Just what does the Chairman do at Hudson Contract?
12th November 2020 | David Jackson
It’s a question I’ve had to ask of myself a few times recently. I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track when I say that as a responsibility, the financial incoming and outgoings all pass by me, and that the brand is still a priority for me too. A third within my day-to-day will be the team at Hudson whose continued wellbeing I must ensure so they can take good care of all of you, our clients.
In a typical working week, I should confess that you’re never likely to find me in my office at business opening or closing times. After nearly 25 years, I now have the luxury of what must be recognised as a job that commands only part-time attendance. That said, Hudson Contract is never that far out of my thoughts, email or phone reach. Particularly since our activities and staff are spread over three business locations and with six regional auditors covering the UK.
When I am at my desk in our processing office in Bridlington, there is of course a routine to be undertaken in reviewing the weekly or monthly figures for the various transactions of the period. I also sign-off all of the purchasing and supplier invoices. Recent events have lead me to reconsider our disaster recovery facility. In order to continue to provide our service even after a catastrophic failure at our head-office, we have rented access to a DR suite for 18 people. Two recent DR tests have concluded with slow data transfer, too slow to be acceptable, a sign of the scale of Hudson Contract these days.
I therefore took the decision to buy an additional office of some 2,300 square feet, and equip it fully with the necessary duplicate servers, desk-top computers and all that goes with a fully functioning suite. The capital budget is around £600,000 but needless to say, we are fully committed to giving our clients a full and uninterrupted service. This may sound like there’s a lot for me to do since the purchase last month, but I’m grateful to be able to say to our Director of Operations of some 19 years David Bradley, “here are the keys Dave, the rest is up to you”.
The brand to me means “What Hudson Contract looks like to the construction industry. What do we appear to be? What do we say and in how many different ways?” That’s not just marketing and PR, it’s document sets, outbound communications, phone conversations, client meetings, etc. And of course, sometimes we have to spend quite a bit of time communicating around our ongoing dispute with the CITB. Thankfully, Managing Director Ian Anfield leads with that particular argument and I can trust completely Ian’s direction with the issues. My role here is to read-over and suggest or refine points of view.
In common with just about all other founders of family businesses, I talk over most of what comes past me with my wife and co-owner Lesley. Whatever we have achieved at Hudson Contract, I couldn’t have made much of a success of it without her support and encouragement. Yes, we get to share the rewards of our success together. But we’ve also shared the sleepless nights and the endless engagement with challenges in the past. It’s a great and enduring partnership.
Finally, there’s my engagement with our staff. I like to stay in communication with them, especially in these difficult and restrictive times. It’s our people who make our service special and smooth running so I like to remind them that whilst I’m happy to be part-time and do my bit as Chairman, “I’m not ready to retire yet!”
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