How Steve Blyth Created Engage Works

Steve Blyth’s career started in mechanical engineering. But after doing an apprenticeship he realised engineering wasn’t for him. He then worked in TV as an actor, tried his hand at modelling (“it lasted a week!”) and created special effects for films. This led him to get work at London Weekend Television in mechanical special effects, blowing up cars and working on programmes such as The Kenny Everett Television Show, Spitting Image and London’s Burning. After three years, aged 23, Steve went freelance and headed to the US to find work. A meeting at Universal Studios led to an opportunity to work on a film, but he’d had enough of creating fire effects for London’s Burning, so he turned it down. Little did he know at the time that the film was Backdraft. Steve sees this as his “biggest career crossroads faux pas.”

After returning to the UK, he formed Harris-Blyth with Ray Harris, producing high-quality pop-ups for exhibitions. There wasn’t a great deal of technology involved at this stage because it was pre-plasma display so it was more about problem-solving, quality of the build and execution. Tech began to creep into their offer, however, as flat panel displays became available – although it wasn’t particularly digital at this early stage. Harris-Blyth grew into a multinational concern, working on plenty of museum, branding and marketing projects. In 2007, Steve left to form his own company – then called Engage Production. The projects began to take on a more digital hue, and he worked with companies such as Candy & Candy and Adidas. Since then, the company (now Engage Works) has grown into the multinational it is today, with offices in London and Dubai and projects for the likes of EY, Accenture, Bloomberg and PWC.