Name: John Stones
Job: Founder and MD of Gas Safe Europe Ltd
Lives: Buckley, North Wales
Education: Chester City Grammar and Kelsterton Technical College.
Family: My wife Bev and I have three boys – David, 21, Tom, 17 and Johnny, 9. All require different levels of attention and we try to share ourselves out as best we can whilst trying to run a busy business.
A typical day starts at 3.00am when I sort out my international emails as we deal with the Far East, Middle East and North America.
I go back to bed at 6.00am and grab an hour before the school run.
I hit the office at 9.30am and never know what the day will throw up.
Due to the quite recent change in the law in the USA and UK about the need for landlords to test Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms to ensure they are working properly we have seen a significant demand for our product.
People aren’t aware that pressing the ‘test’ button on CO alarms only tests the battery and not the CO sensor itself which starts to fail after a number of years or if exposed to extreme conditions.
One of our products Detectagas tests the sensor to ensure it can pick up levels of potentially lethal CO.
The majority of day time is spent dealing with our UK and European customers many of whom are the largest distributors in their field such as Wolseley, Bosch, Travis Perkins and CEF.
I also spend a lot of my day working with publications or associations trying to raise awareness of the dangers of CO poisoning and the importance of properly testing the CO alarm not just the battery.
I look after production, finance, legal, product development and keep close to our key supplier and customer accounts.
I work with my wife Bev who is our commercial director and mops up after me as I create chaos!
What do you wear at work? For meetings I will wear a suit but casual when I can get away with it.
What is the favourite part of your job? I love product development which involves solving problems and coming up with new ways of doing things. I have invented many new products over the years but some are just too costly to develop and take to market. Detectagas is a simple product to use but it has taken the best part of a million pounds and fifteen years to develop the market and start to see a return. Having a good idea and patenting it is a very small part of turning it into a commercial success.
What is the least favourite part of your job? Dealing with people who do not share the vision to ensure safe households or workplaces or jobsworths who are too scared to make a decision or take a chance.
What would your dream job be if you weren’t doing what you are doing now? This is my dream job, it is challenging, exciting and rewarding. We do also enjoy property development and would devote more time to this if we could.
How do you relax when you are not working? There is little time to relax as we are always on the go with work and home but we have made this our lives and have no complaints. We do like to get away with the boys as much as we can. I think that you owe it to the business to get away and refresh your mind. It is surprising how much better you can perform after a holiday. Every day I try to hit the gym and have a sauna after work, it clears the mind.
What is your favourite film? Schindlers List, no matter how many times I watch this I blub uncontrollably at the end. I also love Out of Africa for the music and a reminder of holidays in Kenya.
What is your favourite book? How to get Rich by Felix Dennis. A must read for any inventor or entrepreneur. It is a remarkably true reflection of all I have been through.
What is your favourite song? A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong as it reminds me of my Dad. I wish he could have seen what I have achieved but he was 57 when I was born.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? George Clooney provided he lost a bit of weight and smartened himself up a bit!
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame? I have been on the TV and in the papers many times but I avoid the limelight as much as possible, far better to be under the radar and get on with life than seek fame for fame’s sake.
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