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Two landmark moments

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November 2023 has been an important month for our Mechanical & Electrical Director John Ferguson; and for two very important reasons.

Firstly, John celebrated his 60th birthday in the middle of November and just two weeks later, was celebrating again as he officially hit an impressive 40 years as a member of the HF family.

Johns Life in Numbers

1983 – Microsoft had just released the first computer mouse, Margaret Thatcher was re-elected UK Prime Minister, the first ever £1 coin was introduced and a 20 year old John Ferguson began working as an apprentice electrician at HF when he emigrated south from Mallaig to the Central Belt of Scotland to complete his last year of training.

1984 – This year saw John achieve an M.B.E (Mallaig’s Best Electrician) as he passed his final year of apprenticeship and became an electrician. This was self-awarded and we are almost certain that Charlie King, whom John started his apprenticeship under, would likely argue that he was Mallaig’s best. That said, we can confirm he did definitely pick up 1 prestigious award that year as he was the 1984 winner of the HF Apprentice of the Year competition. So whilst we can’t confirm the M.B.E there is some evidence that would back up the H.F.B.E.

1986 – With 2 years under his belt as an electrician at HF, John quickly started moving up the ladder by becoming an approved electrician and worked on many large projects from factory fits out, to fancy high street stores in London. Towards the end of his time on the tools he worked in the large ship yard of John Brown Engineer on the River Clyde.

1996 – John was given the opportunity to put down the tools and became our Service Desk Manager in the mid-nineties, working in our Glasgow office on Albert Drive. An opportunity that he quickly embraced.

2002 – John was promoted to Operations Director of HF Electrical. That same year his first challenge was the creation of our Manchester operations (who last year celebrated their 20th year anniversary). Phil Belcher, our founding manager of Manchester remembers meeting John all those years ago. It was a suppliers day at Brands Hatch back in 2001, Phil gave John his business card in the hope of selling his wares up in Scotland; not aware that within the year he would join HF himself. The rest is history!

2003 – With the sudden departure of two of the senior members of our HF Controls company, we looked for a strong and steady pair of hands and so John became Managing Director at the same time that Brendan Duffy was appointed the Director of HF Controls. Between them, they have helped shape the business that has now become a world leader in bespoke control panel systems for industries as diverse as transportation, energy and manufacturing.

2004 – With the ever-present strength of our Electrical Division, came the creation of our Mechanical Division and guess who was in the thick of it….our John.

2007 – With the constantly growing divisions and services of Electrical, Mechanical, Fire and Security, Telecommunications and Automated Controls, HF Group Ltd was formed to allow the individual companies within HF to continue trading under their own identity whilst being part of the HF Group and allowing for future growth. John, given his influence in keys parts of the company became one the 1st board members of the newly formed HF Group, where he remains to this day.

2008 – During one of the worst recessions the UK had ever seen, HF expanded its reach by creating our Belfast Branch.

2010 – John spearheaded the on-boarding of almost 20 new employees in our Mechanical division over a weekend as one our competitors hit hard times and we joined forces.

2012 – Following the successful establishment of our branches in Manchester and Belfast, 2012 saw the creation of our Aberdeen branch, giving the HF brand a stronger offering in M&E and F&S to existing clients in the North East of Scotland.

2020 – Having worked for the company for over 35 years, first starting as an apprentice and climbing the HF ladder, John became the Managing Director of HF Mechanical & Electrical. The celebrations wouldn’t last long as within months, the country locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  John was responsible for steering the company through the Covid-19 pandemic, successfully getting HF Mechanical & Electrical through this incredibly turbulent time.

In summary, over his four decades working for HF, John has seen and been involved in A LOT and we can not thank him enough. Over his time he has met 4 generations of Hugh’s, working with 3 of those generations. His time at HF started in the last century when our current Group Managing Director, Hugh R had just turned 3 years old. That same year Jill Nicolson (our current Financial Director) was born. He has seen, influenced and helped shape HF from when they offered solely electrical services turning over circa £2 – 3M per annum into the diverse group of companies we are today with a combined turnover of almost 16x what it was back in 1983.

In his time at HF, John has seen 2 National Recessions, 9 Prime Ministers, 6 Scottish First Ministers and 1 Global Pandemic.

The technology in this time has also changed. Distribution has changed from rewireable fuses to modern day RCBOs and surge protection devices. Lighting has moved from tungsten lamps through to low Voltage and now LED. He is also one of the last of a few that we would have full confidence in to make off a pyro end. Cars these days even require a plug and extension lead, a far cry from the Chrysler Alpine that John drove in the early 80s and that helped transport him and his family from the Highlands to his new life in Glasgow… after all these years I am sure you will agree he has not aged a day 😊

We have always made the promise to those that join the HF family that working for us is a lot more than just a job, it is a career. Now celebrating his 40th year at HF, John is a perfect example of someone who started out in life as an apprentice, learned the trade, grew and advanced with the company, embracing unique challenges, a varied workload and great career progression opportunities to become our Mechanical & Electrical Managing Director.

As a collection of individual companies all operating under the HF brand, we are always looking for enthusiastic and motivated individuals who want to take the next step in their career with a solid foundation and real scope to grow in the company.

If you would like to know more about what it is like to work at HF and our current career opportunities within the company, please click here

Congratulations to John on both the big 6-0 and equally important 4-0. We look forward to seeing what lies ahead for both John and the company as we continue to grow for the future.

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