Biz Extra

Published: July 30, 2020 | Updated: August 2, 2020

What gets me angry? Injustice, intolerance and anyone waking me up from an afternoon nap!

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Each week we shine the spotlight on a member of Dorset’s business community and ask him, or her, for answers to our part fun/part serious questionnaire. This time…

His favourite smell is freshly baked croissants, he gets angry at injustice, intolerance and anyone waking him up from an afternoon nap, chooses Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as his favourite piece of music and – we think tongue in cheek – sees himself crowned as King of the World and Everything in ten years’ time!

Martin Bell, Business Relationship Manager, Utilities4Less, takes the 20 Questions’ hotseat.

Question: What is your favourite TV show?

Answer: I’d like to say something really topical or culturally sophisticated but unfortunately not so The Big Bang Theory.

Q: Who would you like to share a car with?

A: Anyone who is a good co-pilot and keeps me fed and watered.

Q: The best bit of my job is…?

A: I’ve only been in post for a month but so far one of the best bits of my role has been finding out what we can do as individuals, families and as society to reduce the damage we have done to our planet and reduce our own carbon footprint. Simple things like reducing our morning shower time by one minute can make all the difference. A little project to do at home, especially with the kids, is time your morning shower. If it’s five or ten minutes then take a minute off the five-minute shower and two minutes from the ten-minute shower every day. You’ll reduce your water usage by 20 per cent. Another way to save water is to share a shower with a partner. Maybe keep that for weekends only!

Q: And the worst…?

A: There are two. The first is seeing what terrible things that we have done, and are continuing to do, to our planet on a daily basis. The other is trying to engage with businesses who automatically see me as another geezer on the phone or LinkedIn trying to sell them electricity and gas. Yes, ultimately that’s what we have to do to make our business work and raise money to fund the environmental projects we do but the reason I wanted to join Utilities4Less was that I liked their ethical approach to commercial energy, actually reducing a business’ usage and providing a replacement to 100 per cent renewable energy from British energy suppliers, keeping the money within the UK economy..

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

A: My Grandmother. She had a great effect on me when I was a child. She taught me manners, how to speak well and set me on the path to become the man I am today. Work hard, respect others, believe in myself and challenge injustice.

Q: What’s your favourite smell?

A: Freshly baked croissants. I just can’t resist.

Q: Where’s your favourite place in Dorset?

A: Hengistbury Head. I love walking my dog up there. You can go from beach, to the heathlands on top of the head with the views along the bay towards Sandbanks and over to the Isle of Wight and walk past the beach huts for lunch in the café. Rain or shine I love the walk.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a career?

A: Think about what you want from your career and don’t necessarily go for the money option. If money is your driving force then choose an industry in sales that you believe in but always give the best customer service that you can. If you develop good strong relationships with your clients, and go above and beyond for them, then the sales will come from good, personal focused service.

Q: What was your first record/CD?

A: Jimmy Osmond: ‘Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.’ Yes, I am that old! First CD was Eurythmics: ‘Sweet Dreams.’

Q: What gets you angry?

A: Injustice, intolerance and anyone waking me up from an afternoon nap.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?

A: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It reminds me of my time spent in the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery. When we performed at events around the country, and the guns would fire in time with the music, the crowds used to love it.

Q: What are the qualities you look for in a new employee?

A: Someone who has an interest in their job, wants to succeed and takes ownership of their role. These qualities mean that they will work hard and represent your business in a professional manner.

Q: What’s your favourite food or dish?

A: I love cooking so anything that is fresh ingredients. Harkening back to my many years working in restaurants and, especially working for Gary Rhodes, food that is local, seasonal and fresh. Not only is it better for the environment, it supports the local economy. Unfortunately, though, my downfall is crisps.

Q: Steamed sponge pudding and custard or a plate of melon?

A: Steamed sponge and custard every time, treacle sponge especially.

Q: Name the best thing about living/working in Dorset?

A: I moved to Bournemouth with my husband 12 years ago and the best things about Dorset is the weather, the lifestyle and my garden.

Q: If you were Prime Minister for the day what would be the first thing you do?

A: First thing I would do is ban all bottled water. 80 per cent of the plastic bottles end up in landfill. What happens to the other 20 per cent? Well, we’ve all seen the David Attenborough footage of the pollution in our seas and oceans.

Q: What’s your biggest frustration?

A: People who keep making the same mistakes over and over. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. If you don’t I tend to say something. I don’t suffer fools gladly.

Q:  Where’s your favourite holiday location?

A: Goa. I took eight months off about 18 years ago and lived in Goa and drove all around India in a beat up old pick-up truck that I bought for £80.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

A: I don’t really think about that too often but I’d like to be with the people I love cracking jokes with and not living up to my real age. I’d also like to have achieved world peace, solved poverty and children going to sleep starving and halted global warming. Being crowned King of the World and Everything would be quite good too!

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: A good son, a loving husband, a loyal and honest friend, a hardworking employee and a just and fair manager.