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The 2019 leading men of Surrey

PUBLISHED: 12:24 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:28 10 May 2019

aklionka/Getty Images/iStockphoto

aklionka/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Surrey men mean business! Here, we turn the spotlight on some of our county's most successful - and discover what it is that makes them tick

Dr. Hashir Aazh PhD - Hashir Tinnitus Clinic

Tell us about your company

I offer assessment and therapy for adults and children experiencing tinnitus, hyperacusis, misophonia, and auditory imagery (musical tinnitus).

What inspires you?

It is very rewarding to help people to gain confidence in managing their tinnitus and noise intolerance successfully and lead their normal life. I also enjoy researching the underlying process in which tinnitus might lead to insomnia, depression and poor quality of life in adults and children. My recent research in collaboration with University of Cambridge and Florida Atlantic University (USA) illustrates significant improvements in tinnitus-related distress, insomnia, and tinnitus-related anxiety and depression symptoms following a specialised cognitive therapy focused on tinnitus and sound intolerance management. Parts of this study have been published in International Journal of Audiology and American Journal of Audiology 2018.

What does an average work day look like for you?

I help a wide range of patients. For example, a 6-year old with hyperacusis who couldn't tolerate classroom noises, hand dryers, etc. This created unnecessary stress which hampered her progress in school and impacted her self-confidence. Or an 80-year old that was treated after the sudden onset of severe tinnitus which was both frightening and disabling for him. He felt that the therapy sessions were a lifeline in helping him to get his life back on track.

1 Farnham Road, Guildford GU2 4RG; 01483 362622

Richard Hawes - Elizabeth Finn Homes Limited

Tell us about your company?

Elizabeth Finn Homes operates ten care homes for older people across England and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the charity Turn2us. Since their inception, Elizabeth Finn Homes have been run to the highest of standards, providing exceptional care for the individual through the provision of industry-leading personalised care; employing the best people; and having a constant regard for the quality of the homes and their facilities.

Who/What inspires you?

A Registered Nurse by background, I started working as a care assistant over 30 years ago. Seeing those who are having troubled times and yet maintaining a positive outlook inspires and motivates me to provide exceptional individual care for those in need.

What's the key to achieving work/life balance?

No matter how much you love your job, ultimately you need to be able to "turn off'. This is hard for a lot of people, because their work is an important part of who they are. Make a conscious decision to become balanced, allocate sufficient time to complete priority tasks, take breaks, make use of annual holidays to recharge, use technology to work smarter, not getting involved in work place politics.

Virgina Water, Haslemere, Reigate; 0208 8349200

Adam Flint - Porsche Centre Guildford

Tell us about your company?

I am the Centre Principal at Porsche Centre Guildford, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG. We have five retail sites in and around London. We supply circa 650 new units and 350 pre-owned units per year.

What's the secret to your success?

Trust and honesty. Here at Porsche we have faith and complete trust in our staff. We allow our people to have autonomy to lead, inspire and motivate to the highest possible level ensuring that the customer is at the heart of everything we do.

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

I have lived and worked in Surrey for 20 years. It is so unique in many ways, it is close enough to London to travel to but far enough away to relax! It has also become a great place for businesses to flourish with an ever growing infrastructure, growing population and great diversity within its demographic.

Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford GU1 1BD; 01483 494084

Fred Zandona - Artizan Interiors Limited

What's the secret to your success?

It has taken a lot of hard work and perseverance with a bit of stubbornness thrown in to get us to where we are. Surrounding yourself with a good team while knowing yours and their strengths and weaknesses as well as having good communication all throughout the team.

What's the key to achieving work/life balance?

For me it's trying not to take the work home. It's important to separate work and home life as much as I can, or I feel as I'm always at work. Having young children helps with this as they take up most of my spare time!

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

For us Surrey offers such a great variety of people, towns and villages with a large spectrum of house prices allowing us to pitch to all levels. Having a large demographic to work with means we aren't pigeon holed into offering one level of product.

115 Guildford Street, Chertsey KT16 9AS; 01932 640019 


Alex Zandona - Artizan Interiors Limited

What's the secret to your success?

I don't think success has too many secrets, most of it comes from hard work and a thick skin. We pride ourselves on knowledge and professionalism, there are a lot of people in the kitchen industry that rely on sales tactics, but our approach is to always try to offer the best design, product and service.

Who/What inspires you?

My Dad has always inspired me, he was very successful in business but always put his family first so as children we were able to spend a lot of time together. At work and in life he has always acted honourably and with grace, honesty and integrity is as important to me as it is to him.

