Congratulations to Tom Watkins who has taken on the ‘Cattal Deputy Unit Manager’ role and will be working alongside Cattal Manager, Mark Weatherill. Here’s what he had to say about his new role:
1.Within a year you have gone from ‘trainee manager’ to a ‘Deputy Manager’, how does that feel?
I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I got promoted to deputy manager. I have had my sights set on a role like this since I started at Johnsons, and I have been working hard to improve my skills and knowledge to fit this kind of role. Now I feel I can really hone in my skills as a manager and a grower.
2. What did your previous role include?
As a management trainee, I was moving around the different departments at Johnsons and spending up to a couple of months in each one. Up until moving to Cattal, I spent time at Roecliffe, Whixley, Newlands – Incoming Goods, Amenity Sales and Retail Operations. Working in each department involved understanding procedures, but also evaluating them and trying to see how we could improve them. Alongside this, I was working on trials and projects which were supported by management in various departments.
3. How have Johnsons supported you? and how has this helped you get to your new position?
Each department I have worked in has been great for my personal development because the managers I have worked with have all been really enthusiastic in showing me how they manage their units, and how the units are run efficiently. I have always been free to make suggestions and ask questions. As well as this, my enthusiasm for working in production horticulture has always been recognised and supported.
4. What will your new role include?
I’ll be assisting Mark in managerial duties; managing potting, lifting and cultural activities. I’ll also be inducting and training staff on site. As well as this I will be in charge of spraying and irrigation on the site. This will involve routine checks and repairs, crop walks to asses plant health and research into potential new products we can use.
5. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
I look forward to growing crops throughout their growth cycle, from potting to dispatch and improving my growing methods each time around. That is where I find the most enjoyment in horticulture and is what I look forward to most in this role.
6. What do you think the challenges will be?
Cattal is a large nursery, which poses challenges both from a growing and management aspect. We have a lot of plants on-site and all have different growing requirements. As well as this, we usually have a few staff on-site and, although we have a great team at Cattal, I can’t spend all of my time with the plants!
7. Are there any specific courses you will be attending?
I have just completed my PA2 spraying qualification, which will go alongside my PA1 and PA6. This will mean that I can operate the boom sprayer. In the future I will also be looking at taking courses on pesticide/fertiliser use.
8. And finally, how will you celebrate your new role?
I’m treating myself to a trip to Athens over New Years.
Chairman, John Richardson, commented on Toms recent success: ” Such a pleasure to read Tom’s comments, you know that someone is going places when they are motivated by hard work, ambition, education, success and goodwill, he joins so many of our senior staff in these attributes.”