Hertfordshire’s men of business rise to the challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:55 13 May 2020

Hertfordshire men in business (photo: Artem Peretiatko, Getty Images)

Hertfordshire men in business (photo: Artem Peretiatko, Getty Images)

Viacheslav Peretiatko (Viacheslav Peretiatko (Photographer) - [None]

With Father’s Day this month, Herts businessmen tell us about work, family and friends in these challenging times

Charles Elliott

Elliott of London – British Sculpture

Bluebell Farm, Shootersway, Berkhamsted, HP4 3GW. 01494 758 896. www.elliottoflondon.co.uk. Facebook

Summary about your business and your role

We design & create bespoke handcrafted garden sculpture, interior sculpture, public art & commercial sculpture – As the British Sculptor I founded the company, we have over 200 handcrafted Sculptures in stock on our website. We also undertake commissions to create sculptures for clients to specific size and finish to suit outdoor and indoor spaces.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

We are still shipping sculptures to online customers via our website. Taking precautions when packaging the items to prevent and spread of the outbreak. I myself have been isolating at our studio during the day, working alone on new sculptures and commissions we have and keeping our social media fresh.

How are you using digital/ Social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

We are using social media to interact with our followers and customers throughout the day, showing them clips of new sculptures and videos of the making process of some of our sculptures to show the true British craftmanship that goes into each of our sculptures.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

Family and friends are very important to all of us at Elliott of London and interacting with them via facetime and sharing our work to them via social media has helped us all keep in contact tremendously. We often share common interests on social media and keep in contact via phone.

I have recently created a NHS Sculpture In Safe Hands on show to passersby with a sign thanking the NHS for their efforts. The sculpture will be auctioned off to raise funds for the NHS Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. www.elliottoflondon.co.uk/auction

Charles ElliottCharles Elliott

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Dr Liam Parsonage

Parsonage Psychiatry

Ellesmere Clinic, 1 Ellesmere Grove, Barnet EN5 2FT. 020 8920 5606. www.parsonagepsychiatry.com; www.barnetmentalhealth.co.uk; www.priorygroup.com/consultants/dr-liam-parsonage. Facebook, Instagram

Summary about your business and your role

I am a consultant psychiatrist. I see patient at the Ellesmere clinic in High Barnet, The Priory Hospital in North London and I have a clinic in Harley Street. I work with adults from 18 to 75 who are struggling with mental health difficulties.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

Like many people I have been working from home and I am continuing to support patients through the lockdown by offering initial assessments and follow up reviews by video and telephone calls.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

This time has been an opportunity to embrace technology and use it as a part of everyday life. After lockdown I will certainly continue to offer video calls to patients, as for some people a video call will be an excellent way to save on travel time.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

We are being asked to keep a physical distance to stop the spread of the covid-19 virus, but that doesn’t stop us from staying socially connected. It’s good for our mental wellbeing to keep in touch with friends and family through video calls and social media. For those who don’t have friends or family its possible to connect to others through online forums and community support groups.

Dr Liam ParsonageDr Liam Parsonage

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Marcus Maisey

KDW Financial Planning

2nd Floor, Centurion House, 136-142 London Road, St Albans AL1 1PQ. 01727 852299. www.kdw.co.uk. Facebook

Summary about your business and your role

I am one of the Directors at KDW Financial Planning and have been advising for over 30 years. We are based in St Albans, with offices in Hemel Hempstead and on the South Coast. KDW has 20 advisers and as a firm we “collectively specialise” in all aspects of financial planning.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

Our priority has always been the health and welfare of our staff and clients. “Pre-lockdown”, we began offering our clients meetings over the phone or via video conferencing. Fortunately, we have always had systems in place whereby staff can work from home, so the disruption to our business has been minimal.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

Client contact is paramount in times of crisis. Social media and electronic mass communication provide us with the ability to update our clients quickly and efficiently with market updates and reassurance, as well as bring attention to initiatives that we support such as the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals Charity’s appeal for essential items, and the #HereForEachOther campaign which benefits all selfless people who staff the NHS.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

As COVID 19 shocked both personal and business life, people reevaluated what was important and for many, health became more important than wealth. We have regular contact with clients (I’m even shopping for two of my vulnerable clients whose children live far away) and each morning we have a Zoom meeting with the team and a weekly KDW quiz. We must all take care of each other, and hopefully we come out the other side a kinder more thoughtful society.

Marcus MaiseyMarcus Maisey

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Mark Nelson

Streamline – A Wealth of Talent

Clockhouse Court, 5-7 London Road, St Albans, AL1 1LA. 07884366763. www.screc.co.uk. Linkedin

Summary about your business and your role

I’m a founding partner and MD of Streamline, a 17-year-old Recruitment & Search business in St Albans. We source technology and compliance talent in financial services, unique to Hertfordshire. We have very close knit team, our core values are passion, transparency and response.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

At first I was concerned how my team would react to working remotely, but I couldn’t be more proud of how they have responded. We are making sure that despite our mandates falling by over 60%, we are building relationships for the future and are ready to meet the surge in demand on the other side.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

Everyone is online more so than ever! But at very different times now, during core hours in the day and in the evening. We are in constant touch with our community, e.g. offering online tax advice to our temporary worker base who have been left behind by the governments financial support schemes.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

With so many of us in lockdown on their own, some of my family included, regular calls, Zooms and quizzes are so important. I’m lucky to have a partner and two children with me, which has its own challenges especially homeschooling. I have an increased respect for teachers!