What does business look like for you post-Brexit?

Our business model is essentially importing kitchens from Europe and selling them in the UK. A no deal Brexit could dramatically affect what we do. Our aim is continue regardless and make it work, our plan b is to look at other markets such as China but our German kitchens are the best in the world, anything else would be a step back.

115 Guildford Street, Chertsey KT16 9AS; 01932 640019

Alistair Burtenshaw - Watts Gallery

Tell us about your charity?

We are an arts charity dedicated to the art and ideals of G F and Mary Watts. Our vision is: to be an international centre for mid-19th to early 20th-century art, social history, craft, design and architecture; to provide an enriching experience that celebrates artistic excellence by partnering with artists; to use the art and ideas of G F and Mary Watts to enable equality of opportunity through the arts; and to transform lives through our Art for All Learning and Outreach Programme.

What does an average work day look like for you?

Helped by a dedicated staff and team of volunteers, my day can shift between tasting our Tea Shop's new seasonal menu to confirming the long-term

strategic objectives for the year ahead -the latter to make sure that the charity has a financially viable future and continues to carry out its impactful learning and outreach programme.

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

If you had visited us some 15 years ago you would have found a different place to the one you enjoy today. Thanks to Surrey residents and businesses supporting our transformation, visionary funders and donors investing in our future, and the authorities of the county taking an enlightened approach the site has been saved for the nation and now works hard to continually give back to the region. That for me makes Surrey a great place to do business.

Down Lane, Compton, Guildford GU3 1DQ; 01483 810235

Eddie Powell - The Sculpture Park

Tell us about your company?

The Sculpture Park was founded in 2001 when Eddie bought 10 acres of undeveloped land. Along with his team of local art students, sons Charlie and Oscar and long term employee Nick Ruffe, he landscaped the site to create an extraordinary garden and outdoor gallery. Sculptures, trees and plants were positioned and The Sculpture Park was born. Opening to the public in April 2003, it now welcomes over 30,000 visitors a year. Art collectors, families, photographers and schools all come to purchase unique pieces or marvel at the eclectic mix of art. This gives local, national and global sculptors a much needed opportunity to be recognised and appreciated.

What's the key to achieving work/life balance?

Eddie is not sure he would profess to having achieved such a thing. When not curating The Sculpture Park or Miscellanea of Churt (his other business) Eddie will be found scouring the country for the next exciting object or unusual artefact, accompanied by his loyal canine companion Dennis (Healey).

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

The enthusiasm and support towards art from the discerning Surrey residents, their guests, and other visitors to the area.

Corner of Jumps & Tilford Road, Churt, Farnham, Surrey; 01428 605453

Ricardo Pena - Coffee Gems, Artisan Roasters

Tell us about your company?

The Coffee Gems story, in part, began where yours also began - with a love for coffee and the creative spaces it naturally produces. My love for coffee, however, goes back further, to the beautiful green hills in a southern Columbian region named Huila. I grew up in here on my grandparent's estate and with a sparkle of happiness I remember when the coffee plantations bloomed, dressing the fields in white, with scents of jasmine; or when my grandma roasted coffee in a copper pot, invading the house with a unique fragrance that seduced and overwhelmed my senses. Today this fragrance still conjures up my happy childhood.

What inspires you?

Here I am with my much-loved roaster in Farnham, my years of experience in the coffee industry and inspired by the light and energy of those who look for the perfect cup of coffee, and the hope of those who try to leave this world a little better than they found it. I started this adventure with those same feelings.

What's the secret to your success?

My passion and my mastery! To source the best possible coffee beans, roast them to perfection and delight coffee lovers with exceptional flavours!

20 Riverside Court, Farnham GU9 7UG; 07538 635533

Simon Whalley - Birtley House Nursing Home

Tell us about your company?

Birtley House Group was founded in 1932 as Eyhurst Court Ltd by my grandfather, Dr Lloyd Driver. It is therefore probably the oldest nursing home still run by the founding family. The business moved to Birtley House in 1945 and provides full nursing care for up to 47 residents, plus 8 supported living apartments in an exceptionally beautiful rural estate of 48 acres. The grounds support a wide range of craft and outdoor adventure activities which adds to the wide range of interests for the residents.

What's the secret to your success?

Creativity, Community & Continuity. Successful businesses in the care sector have to foresee market developments and respond with creative energy. They also need to engage actively with their communities and demonstrate that they are secure for the long term. My parents and grandparents instilled these ideals into me at an early age.

