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Meet the Team

Philip Double – Chief Operating Officer

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Welcome to the highly anticipated second edition of our “Meet the Team” series. From the seasoned veterans to the rising stars, discover the stories and personalities that fuel our collaborative spirit.

This week we caught up with our Chief Operating Officer, Philip Double about his university life as a baker’s assistant and his shift into a successful career at John Hogg!

 

 

Tell us a little about your role at John Hogg

My role at John Hogg is the Chief Operating Officer, which involves working across various departments in the company. This includes the commercial team, technical team, operations, and logistics. My responsibility really is to work with the team, pulling together their input to ensure the company strategy is pointing in the right direction, and making sure that we have the resources and capability to deliver it.

How long have you been a part of the John Hogg team?

Just over 7 years – I started on the 1st of October 2016

What was your first job, did you enjoy it?

For my first proper job I was a baker’s assistant whilst studying for my A-Levels & at University. It was at a small local village bakery with very early starts, usually 3-4 am, finishing the shifts at 12pm. The pay was great, but it was physically challenging and I had to develop baking skills. I did enjoy the lifestyle… It was a good job!

After university, my first job was with Zeneca Specialities, around the time that digital photography was becoming mainstream. I worked in the Inkjet printing materials business and started work in research developing dyes which enabled Inkjet printers to print photos to the same standards as silver halide photography. The business was growing and there were lots of opportunities to experience different roles.

Did you attend University? If so, what did you study?

I did, I studied at Nottingham for just over 6 years. I began studying a BSc in chemistry, followed by a PhD in Organic Chemistry. I really enjoyed the time spent doing my BSc, and there was a lot of personal satisfaction in completing my PhD.

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Besides family life I have four hobbies that take up most of my time:

Cycling: I love cycling, I cycle with a couple of groups and also commuting. I find it’s a great way to relax after a day in the office. Whenever we go on a family holiday, we often take the bikes and explore the local area

Wine tasting: I enjoy wine and we have cellar at home which is great fun. I am also a member of a couple of wine societies, and my wife and I love to visit vineyards on holidays when we can. I am looking forward to presenting for the first time at a wine society meeting soon!

Photography: I try to find time for wildlife photography as I find it to be a very mindful activity. This year’s trip was a week in Cairngorm spending time in the snowy mountains, looking for mountain hares and ptarmigan and learning the field craft to get near them.

Rugby: I enjoy watching rugby and used to coach and referee but unfortunately don’t have enough time now. I found that learning to coach rugby was one of the best management training programmes I have been on.

Do you have a favourite sports team?

I used to follow West Ham when I was younger and lived in London, but more recently it would be the Sale Sharks Rugby Team.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

From an academic perspective it would be my PhD. This was a big challenge in many ways and harder than anything else I have ever achieved academically. I also enjoy sport and have competed at various levels in a number of different sports varying from racing kayaks, to rugby and also triathlon.

Describe your ideal weekend or day off.

I had a fun weekend recently which fits the bill, I watched the kids play sport at the start of the weekend, followed by a relaxing social evening with some friends and family. Then on Sunday morning, I cycled with my group, and then had a rest on the couch watching the rugby world cup on Sunday afternoon. This was a great balance for me, with 3 of my hobbies in one weekend!

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would it be?

Antarctica before it melts… I’ve been to quite a lot of places, but I’ve not been to the Antarctic and the photography opportunities are amazing.

What’s a fun fact about you that most people wouldn’t know?

Probably my photography interests, it’s not something we talk about a lot in the office, though occasionally my desktop is a photo which have taken.

Which book or movie has left a lasting impact on you and why?

Good question, my daughter recently asked me who are the most influential fictional characters in my life? I gave her two answers from books, and I will use the same books to answer here.

The first book is Lord of the Rings, and the character was Frodo Baggins. He was an accidental leader and hero and I love the book due to the creativity and fantasy. When you look at recent fictional writing, Lord of the Rings is so influential.

The second book (really five books) is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy and the character was Author Dent, another accidental hero. The interest for me in those books is the philosophical approach which Douglas Adams brings. I also heard it is Elon Musk’s favourite book.

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably a meal I cooked my kids the other night, which they call chicken pasta and is a simple healthy chicken dish we made up. It evolved over the years, and it always get demolished at the dinner table very quickly. It also goes well with a glass of wine.

What is your greatest fear?

Not making the most of the opportunities that are in front of you. This links back to work as we have fantastic opportunities at John Hogg, and it would be great to make the most of them. I think if we can get it right then it will be amazing for everyone in the organisation.

Your GOAT music artist?

QUEEN – The band I most regret not going to see!

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be?

I would have loved to have dinner with Douglas Adams – To hear his views on history and the present day.

If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

I find it difficult to think of these, what would you say about me?

Interviewer:
Confident, knowledgeable & challenging

Phil:
I guess I would agree with those, although I’m not as confident as you may think.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I have been very lucky to be exposed to a lot of what goes on in the company and work directly with many of the team here. There is always something brilliant going on, a member of the team is always smashing it. I get to see all those positives all the time. I also get exposed to challenges but seeing people in the team succeed is worth it.

I also love having a job where no day is the same!

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned while working at John Hogg?

People can always do more than you can imagine they are capable off. Don’t hinder what people try by your own limited imagination, let them find their own boundaries and then push themselves further, letting them be as creative and dynamic as they can. The lesson to learn is how to help create an environment which allows that.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new team members to succeed within our company culture?

Relax, enjoy yourself and push your boundaries. There is plenty of space here at John Hogg for you to grow.

Finally; In your opinion, what sets John Hogg apart as an employer?

I would usually suggest people who ask this question to walk around site and ask the team members what they think!

John Hogg is a medium sized family-owned business, and the positive ethos of the family really comes through in how the business operates. This enables the team to define and deliver their ambition for the business.

 

This approach has helped create a culture in the organization that is as supportive and positive as anywhere I have worked. Having that space for the team to work in sets us apart because it changes how we approach work and the way we treat our customers and suppliers which in turn leads to success.

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