Senior Sales Manager for commercial products in UK, Eire and Northern Europe for Lonza UK, Steve Gallagher has worked in the water leisure industry since 1987 but it was dry side training that helped him shed a whopping six stones.
Where and when was your introduction to water leisure.
I started working as an apprentice lifeguard for Leeds City Council in 1987 at Rothwell Sports Centre, finishing as Assistant Manager. I moved on to work for an independent charitable trust in Tadcaster, where all aspects of swimming pool water management was my main role. In 2005 I was appointed as the technical sales manager for Arch Chemicals (now Lonza) in 2005 covering North UK and Scotland.
How has the industry changed since your involvement, if at all?
There are a number of large leisure organisations now providing local authority provisions for public swimming. Digital technology has really grown with the ability to remote control all aspects of pool operations. And of course social media is now playing a significant role.
What are your biggest daily work challenges?
Travelling across my new area of Northern Europe! It sounds more glamorous that it actually is especially when I get caught up in French national strikes on planes and trains.
What are the biggest challenges facing your customers/the industry right now?
The EU regulations for the Biocidal Products Regulations (BPR) which will lead to changes and challenges surrounding the supply, promotion and sales of all biocides on the market, not only pools but in everyday use as well.
How do you see the pool market evolving in the short and long term?
Short term – dealing with the BPR will be a huge challenge for all suppliers of biocide chemicals from disinfection to algaecides. Long term I think we will need to look at more digital automation of products and services to make things quicker and more consumer friendly. What is the best piece of work advice you have received and from whom? An old manager from Leeds City Council – If you train your staff and they leave that is bad, but if you don’t train your staff and they stay that is far worse!
How do you most like to spend your time out of work?
I like to run, having being almost 20 stone in 2012, the Olympics inspired me to lose weight (6 stone in 9 months) and so I started running. I started Parkrunning in 2013 (I have now completed 200 parkruns and been a volunteer 20+ times including Parkrun Director) My favourite race is the Leeds half marathon with this year being my 5th, and I have run two full marathons with a PB of 3hrs 52. This year, I have won a ballot entry for the Great North Run in September, I’ll wave to the cameras!