HISTORY OF MDS

My name is Mark. I am a family man with two children - twins, Oliver & Jessica, I must be blessed! I've been with my partner Suzi for 18 years now, engaged for over 13 of them!! I obviously hope that one day, either Oliver or Jessica might join me in the business.

 

We, as a family, live in Yelling - we have been residents here for 12 years now. Our village is located just on the outskirts of St Neots and only ten minutes away from Cambridge. I feel I am well situated to deliver prompt and efficient service to all the surrounding villages of St Neots and central Cambridge.

 

I have two brothers and both are involved within the building trade. Howard is based in Bournemouth and has a wealth of experience of property maintenance, which comes from being a hotel maintenance manager across the country. He now runs his own business in Bournemouth offering solutions to general improvements to people’s homes. My eldest brother is based in Cheshire and has successfully run his own Home Maintenance Services business for many years. So as a family we are all involved with working with our hands and in the construction sector.

There is history of plumbers within the family - my Grandfather was a plumber during the days of lead-wiped-joints, solid fuel hopper fed back boilers, cast iron soil stacks, and solid steel pipework. As time progressed, town gas was installed to homes across the UK which transformed the home heating options, and Grandad started installing gas-fired boilers. These were large floor standing units that were open-flued and required large ventilation openings in the rooms to which they were installed. With all the changes in the industry - which even in those days was fast moving and evolving - he needed extra help. So that’s where my Father became involved in the family business. Starting as a Saturday boy, Dad would help Grandad install pipework - a tricky job then - as pipes were installed to operate under “gravity”, so it was quite complicated to get right! Once Town gas was replaced and the new “Natural gas” arrived, so too did many advancements in our industry. Heating circulators (pumps) transformed the way in which homes could be heated, improving heat-up-times and emphasis started to be put on the efficiency of systems. These were challenging times for my Grandad and Dad, but it demonstrates that as a family we embrace a career that is evolving all the time.

 

As the third generation in our family, I started off my plumbing and heating career back in 1990, where I was an apprentice for a large company on the outskirts of Cambridge called The Aqua Group. I was packed off to Cambridge Technical college a couple of days a week to learn the classroom stuff, then spent the rest of the week learning hands-on, within building sites.

 

It was working on building sites that made me realise that Domestic plumbing work was really where I wanted to be. I knew back then, that I could offer a service to home-owners that would focus on delivering a cleaner service, more refined without dirty site boots, and water pouring through an open roof. There is definitely a difference between “Site Plumbers” and “Domestic Plumbers!”

 

After a break from my plumbing apprenticeship, I followed a career in cleaning, which gave me invaluable experience in working within people’s homes and business premises. I gained a huge understanding of how customers feel when trades are working in their homes. I could see the frustration and annoyance where tradesmen didn’t wipe their feet before entering the house, and there was little regard for the family’s daily routines whilst work was carried out. This is where I came in - I cleared up, I limited the impact of dusty building work, and the upheaval during heating installations. On several occasions, I was engaged by a local plumbing company, to clean carpets at their customers’ homes, because of accidental damage during works. I was contracted by a local building company called Alan Smith Builders, to carry out cleans at various sites, to ensure minimal impact to the occupants. It was during these jobs that I decided my future was definitely positioned to be in the Plumbing and Heating business. I knew I could deliver a different, more customer focused plumbing experience.

 

Nearly ten years ago, I finally made the decision to return to the plumbing industry, and I enrolled to Peterborough Regional Collage to complete two years of studies in plumbing. I loved it. I achieved NVQ Level 1 and Level 2, and also passed the Water Regulations exams. In order to be able to progress further, I needed an apprenticeship (again!) I set about asking local plumbers if I could help them, knowing that I could really be useful with my experience, and I finally got a very kind chap to work for. It was tough - I don’t think I actually earnt anything for quite a few months as I think he wanted to see if I would stick around! I did. This enabled me to stay on at collage, and I continued on to complete the NVQ Level 3 with flying colours.

 

I continued to study and train, achieving my Gas Safe accreditation. I had also by this time developed my own business, while still learning on the tools. MDS Plumbing & Heating was on the map.