Me & My Job - Dean Sandford, North West Technical Area Sales Manager, ICL

Dean Sandford, North West Technical Area Sales Manager, ICL - image: ICL
Dean Sandford, North West Technical Area Sales Manager, ICL - image: ICL

How did you get started in the industry? I first got the bug working at weekends and in school holidays on a school friend’s family nursery growing indoor and outdoor chrysanthemums and tomatoes. On leaving school I joined Fryer’s Roses and over three decades progressed to nursery manager. I enjoyed the challenges of working with the seasons to achieve top-quality field-grown and container-grown plants, and took a particular interest in the breeding side. 

What does your typical day involve? The day is likely to begin with general admin, liaising with our sales support team in Ipswich, before getting on the road to visit growers to discuss and advise on nutrition, growing-media mixes, plant protection and other technical aspects of modern crop production. Four years on and I am developing a more specific technical role, primarily supporting and working with our technical manager, Andrew Wilson. 

What is the best aspect of your job? Being at the forefront of innovations — helping growers to grow, nurture and protect their crops and to be the best they can. And the worst? The challenge of a very competitive market leaves growers with little time or money to invest in new ideas and technologies, but that’s what ICL is all about — helping growers make the most of what they do and see the maximum return on their investment.

What has been your biggest achievement at work? My ambition has always been to progress to a technical role and that is very much what this job gives me. I gain immense personal satisfaction helping growers to overcome challenges and find solutions to problems. 

What does the future hold? I am studying for a degree in horticulture at Mysercough College and working on new advances in fertilisers and growing media. I hope to make this the foundation of my dissertation project.

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