At 06:15 on July 16th 1951, at Queen Mary’s Maternity Home, Hampstead, Sheila Fry gave birth to an 10lb 4oz baby boy (that’s an eye-watering 4.65kg). She was relieved it was all over, surprised (to say the least) at the weight of her second son, Andrew Robert, but also disappointed that she had missed the kippers which were the hospital’s breakfast offering that day.
That wasn’t the only time I disappointed my parents (I was never a model student at school), and they were certainly surprised when, 35 years later, I announced I was leaving a well-paid job with a major consulting firm to set up my own consulting business with 4 colleagues.
A little arithmetic tells you I turned 69 this July. Over the past week, I’ve received dozens of LinkedIn messages from around the Pharma & MedTech world congratulating me on another anniversary, my 34th year with Team Consulting. Team was formally incorporated on November 11th 1986, but the photo below shows (R-L) me, John Targell, Perran Newman, Peter Sharpe and Alan Goodman, all in the pub on the day in October 1986 when we each put a fiver in a moneybox, symbolically launching the venture which has filled the last 34 years and which, give or take a month or two, accounts for 50% of my time on earth.
Whatever visions for our company we founders had that evening in the Chaise and Pair, Barkway, 5 years seemed a long way off (and would anyway see me turning 40 – now that sounded scary). Yet 5 years from that October evening at the pub, we would come within a hairsbreadth of losing our firm, my house and all our hopes. We didn’t, and that’s another story – but trust me, it’s better not to know the future!
By 1998 I was the only remaining founder, Team was becoming established in the Pharma/MedTech world and operating out of a Georgian manor house (a bit more glamorous than the Victorian abattoir which preceded it, or the 1960’s house with workshop we began with).
Following a steady upward trajectory, Team became 100% employee-owned in 2016. We now operate from a beautiful campus site south of Cambridge, and the tribulations of the past third of a century are perhaps ancient history of which few are aware.
In half of my own lifetime, the change has been astonishing.
I now have three grown-up children and five granddaughters. My youngest son, Tom, is 33; he has never known his dad working anywhere but Team. He was too young to remember the toughest days, but he’s observed the difficulties that come with building a business.
He is now a highly skilled games designer and has built a company which, like Team, comprises a group of enterprising, like-minded, skilled professionals committed to each other and respected within their industry. He also believes in commitment, honesty and delivering the right product – as does his dad, and Team Consulting. I pray that when he is the age I am now, he can look back with pride at what has been built and the people who built it.
I know that I can.
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