In the latest Lord Combustion Services staff profile, we speak to director Mark Chapman about his career with the company, the ways he has adapted to the changes in the industry and his ambitions to travel the world.
When did you join Lord Combustion Services and what are the main responsibilities in your role?
I joined Lord Combustion Services in 2008. I look after the contractual installation works. It can be a demanding role with many different installations going on at once, but I work with the rest of the projects team including my fellow director Emma Tibbetts and contracts engineer Matthew Smith.
When did you start your career in commercial heating?
I began work as an installer in 1989. After three years with a company, I left to set up on my own, but then returned as a sub-contractor in 1993, which I did for 15 years before I joined Lord Combustion Services. I came away from on-site work in 2008 to take on more of an office-based role with Lord, where I have built up experience in quoting for projects like boiler replacements and then supervising contractual installation works.
How has the industry changed over this time?
Things have changed a lot, as you would expect. We have changed as a business to move with the times and re-educated the staff. Change will continue as renewable energy shapes the future for our industry.
What do you enjoy about your work?
I have been fortunate that from a young age, I have been able to work in the heating industry. I started out when I left school at 16 and am still in this line of work 47 years later. It was different back then as we were moving into natural gas. I consider myself fortunate as I have never got up one day and felt negative about work as it is a good trade to get into. The team we have built up at Lord now gets on well and gels together, from the fitters and engineers through to staff in the offices. We can always rely upon one another.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your work?
We were extremely busy during the pandemic as we had a lot of work to do for hospitals and care homes. We had to keep the heating on and ensure hot water was running so that buildings could remain open. I cannot remember a busier time.
What is a typical day like with Lord Combustion Services?
A typical day for me can start at 8.30am and finish around 7pm. The job is always busy with a list of tasks to get through every day. I go out to sites and support the installation team on the jobs we have got under way. If there are any issues, I work with them so they are resolved. I am responsible for getting the costs together.
What advice would you offer someone starting their career with Lord Combustion Services?
I encourage people to work hard and be prepared to learn, even if sometimes that is through mistakes. Nobody is perfect but if you knuckle down and get stuck into the work, it can be a rewarding and satisfying job.
What are your interests outside of work?
Outside of work I keep active on my bike by doing a lot of cycling. I enjoy golf and like to get outdoors to climb mountains. I enjoy the outdoor life.
With travel likely to return with the easing of lockdown, where in the world would you like to go?
The guy who taught me everything I knew for the first eight years of my working life moved to New Zealand when I was in my late 20s. He came over here every few years before Covid struck and always asked when I was going to visit him. I would like to go to New Zealand and plan to do so when it is safe again.