My name is Anthony G; I’m technical team manager for a company called Natures Way Foods. We’re a fresh fruit and prepared leaf producer in West Sussex. We prepare and pack through various retailers and food service companies. We have three sites and I look after one site. Day to day running of the technical function of the site. We look after food safety, quality, dealing with customers, specifications, customer’s complaints, that kind of thing.
My mum’s a primary school teacher, so obviously long hours, parent’s evenings. My dad’s an electrician, so he was based in London. Both my parents were working long hours and I don’t mind cooking, I’d get home from school early enough and put the dinner on. They took me to all the cooking shows, obviously they bought me all my knives and stuff, they just supported me, said “look do what you want to do, we’ll support you”. The original plan was to be a chef. Spent 15 years in a professional kitchen. Kind of got shaped into cooking just by career choices, and kind of my GCSE level, then professional chefs diploma and hotel management. So kind of progressed. I thought I could take the kitchen side of it as far as I could go. Got bored of cooking, got bored of people in the kitchens, wanted a change and this dealt with food, so I thought this was the next step.
I joined as a QA, so basically on the shop floor, day to day checking of samples, audits of the production team. Then from that I went into new product development, process technologies. From that I went on to become a section leader, then a site technical coordinator and from now up to technical team leader.
The company’s good. They put me through a number of courses with a recognised body and I m just doing an IQA diploma, certificate in quality which is funded by the company but Im doing off my own back. Five years ago I had no idea what the food industry was. I didn’t even know when I went for the first job five years ago, I kind of just turned up for the interview begged them to give me a job and I got it. Didn’t know what I was doing on the first day. I see myself as a technician, there are scientific parts of my job i.e.: dealing with the lab, dealing with micros but more as a technician, dealing with that side of the business. Specifications, understanding HASAP, quality control points and dealing with customers, it’s very much a customer focused role.
Im quite curious so if there’s something I find that’s I wrong I’ll go out and find out why is that so. Just willingness to learn anything. Learn something new, try anything. When I was part of the, helped with design of part of the technical aspects of the factory. I saw it from a shell to a full factory within 16 weeks I think. It was amazing just going out and being part of something like that, it was just a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I had a business degree from Oxford Brooks in hotel management. Which kind of was towards marketing and finance but also running projects. I do sometimes wake up and go how the heck did I get here. And when Im in situations with dealing with some major major customers in the country and my decision could change the whole future of the business I go how the heck did I get here? Its millions of pounds that Im playing with some days.
Im a big Spurs fan, when we’re doing well I try and get to the games apart from that part of the job is that Im on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week so I can get called into work or deal with issues on the phone. Because in catering you work a lot longer hours the moneys not as good but you work longer hours so there’s not actually any spare time to spend any of your money. Here I’ve got a bit more of a social life; I can go out and enjoy my money. I get paid a lot more than I did before and I’ve got a bonus scheme that’s better. I’m comfortable.