Leader Interview: Paul Vernon – Martindales Limited

1. How did you get to where you are today?

I worked my way up through the business, starting 28 years ago with an ambition to be a joiner.  I immersed myself in the business and have carried out many roles including fitting, surveying, branch management & operational management; and I helped take the business national by setting up regional branches.  The owners of the business had a “hands-on” engineering approach with a great attention to detail and a “can do” attitude to the smallest or most complex of jobs.  This has no doubt shaped my approach to running the business – it is key to have the knowledge & experience of working at the coal face.

2. What’s the biggest challenge facing your sector of the industry?

The shortage of skills in the buildings sector in general makes it a challenge to get the right people.  As a privately owned business with a passionate owner we are always seeking the best people in the industry, with the right skills and the same attention to detail & pride in the job that Phil Martindale instilled in the company from the very beginning.  Not always easy when there are employers out there who may not require the same high standards & expectations.

3. How are you and your business dealing with this?

Our in-house Training School has been set up to hone the skills of our own people and ensure they have the knowledge and the tools to meet the standards we set ourselves and be able to carry out the more specialist work that we are known for.

I regularly go round the country undertaking field visits & spot checks, meeting the customers and reviewing the standards of our fitting teams.  This gives me a first- hand insight into any training needs or support that our fitters may need to be the best.

4. Out of your business achievements, what are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of where our team has got us to today – trusted by many of the UK’s leading insurers, networks and service providers across both the volume work and more specialist jobs such as bespoke joinery and innovative solutions to repairs.

5. What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the industry?

Take ownership in everything you do.  Also make sure you have the processes & systems in place to know in detail what is happening across your business.

6. If you could change anything what would you do to make the insurance industry "Better tomorrow”?

Service providers in the same commodity space often operate very different models – it is key that insurers understand the differences.  I believe that insurers should get closer to and under the skin of competing operating models, enabling them to see the value of specialism and the appropriate use of skills where required.

7. What's your top tip for being productive?

Ensure you reward the right behaviours & outcomes.  Motivate your staff to treat everything they do as if it were their own business.

8. What gadget can't you live without?

Our claims system and our field-force PDA devices.

9. Talent or Perseverance?

Both are great qualities, as long as they are supported by great training & innovative systems.

10. What do you do to switch off or escape from work?

Believe it or not, renovating & extending my house.  I have had my hands full working on it for over 12 months now and I still can’t sit still at night – there is always something else I want to improve.   I suppose you would call it a bit of a “busman’s holiday”!

"Take ownership in everything you do. Also make sure you have the processes & systems in place to know in detail what is happening across your business"


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