How I got started - Paul Mathers, key account manager, WRAP

- How did you break into the industry?

After leaving school, I worked in the coal mining industry for 22 years, starting as a student mining engineer and working my way up to site and operations management. I then worked in construction for 12 years, mainly in ground works and regeneration, where I held a variety of posts ranging from project engineer to board director. During my time in the construction industry, I broadened my experience of earthworks and brownfield regeneration. I also set up a subsidiary company to recycle rubber.

- How did you break into the industry?

My combined experiences of the coal mining and construction industries gave me the skills required to move into my post with WRAP in 2006. I am responsible for helping WRAP to meet targets to develop the market for quality compost use in the landscaping and regeneration sector. My role involves working on projects across the UK to demonstrate the financial and environmental benefits of using locally sourced quality compost.

- Who or what was your inspiration?

Having spent most of my working life in coal mines or quarries, I welcomed the chance to put something back by working with WRAP to achieve its environmental targets. Also, gaining an MBA in 2004 gave me the confidence to explore other career paths.

- What's the most difficult job you have ever done?

Working as an earthworks project engineer on the construction of Manchester Airport's Runway 2 during two years of the worst rainfall on record.

- What is your advice to novices?

People with grey hair have a wealth of experience gained by learning from mistakes and successes. Look, listen and learn.

- How do you relax?

Ensuring that my daughter's horse riding and my son's football happen on time and to budget takes up most of the weekends but helps me to switch off.

- What does the future hold for you?

I hope to do more of the same to promote the many benefits of compost for the landscaping industry, and to show how it enables professionals to produce excellent results and save money.

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