An interview with Hythe Building Services’ latest recruit.
My role within HBS is Electrical Project Management. I work under Neil Mellor, the Electrical Operations Manager, dealing with day-to-day works on the sites, site meetings, ordering materials and dealing with any issues that arise throughout the duration of the contracts.
I have been made to feel very welcome by everyone at HBS, the team here are very inclusive and welcoming!
As far as work goes, I started in the electrical game straight from school in 1989 through an apprenticeship with a very well-respected company called B.A. Corry. I had a fantastic apprenticeship with a great variety of work which set me up well for the years after I qualified as an electrician in 1993.
I, as did many others at that time, went self-employed, working over the following years for a variety of different companies doing a large variety of work. These have included military installations, hospitals and healthcare, industrial projects, commercial projects, projects at both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, student accommodation, schools, office buildings, and more. In all these different scenarios, I have worked both on new-build and refurbishments as an electrician and a supervisor.
In 2007 I thought about getting a more steady permanent position and started working for Marcade Electrical in Southampton. I joined as an electrician and moved on to become a working supervisor soon after. In 2015 the company size had grown considerably and I became a non-working supervisor looking after projects up to around £1 million.
Between 2016 and 2019 I was based on Salisbury Plain overseeing electrical works for the Army Basing Project (ABP 2020) which essentially was the complete redevelopment of 4 bases on the Plain. We completed 58 accommodation blocks from start to finish in that time, around 2,000 bedrooms, and approximately £11 million worth of electrical work. I was looking after up to 45 men including sub-contractors, which at times was rather challenging but very rewarding.
In July 2019 I moved into the office as a Project Manager as the company had grown with more projects on the go. This role involved managing up to around 10 projects at a time, mainly in schools, student accommodation blocks and military bases.
Then HBS came knocking. To work for the new electrical side of the company early on and be involved in the building and development of it all seemed like a wonderful opportunity.
Outside of work, I am kept busy by my wife Wendy, three children, 3 grandchildren and a 2-year-old Cocker spaniel. Although at home it’s nice and quiet as all the kids have moved out! We enjoy long dog walks and pub lunches on a weekend and generally make the most of our time with each other. Life outside work is very, very happy.
I used to do a lot of running and cycling with the odd triathlon thrown in. I have completed over 100 park runs, numerous 10k races, 17 half marathons, 5 20-mile races, 4 Marathons and 1 ultra-marathon, 3 triathlons and in 2011 cycled Lands End to John O’Groats in 10 days – averaging a shade under 100 miles a day, raising money for Prostate Cancer Research. But a few back issues started niggling hence more walking nowadays with the occasional bike ride and park run!
My big passion is music, especially live gigs. I travel all over the country to watch different bands.
Since the venues opened back up last July, I reckon I’ve been to over 40 gigs! I do a lot of work on social media to promote new and unsigned bands from around the country, which is extremely good fun, with a fantastic community involved. And, I play a bit of guitar and piano myself – but not to any great standard!
I also enjoy a round of golf and try to get out as much as I can, again same as the guitar, the standard is not great but I do like to try!
Click here to connect with Colin Francis on LinkedIn.
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