20 Questions: The MD of one of Gloucestershire's best known companies takes on theraikesjournal.co.uk’s 20 questions
He admits (tongue in cheek?) his ‘chances of captaining Gloucester to domestic and European glory are gone’, but business (and rugby) still excite him.
His hero was his uncle, he’d shun puddings for cheese and biscuits, his local overlooks the Severn and he believes giving 100 per cent is the only way to ensure your business stays ahead of the competition.
But most of all he would like to be remembered as a good husband, dad and grandparent.
In the first of our weekend series Gary Jones, founder and managing director of Glevum, sits down with theraikesjournal.co.uk to answer its ‘20 Questions’.
Question: What is your favourite film or series?
A: Saving Private Ryan.
Q: You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite any three guests from any time in history. Who would they be and why?
A: Martin Johnson, Will Carling and Phil Vickery – all great Rugby legends. It would be fascinating to hear their combined perspectives.
Q: What is the best bit of your job?
A: I would say two things. Growing the business and seeing how we have progressed to where we are now, a business that turns over £10 million a year. Secondly, seeing the feedback from our customers on a job well done. We survey each and every customer and I get to see every response. On the very rare occasion, usually two to three times a year, where we don’t get everything right – I will call the customer to see what we can do to put things right.
Q: What is the worst part of your job?
A: The hours, the “always on” nature of work and the fact that occasionally this can impinge on family life.
Q: Who was your childhood hero or the person you looked up to?
A: My late uncle Mike Nicholls who played over 400 times for Gloucester Rugby, and was captain for three seasons, all when I was growing up.
Q: Where is your favourite place in Gloucestershire?
A: That is a tough one. But if I did have to choose one place it would have to be Kingsholm on matchday, when we win of course!
Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out now?
A: I would say don’t rule out too many options or narrow your focus too much, too early. Surround yourself with the best people possible and always give 100 per cent. Enthusiasm stands out a mile today, just as it always has done.
Q: Was there a mistake or piece of bad luck which changed things for the better?
A: I would have to go back to the late 1990’s when we ran our Class Behind the Glass advertising campaign. We were running bus shelter adverts featuring Melinda Messenger and unfortunately some people liked them so much, they were stealing them from the shelters. This was picked up by national newspapers and the story ran and ran. This story was even featured on prime time TV as recently as last year.
Q: What is your favourite piece of music?
A: I would say Jerusalem at Twickenham before the teams come out for a England Six Nations match
Q: What qualities do you look for in a new member of staff?
A: Technical competence is a must of course for whatever the role whether that is designing, surveying, installing or the back-office functions that keep everything running. This is vital as we have a very good reputation, hard earned and as the old saying goes, you are only as good as your last job. But on top of this we look for excellent communication and customer service skills and a shared passion for doing the job well. We ask all our staff whatever they do, to do the job as they would want it done for themselves.
Q: What is your favourite pudding?
A: More a cheese and biscuits man, than puddings.
Q: Has the coronavirus pandemic changed how you see the world?
A: Most certainly. I think we will all appreciate our friends and family more and also the simple pleasures of life that are limited currently. Professionally though, I am looking forward to getting all our staff back to work and seeing them face to face.
Q: If it was in the name of pleasure – would it be car, bicycle, walk, run, swim?
A: I have always enjoyed the gym, but I have had trouble with my knees in recent years, so it would be more a walk or a scenic drive.
Q: What is the best thing about living/working in Gloucestershire?
A: Gloucestershire is a fantastic county to live and work in. The county has everything you could want including fantastic countryside and great villages, towns and cities. Also, we are centrally situated in the UK so nothing is too far away. Business wise I love the fact how close and tight knit the business community is. Not so much in terms of not letting others in but everybody looking to help and support each other.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand to achieve what you wanted to at work, what would it be?
A: Can I have more than one wish? Seriously though, it is principally seeing us continue on the path we have been. Growing the business, employing more people, using local suppliers wherever we can and supporting the local community. Some more awards along the way would also be nice as they are good for the business but more importantly great recognition for all the hard work our staff put in.
Q: What’s your biggest frustration?
A: I am very lucky, I don’t have many – not least because of the great team I have around me. But I would probably have to say, not enough hours in the day or days in the week.
Q: If you could start again and had to do something else, what would it be?
A: My chances of captaining Gloucester to domestic and European glory are gone, so I would probably say, some kind of mentor or business coach. I have learnt a lot along the way and love sharing this experience with others and see them develop.
Q: Cheltenham Festival, any of the town’s others festivals, Giffords Circus, Stroud Fringe, Gloucester Rugby v Bath, Three Choirs Festival, Cirencester food Festival, evensong at Tewkesbury Abbey, or Newent Onion Fayre? And why?
Gloucester Rugby vs Bath every time, but I guess by now you know I would have said that.
Q: If you had to recommend a pub or restaurant in Gloucestershire, what would it be and why?
A: I do love a pint at my local The Severn Bore and a pre-match pint at the Coach and Horses is hard to beat. Restaurant wise, my favourite would have to be the Severn and Wye Smokery Restaurant. The food and service are both excellent, they make you feel really special and it is a great addition to the County.
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
A: Still being connected with Glevum in some capacity, possibly as chairman. Definitely still living and working in Gloucestershire but hopefully with a bit more time for the family and travel.
Q: What would you like to be remembered for?
A: First and foremost being a good husband, dad and grandparent. I am proud having started a business that has grown into being one of Gloucestershire’s best-known brands, a honest company, that always plays it straight and puts the customer first. I would also like to think we will be remembered for being a great place to work and the fact that we have improved many thousands of homes.
Website address: www.glevum.co.uk
Every week theraikesjournal champions an individual from the Gloucestershire business community through the '20 questions' feature.
We pick them on merit (but if you want to guarantee to be featured £75 will ensure that happens and the article on you goes to our near 10,000 social media connections. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).