We caught up with Martin Cummins, our Technical Service Manager, to ask him ten questions on how he got into flooring, which famous person he’d hire as part of his team, and what he thinks the future holds for the industry. Here’s what he had to say…
What was your first job?
I worked in a local government lab on a research project for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. We were analysing the cull cow population, which essentially involved slicing up bits of cow and weighing them. I had to visit an abattoir as part of the role and managed to stomach it much better than some of my colleagues!
How did you get into the adhesives industry?
I moved between various lab roles until I eventually started working in a factory’s quality control lab. That company became part of the Laybond Group, who were eventually acquired by Bostik.
How would you describe your role?
All-encompassing! Externally, I get to visit sites, working alongside installers and contractors, while within Bostik I work with R&D and the rest of the technical team, as well as supporting in areas like marketing. It ends up extremely varied.
“I get to visit sites, working alongside installers and contractors, while within Bostik I work with R&D and the rest of the technical team, as well as supporting in areas like marketing.”
What aspect are you most looking forward to about the new Bostik Academy facility?
We have great products and a wonderful team, so I’m happy that the Bostik Academy facility will now enable us to showcase these products and skills to more people. It’s an opportunity to bring people in so they can see what Bostik is really all about.
If you could hire any one person to be part of your team, who would it be and why?
James Dyson. He’s got that ability to look beyond the obvious to find answers and that’s a hard talent to find for the commercial flooring industry, so he’d bring a set of fresh eyes.
“James Dyson [has] got that ability to look beyond the obvious to find answers and that’s a hard talent to find for the commercial flooring industry, so he’d bring a set of fresh eyes.”
What’s the best thing about working at Bostik?
There is a good working dynamic here and everybody treats each other with respect – there is a recognition of other people’s knowledge and expertise, which is used really well to support one another.
What do you think are the positive and negative aspects of the industry?
A big problem is the fight for price rather than quality. I always think: but will it last? As an industry, we should be constantly striving for the best performing products. One of the most positive changes in recent years is a move to safer and more sustainable products. There was a time when few people were interested in either of these, but it’s talked about far more now at all levels, from manufacturers to fitters.
“One of the most positive changes in recent years is a move to safer and more sustainable products.”
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?
Read the data sheet! Many years ago, I had the choice of two products to recommend for use outside a doctor’s surgery. One was a tack coat, while the other was a sealing and bonding coat. I advised the tack product due to the substrate at the site, but I hadn’t realised it would stay tacky. I was mortified – it caused embarrassment to the contractor I’d recommended it to, plus costs for several people. It was a harsh but crucial lesson in the importance of thoroughly checking a data sheet’s details.
What do you think the future holds for the industry?
I think it’s rosy.
Finally, if you could be any character from film or TV, who would you be and why?
Tom Good from The Good Life. He’s chilled, down-to-earth and married to Felicity Kendall. I’ve at least made a start on self-sufficiency as I grow various things, including potatoes and apples, and we also keep our own chickens.