Neil is the newest addition to our HD® Wool Apparel Team who has joined us as UK Sales Manager! We are so happy to have such a talented and like-minded fellow to support us in our mission to bring natural, traceable and renewable insulation to European brands.
Neil began his career in sales with Coca Cola, has run his own business and spent the last 10 years in the outdoor industry leading sales teams at Brasher, Berghaus and Gill Marine. At HD® Wool, he helps us manage all our UK-based partners, in addition to providing ideas and challenge to our Commercial Strategy for HD® Wool Apparel Insulation. He’s a keen walker, likes working on his camper van and lives in Baildon!
What drew you to HD® Wool?
I had been semi-retired for a couple of years and was making bespoke furniture, but it wasn’t challenging my brain enough. I wanted to get back into a commercial role but with somewhere I could make a difference. HD® Wool gave me the chance to engage again in a commercial role but also an opportunity to be at the start of something that could really impact positively on climate change. Being at the start of this exciting challenge also gives me the chance of creating something special, an opportunity to leave a footprint in the sand of my commercial career.
What is a work experience that you are most proud of?
I’ve had a varied and eclectic career to date, but the one thing that really stands out was in 2006 when I set up and launched from scratch, an award winning business, The Cool Drinks Company. This business was selling to and influencing secondary school children to drink healthier, aiding their wellbeing and contributing to a healthier school meals agenda in the UK. It was a real challenge but something I am immensely proud of.
What are you excited about?
I’m a pretty laid back sort of guy, very calm in outlook, don’t get too excited but I just love music. I listen to it all the time, never miss an opportunity to watch it live, am still a vinyl record collector and also a very poor guitar player (still trying to learn after all these years). I have my own music room at home, it’s a perfect place to unwind and listen to whoever interests me – Chris Stapleton at the moment.
What is the first thing you wanted to do when lock-down started lifting during COVID-19?
Go to the pub, meeting and talking to people face to face. I really missed the day to day social interaction. Same with business. Teams/Zoom are a great tool, but you can’t beat doing business in person, particularly in sales.
What was the first concert you went to?
Motorhead, Bradford St Georges Hall, 26th October 1980 – the date is forever etched in my mind. I was a 15 year old lad with long hair. The concert was on a Sunday night and was so loud I couldn’t hear a thing for three days afterwards. Great fun at school as when the teachers were talking to me all I could I hear was ringing in my ears – brilliant!
Where is your happy place?
I’m at my happiest on the moors around where I grew up and still live just a stone’s throw from Salts Mill, where HD® Wool is head quartered. I like nothing better than walking over these wild and windy places, enjoying the fresh air and fabulous views over the Yorkshire countryside. I feel really thankful to have these on my doorstep, it’s a truly special place
What’s your favorite pastime?
I love making and designing bespoke furniture, especially using reclaimed materials. I specialize in using timber, repurposing and incorporating elements of steel and metal into the designs to create unique and lasting pieces. I actually get a real kick of seeing my products incorporated into people’s homes.
Do you prefer coffee or tea?
Coffee, strong and black – I’m a simple man!
What football team do you root for?
Newcastle United. My Dad got me into watching matches as a kid, exactly as he had done before. I’m a dyed in the wool Yorkshire man and it always seems odd that I support a Geordie team, but it’s part of my heritage.
What’s the most stunning bike ride, walk or road trip you’ve taken?
The most spectacular road trip I have ever done is to drive the longest road in the USA, not route 66 as most people think, but Route 20. This road goes coast to coast across the states from Boston in the east to Newport, Oregon, in the west – Atlantic to Pacific and was part of the old frontier road that built modern America. The journey is 3,365 miles long and in September 2017. I drove all of it by myself. It’s the ultimate journey through small town America! I had some great adventures along the way, met some really interesting people, and even wrote abook about it – ‘Two for Tuesday’!
What’s the last book you’ve read?
I re-read a book from my childhood, The Kon-Tiki Expedition, which is all about how a group of Norwegians led by Thor Heyerdahl. They undertook a journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian Islands. I first read this when I was eight years old and still love it to this day.
And finally, if you could make/or have anything made with HD® Wool Apparel Insulation, what would it be?
Ideally, I want a jacket that I can use to walk over the moors, rain or shine, that keeps me warm and dry but looks just as good when I’m walking to the pub in the evening. An everyday jacket for all occasions.