unLTD Business feature: Celebrating 30 years in business
South Yorkshire based businesses CQ Strategic Marketing, Agemaspark and Airmaster are all celebrating milestone anniversaries this year at 10 years, 20 years and 30 years respectively. They took part in a roundtable to discuss how doing business has changed during that time.
The panel was Chaired by Caroline Broad of Clarion Solicitors.
Lisa Pogson, managing director at Airmaster joined the mechanical services design and build business over 25 years ago that delivers energy efficient heating, cooling, ventilation, maintenance and small works nationally across a diverse range of sectors. Lisa has witnessed many changes in the sector, including the commitment to sustainability and the increasing importance in practice.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE SECTOR/INDUSTRY?
My brother-in-law, Richard, started the business 30 years ago after deciding he wanted to go self-employed. At the time, I was helping him out as I had some experience in the sector, so I was assisting with bookkeeping and other tasks. After much persuasion, I joined the business part-time around 25 years ago and I am now the proud managing director, supported by our operations director and a great team around me.
WHAT IS IT THAT HAS KEPT YOU IN THE INDUSTRY?
I’ve always had a core interest in the property and building sector, especially with many of my family members working in trades. I love the commitment to innovation in the sector – during the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked on decentralising ventilation systems and our team did a significant amount of work in laboratories, aiming to eliminate COVID using technology within the ventilation systems.
HOW DO YOU GROW THE BUSINESS, FACE CHALLENGES AND CONTINUE TO PROMOTE THE SECTOR?
For me and for our staff, networking is key. Our team all have their own networks, whether this is within customers or with subcontractors and other links to the supply chains. This really helps us to stay ahead of the game, staying ahead of all the decisions that you have to make on a daily basis – the more information you can get using all of your contacts, the better.
FUTURE-PROOFING THE BUSINESS
On 1 July 2021, we became an employee-owned trust. As a business, we’ve always had quite a family feel and our view was that the team around us had helped to grow the business to what it was, so it seemed appropriate to look into how we could input incentives for this. Not only this, it allowed our most senior managers to exit the business, so everyone benefitted from this. There are always things you would do differently in hindsight, but generally it’s been an extremely positive experience and we really do have such a great team and it’s helped us to grow.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF THE SECTOR HOLD?
It’s so interesting hearing Paul talking about Mars and space, as that is something I’d absolutely love to do. I think for us, 20 years ago I did my master’s degree in management and there was talk of sustainability already back then. In construction now, if you’re not looking at sustainability and how to be sustainable, you may as well forget it. Even to the point where we’re fitting an office, we look at the quality of the ventilation for the staff, how many plants there are and how close the access is to water so they can work properly, and all of that is the future for us. Saving money where we can is on everyone’s agenda at the moment too, and we’re always thinking of the net zero target.
To read the full article in October's unLTD Business magazine please visit: https://unltdbusiness.com/
To watch the video of the discussion, visit: https://youtu.be/S_6uVv2wB0U