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

Surrey is easily accessible and the Surrey Hills are inspirational. We are very lucky to have so much natural beauty on our doorstep and yet be close to the centre of our national economy.

Birtley House, Bramley GU5 OLB; 01483 892055

Chris Chapman - GlucoRx

What's the secret to your success?

I think a combination of things have contributed to where I am now. These are determination, respect, transparency and not taking no for an answer. From a young age I knew I wanted to succeed in business, but along the way I've treated everyone with respect and been open and honest. It's really important to me to never look down on anyone, unless you're helping them up.

Who/What inspires you?

I have always been fascinated with Sir Winston Churchill. I felt he was a victorious leader whose speeches - even now - are incredibly inspirational. He had a zest and curiosity for life, which is something we could all learn from. I would love to understand what his vision

was for the NHS and how it compares to what it looks like 70 years later. I would also be very interested to get his take on Brexit and the Royal Navy today.

What's the key to achieving work/life balance?

For me it's quite simple. When I'm at work, I work and when I'm at home, I don't. In order to continue being good at my job, I give it 100 per cent when sat at my desk. But equally, it's important to have down time. I value my family and make no apology for turning off the work phone at weekends and spending good, quality time with them all. This gives me the time I need to recharge, so come Monday morning I'm raring to go again.

10 Henley Business Park, Pirbright Road, Guildford GU3 2DX; 01483 755133

Simon Essex - The Patio Black Spot Removal Co Ltd

Tell us about your company?

The Patio Black Spot Removal Company was established in 2011 to provide an answer to the frequently asked question, "How do I remove those hideous black spots ruining the look of my garden stonework?" In the last 15 years, with the trend towards alfresco dining, homeowners have invested small fortunes in Natural Stone terraces and patios, using Indian Sandstone, York Stone and Lime Stone. 'Wining and dining' has replaced the 'beer and burger' and the upkeep of the external areas are now as important as the inside. The speed of weathering and deterioration, caused by organic growth on the external areas, has come as a shock to many home owners.

What's the secret to your success?

The question of how to clean the stone safely and effectively, without destroying with a pressure washer, has caused confusion. The Patio Black Spot Removal System is a unique DIY product in that it both safely restores and maintains, without the need to constantly pressure wash, providing a better than professional performance.

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

As a place to do business, Surrey embraces the above attributes, and provides a perfect base for our particular market niche product.

Birch 1, Greenhills Rural Trading Estate, Tilford GU10 2DZ; 01252 702123

Nik Pancholi - Gregory & Seeley Optometrists

Tell us about your company?

Gregory & Seeley is an award winning independent optical practice based in the heart of Cranleigh in Surrey. We are committed to quality, value, and personal service, offering private and NHS eye care using the latest clinical diagnostic equipment. Established in 1910, we have a fantastic reputation for offering our patients individual care in a friendly, relaxed environment.

What's the secret to your success?

We have an amazing team who really care about our business. Collectively we have over 122 years of service between just seven employees! We truly do believe keeping our staff happy has helped our business thrive. Providing excellence in clinical care has always been part of our ethos, i believe this ability to differentiate ourselves from most high street opticians has really helped us to stand out. We also travel far and wide to many optical trade shows sourcing the latest in eyewear fashion, we love eyewear!

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

Our customers provide loyal, wholehearted support to local, independent businesses including ours, which is invaluable. They also realise and appreciate the level of service we provide, and over the years many patients have become a part of the G&S family! The local community spirit and our sense of belonging in Cranleigh is what is truly outstanding about doing business in Surrey.

129 High Street, Cranleigh GU6 8AU; 01483 272629

Paul Squires - Finsbury Media

Tell us about your business?

I work at Finsbury Media a Google Premier Agency based in Guildford. We help companies throughout the UK win more new business using online advertising and SEO. Although we are just five years old we have won many prestigious awards and are proud to be recognised as one of the fastest growing performance agencies in the UK.

What are your plans for 2019?

Things are very exciting at the moment - we have seen unparalleled growth year on year, and as a result we are opening our second office in Guildford very soon. We are attending many industry events in 2019.

What is the secret of your success?

There are no shortcuts in business; the real secret is hard work, determination and offering a product or service that is world class. We have the best technology available and a passionate team of experts working behind the scenes to exceed our clients' expectations. It's our business to grow our clients business. I truly believe that.

Jeffries House, Jeffries Passage, