What was your first ever job?
To bring it all back to the start, my first couple of jobs were the classic weekend work while at school. I began in a computer shop in Walsall – that had a driving school attached to it, strangely! – and then I moved to a bookshop not far away. They both had the usual responsibilities around serving customers, keeping things neat and tidy, monitoring stock, etc.
So how did you end up in this field?
I went to Walsall College to do my OND in Engineering, between 1988-90, followed by my degree in General Engineering at the University of Central England in Birmingham. After graduating I made my first step into the industry proper, with a position at Stordy Combustion Engineering Ltd down the road in Wolverhampton. They specialised in high temperature burners involved in the production of materials like aluminium, steel, asphalt and concrete, along with air heating and petrochemical processes. Little did I know how long I’d end up there!
What role did you have?
What role didn’t I have?! Somehow during my time there I ended up doing a bit of pretty much everything; from the more technical side of things like CAD designs, Research & Development and commissioning to the more people and logistics aspects of the business – account handling, shipping, coordinating spares and the like.
So where does Lanemark fit into things?
I already knew of Lanemark as I’d bought from and sold to them over the years, so I understood who they were, what they did and, importantly, where they were headed. A recruitment agency put the Sales Manager role forward in 2016, intended as part of Lanemark’s growth and succession planning, and the rest is history.
What does this role offer you that you didn’t have before?
I’d spent 23 years at Stordy and learnt an awful lot, but I knew that this next step in my career would offer me the opportunity to round out my high temperature expertise with more in the way of lower temperature process burners. Of course, many of the same principles apply but I enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know an entirely new product range and better advise customers on their needs. Much of my position revolves around the sales aspect of things, but I’m also heavily involved in collaborating with our overseas distributors, as well as overseeing lead generation.
How have things panned out for you in the company so far, and what do you think lies ahead?
I really enjoy the atmosphere and team spirit we have here. It’s great to feel like part of a wider team where everybody has a valued contribution to make rather than being just another number. Hopefully as time goes I can play a role in helping the company to grow even more and continue to succeed as a business that we can all feel part of.
Who’s your Lanemark MVP?
I’d have to say the whole Technical team! They really help to smooth things over in terms of orders, enquiries, info and general expertise. They’re great to bounce ideas off and find solutions to problems one person wouldn’t necessarily find on their own.
Who’s the most amusing person to work with?
Some of the stuff Debbie, our Spares and Service Coordinator comes out with has to be heard to be believed!
What keeps you entertained outside of Lanemark?
Since the age of 14 I’ve been heavily involved in scuba diving of all forms; from getting my Advanced Instructor accreditation and leading expeditions to being a regional coach for the British Subaqua Club. I’m currently a Chief Examiner for snorkeling activities in the UK.
Favourite place to scuba dive?
It has to be Chuuk Lagoon in the Central Pacific. It takes about two days of flying and plenty of (increasingly small) connecting flights to get there, but the diving is unparalleled. The Japanese kept a naval fleet there during WWII which was ultimately bombed by the Americans, so there’s a whole fleet of shipwrecks to explore down there.