Sir Alan Rudge has been called one of the top technical minds in the country. He took an unconventional path to the top, doing a City and Guilds telecoms technicians course and then a diploma in electrical engineering at a polytechnic. He worked in the USA, taught at a UK university and then ran the Electrical Research Association. He was headhunted to run R&D at BT. He served on the board of GE (UK) and was chairman of the consultancy WS Atkins. Today he took time out to talk to Richard Sharpe about his life and career.