Current employer: The Devon Coffee Company
Current job title: Managing Director (Owner)
Current location: Plymouth
“The Business School is excellent and the University as a whole just keeps getting better.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
My first experience, and an invaluable experience it has turned out to be in my career, was as a trustee at Plymouth Students’ Union. The general manager was off for an extended period of time and left me, as the sabbatical, in charge of trade – which meant managing the £1.6m trading income of the Students' Union.
Shortly after that, I started my first venture in nightclub promotion. This wasn’t for me, though, so it didn’t last long! To escape this line of work I took a sales job at Hobsons, a subsidiary of The Daily Mail. This also wasn’t for me! So, after a bit of travelling I started work at a friend’s café. In this role I applied a bit of theory learnt at the University and got the business bug! I became director in my third year and helped the owner to treble in size.
In 2007 I opened my first café in Plymouth, which I sold in 2015. In 2009 I opened a surf shop/café in Plymouth, which I sold a year later after falling seriously ill. Then, late in 2010, after a lifesaving operation, I opened a catering business and café in Plymouth which I still own. In Early 2011 I started The Devon Coffee Company.
Has your career path changed since graduation?
Yes, I always dreamed of working for myself but didn’t know what I wanted to do before I found the world of coffee. The Devon Coffee Company offers endless opportunities for growth and creativity, so I can’t see my career path changing much from now.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
Every day at The Devon Coffee Co is amazing: it is constantly challenging, evolving, and teaching me different things. I would work seven days a week if the Mrs would allow it!
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
Business theory really matters, without that I would have fallen flat on my face.
Do you stay in touch with other University alumni or lecturers?
Yes, one of my course mates and good friends is now my accountant! We also have an Old Boys network for the football team which is really strong and keeps us in touch. I am still close with the guys I ran ‘The Fit Pit’ with (the old University gym).
I haven’t kept in touch with my old lecturers, but I have recently been working with Kenneth Henrie from the Marketing department. I have spoken at a postgraduate marketing and strategy lecture for a module based on our company, and I will also be presenting at a professional sales seminar next month.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University, and why?
Yes, the location is great. The Business School is excellent and the University as a whole just keeps getting better. As a Plymouth resident I have seen the University come on leaps and bounds, and as an alum I have been impressed with the alumni network.
Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?
Work harder than I did, as it will reap rewards. There are modules I neglected that would really help me now. I’d love to go back and study them again.