Mark NelsonMark Nelson

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Keith Perry

No-Nonsense Design Ltd

Regal Chambers, 49-51 Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1LL. 01462 456158. www.nononsensedesign.co.uk

Summary about your business and your role

We’re a small multi-disciplined creative agency that enjoys working on big and small projects alike. I get involved at every stage of the process. I’ve worked on clients such as British Telecom, Ford, the London 2012 Olympics and Heathrow Airport to name a few. I’m also a director of Inspired Ventures, a social enterprise that helps raise money for charities via adventure travel.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

It’s a challenge! We’ve always embraced technology so working remotely has never been an issue for us. Currently we’re moving 53 airlines into two terminals at Heathrow.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

Most of our clients are online already so it’s not as scary as it could have been. We’ve helped some to align their messaging and update their websites. No-one knows the full impact of this virus yet, we just have to do what we can.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

With four children this has been the hardest. Our ‘middle daughter’ has had a baby in Belgium and we’ve only been able to Facetime with them. My oldest daughter is also pregnant. I’m self-isolating at the moment so ‘hugs’ are out which makes it difficult.

KeithKeith

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Jon Timmins

St George’s School

St George’s School, Sun Lane, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 4TD. 01582 765477. www.stgeorges.herts.sch.uk. Facebook

Summary about your business and your role

I am Director of Boarding at St George’s School, a state boarding school. State boarding schools remain a hidden gem. They were described some 20 years ago as being British education’s best kept secret. This still holds true. That is not to say that these schools have stood still and many, including St George’s, achieve excellent exam results and offer tremendous breadth both in and outside of the curriculum.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

St George’s has kept its doors open for children of key workers including boarders. Those not attending whether in the UK or otherwise have been getting daily ‘drip feed’ of work via a variety of digital platforms.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

Our school is a family. The fact that we are a boarding school extends our family across the entire globe so staying in touch at the moment has never been as important. As well as daily home learning programmes, our pastoral staff are regularly checking in with students. We are reaching out to our parents and staff with regular digital bulletins. Our school chaplain also sends a weekly ‘Chaplain’s Thought’ on a Sunday replacing what would be our weekly chapel service.

Jon TimminsJon Timmins

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Daniel Burns Business

Longmores Solicitors

24 Castle Street, Hertford, SG14 1HP. 01992 300333. www.longmores.law. Facebook

Summary about your business and your role

I am a partner at Longmores and head of the Company Commercial team. The firm advises across the spectrum of private and commercial clients; my team advises business clients about sales and acquisitions, loans and shares, and a wide range of commercial agreements and issues such as intellectual property and data privacy.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

Coronavirus poses challenges for us as it does for every business. Our practice is diverse so where activity falls in one area, it can often increase in another. We are keeping in close touch with all our clients to ensure that we understand their changing needs and help them where possible.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

As a firm, we are always active on social media however this has become particularly important in the current environment, especially sharing topical articles so clients know we still here to help if they need us. We are also using technology to conduct virtual meetings both within the firm and with our clients and we find this to be very effective.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

Nothing is more important than family, and the fact the many people can’t be with their loved ones is one of the most difficult aspects of the current crisis. Among my own family and friends we use Zoom and other technology to keep close and look after each other as much as we can.

Daniel BurnsDaniel Burns

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Ben English

Marrfish

29-31 Stansted Distribution Centre, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire. CM22 7DG. 01279 501051. www.marrfish.co.uk. Facebook

Summary about your business and your role

Owner of Marrfish – Leading seafood supplier to some of the best Hotels, Restaurants and Gastro Pubs in London and East Anglia. Now proudly bringing this quality to Home Delivery across Hertfordshire

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

Literally 95% of our business disappeared overnight so we had to diversify to survive. In the space of 48 hours we turned our business around so that the homeowner could buy the best portion of fish easily and quickly, delivered directly to their front door.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

We are trying to use social media in various ways but focusing on letting people know we are there for them and we care about the same things they do. We are a small business so sustainability and the environment are important to us and that we want to offer as personal service as best we can.

Tell us about the importance of family right now and staying connected with friends and colleagues?

This whole experience makes you realise that family means so much more than blood relatives, having to furlough many of my staff was one of the hardest days in my career and I can’t wait until we are all back together although I am sure it will be to a new norm!

Ben EnglishBen English

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Jake Carby

Brogan Group

4 Falcon Gate, Falcon Way, Shire Park, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1TW. 03333580007. www.brogangroup.com

Describe your role/summary of achievements

Marketing / Business Development Manager. In charge of developing business for Brogan Group within the UK, Ireland, UAE & Saudi Arabia, Jake is a key part to Brogan’s success throughout these different countries and he has played a major role in establishing the Brogan Group as a major player in all these markets.

How are you meeting the challenges thrown up by coronavirus?

We are actively monitoring the situation and following the guidelines provided by Public Health England. We have adapted office working to a skeletal workforce with the remaining staff working from home and a few furloughed. On our sites we are following the guidelines using social distancing measures and hand sanitizers. Staff that normally use public transport have been asked to consider other methods where possible.

How are you using digital/social media to benefit both your clients and your business in the current situation?

We are mainly using digital to conduct video conferencing rather than face to face meetings and Microsoft Teams. We are continuing to use Social media, particularly Linked in, Twitter and Instagram as normal.

What’s your business vision for the next five years?

To establish and assist with the growth of the Saudi Arabia business and to also continue the growth within the Irish and UK companies.

JakeJake

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