your career and this interest can be found at any stage. At Techbuyer we encourage specialization into your specific interests. If this sounds like a place where you could grow and develop as a professional individual check out our careers page or send your CV to hr@techbuyer.com