HTSS-PG22-PIC1A devoted family man, Mark Ward is kept busy in his role as Operations Director for SpaNET Europe, ensuring the smooth running of logistical and technical matters. He was red-faced on a work do when he asked someone what they do for a living only to later realise it was legendary rugby star Jonny Wilkinson…

Born and raised in Portsmouth, after college, Mark, 52, worked for 10 years in the insurance industry. Mark has been married to Tracy for 20 years. The couple have two children, Lauren 22 and Alex 17 who now work with the family business.

Mark joined Spaform for two years before taking a position as general manager with Aegean Spas. For ten years, Mark managed and looked after new and existing Master Spas dealers. He then set up his own showroom and service company, Hot Tub SOS, which is now run by his children along with right hand man Steven. This leaves Mark to concentrate on developing SpaNET Europe, a company set up with business partner, Chris in 2020.

I owe so much to Stephen Weller, who, prior to retiring, owed Aegean Spas. I absorbed so much from him in respect of running a business. I still find myself saying to staff “it’s all about controlling costs” to which they reply with a snigger “Ok Stephen!”

As a 16 year old Saturday assistant, I worked at the local Circle K store. My very first manager, Mark Pullen was a major influence. Mark would often be seen sweeping the floor by the main door and sorts the bins to flatten the boxes. He taught me that you should never delegate a job to someone that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. I try to keep to this mantra.

• Avoiding a full English breakfast every morning.
• Leaving the house before the school traffic builds up (sitting in traffic is my pet hate).
• My computer inbox !!
• Trying not to interfere with the team doing their job.

Rising energy costs are beginning to impact the industry greatly and more broadly the general cost of living for typical hot tub end users.

By the pool, in a villa in Portugal (with mobile phone and lap top) I don’t think I could ever properly retire.

There has to be an ever increasing focus on energy efficient products and a growth of regional manufacturing and distribution as lessons have been learned from the experiences of distributors/retailers paying up to £15,000 in some cases to bring across a dozen spas from China.

Mark’s special guests to a dinner party – dead or alive – would be Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – these two are an iconic duo who have joined Mark on more than one karaoke session. He would also invite HRH `the Queen and Anne Hegarty – Mark’s favourite quiz queen.

I joined a Master Spas dealer on an appointment at the Newcastle Falcons ground, who was there to promote the new H2X swim spa range. Whilst he was doing his presentation, I was chatting to a very pleasant chap about all sorts of things. Not being a sports fan, I later found out I had spent 10 mins chatting with Jonny Wilkinson. The worst bit was I asked him “What’s your job here?” He was polite enough to say “I’m one of the players.” Oops !!