As the managing director of a small to medium sized business - as defined by Brussels - I am constantly reminded of my responsibilities to the eighty odd employees that keep the Maxwell Amenity juggernaut on the road.
I use the term 'juggernaut' because it is no mean feat to keep it the right side of the white line by satisfying all the required legislation for health and safety, human resources, workplace pensions, employee rights etc. The list is truly endless, or so it seems sometimes.
When Pitchcare began its journey fourteen years ago, it was with just a couple of us working out of a small office at the Science Park in Wolverhampton. Now, our twelve acre site in Allscott is a throng of hi-vis jackets, reversing warning lights, barriers and security cameras. Any decision that might affect the company needs to be deliberated on, at the highest level by the senior management team and/or board of directors, whilst day to day decisions will be mulled over by the marketing team, the editorial team, the accounts team et al.
IT has put systems in place for 'everything' - I am concerned that even a visit to the loo might be next on their list!
There is little room in a business of our size to progress a 'gut feeling'; something that saw Pitchcare launched in the first place. Now, everything has to be 'diarised' for 'discussion at the next meeting'.
Of course, all the above is of paramount importance to a small to medium sized business, but I just occasionally find myself wishing that the incoming email ping or the phone vibrate would fall silent for just a few hours. Perhaps IT could put a system in place?
So, it was with some personal pleasure that the company recently entered into a two year contract with Shrewsbury Town FC to maintain the natural turf pitches at their Greenhous Meadow stadium and Sundorne Castle training ground.
The club's existing groundsman, Richard Barnett, became an employee of Maxwell Amenity, whilst I gave myself the opportunity to 'get back on the tools' again. I'm certain that some at head office saw this as an additional benefit by keeping me 'off-site'!
Shrewsbury Town has benefited from our considerable expertise and array of turfcare equipment, that is usually only available and 'affordable' by the top clubs, and the newly promoted side now play on a pitch more than befitting their status. Some of the comments after the first game - "it's as good as any Premier League pitch"; "best pitch STFC have ever played on at home" and; "I thought it was artificial turf when I first saw it" - have been most gratifying.
Richard has seen, first hand, how a redistribution of the club's available pitch care budget has resulted in immediate improvements to the surfaces he maintains, and the personal job satisfaction that goes with that. He now goes about his day's work brimming with pride.
The additional benefit to our business is that we can, once again, demonstrate that we do know what we are talking about; that we understand the trials and tribulations of those working at the coal face of our industry.
Of course, whilst I am mowing or marking out, my mind often wanders to other areas of the business and I find myself heading back to Allscott to put my latest scheme in front of the relevant team.
There's no doubting that running a business these days is a myriad of legislation and paperwork, but it remains immensely gratifying.