Me & My Job - John Simmonds, nursery manager, Bridgemere

How did you get started in the industry? I fell into it as a schoolboy needing pocket money, worked in Lincolnshire for a bulb grower then helped to diversify the company into cut flowers as a supplier to the major flower packers in Spalding.

 John Simmonds, nursery manager, Bridgemere
John Simmonds, nursery manager, Bridgemere
This led to being recruited by Winchester Growers after university as a production manager. I missed growing so moved on to Osberton Nurseries.

What advice would you give to others starting out? Every day brings something new and if you enjoy change and adapting to situations then be prepared to always give it 100 per cent — you get out what you put in.

What does your typical day involve? I get to the office at around 6am to clear the irritating paperwork and plan the day’s work. Morning meetings give direction for the day and leave me time to plan production and look at future work or training.

What is the best aspect of your job? The variation in the work and always looking and finding improvement and efficiency in people, the performance of work and, most importantly, the plants.

And the worst? Machine breakdowns.

How do you wind down after a hard day at work? I have a nine-month-old daughter and a six-year-old son, with the latter actually wishing I stay at work as he is very keen on what I do and is always keen to learn more.

What is your biggest achievement at work? Bridgemere needed a major overhaul. Progress has been beyond expectation and the results from last season have shown that positivity and hard work can bring success.

What does the future hold? The future is very positive and exciting. Developments with e-commerce and more growing opportunities offer optimism for further growth.

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