Meet the Team - John Neal
Planning an event is a very personal experience and we really feel that in order to put your trust in us, you need to know a little more about us! Not just our history and work experience but maybe what we like to do on the weekend and our favourite take away spot!
We have put together a series of questions and you can either read them here or head over to our Instagram and watch the videos on IGTV, we hope you enjoy getting to know us a little better!
Today we are speaking to John, John is one of our company directors and founder of Marquee Solutions and we asked him to write a few words about himself below-
‘I was born in Jersey too many years ago now to remember the date and was subsequently educated in the island until leaving school at 18.
I was always keen to work and earn money and from the age of 14 I worked weekends and Summer holidays at Le Braye cafe, staring as the dish washer, rising to the dizzy heights of cooking the burgers! By the time I left school I was earning £40.00 a week at the café and it was a tough decision to move to a different career path joining the insurance company, Commercial Union, when the starting pay was only £32.00 per week! I really enjoyed my time with CU spending half of it in the UK, but the lure of working back in Jersey was strong and 8 years later I returned “home”.
For the next 20 years I worked for Jersey Produce Marketing Organisation who were the largest exporter of island produce to the UK. This business was subsequently merged with others to form the Jersey Royal Potato Co and it was at a board meeting of this company that we were asked if we were interested in buying some bankrupt marquee equipment.
The company dismissed this idea, but it sowed a seed in my mind. Subsequently I met Warren who had a vast experience in the marquee industry, we put together a partnership arrangement and the rest as they say is history. Actually it wasn’t that plain sailing, as another party entered the bidding process for the bankrupt stock and it all became rather messy. I was going on holiday on the 14th March and I told the administrators if we didn’t sign by the 14th the deal was off-we signed at 4.00pm that day and left to start our holiday at 18.00 wondering what on earth we had done!
It’s been an amazing 15 year journey, starting a completely new business with no orders to where we are today, 12 permanent staff, an additional 12 during the main season and responsibility for approximately 65% of the islands marquee business. How have we achieved this? There has been no magic formula, we just applied simple principles of employing really good and enthusiastic staff, investing heavily in new equipment and trends, and delivering on our promises. What started as a relatively simple business of supplying marquee structures with basic equipment has evolved into a rounded company acting as a one stop shop for functions and advice
I’m really proud of what we have collectively achieved and know the business will continue to progress and expand in the future.’
When John isn’t at work, you will more often than not, find him on his boat or treating himself to some fresh local seafood, he insists you can’t go wrong with a fruits de mer!
We hope you enjoyed this little segment and look forward to next week and meeting our next team member!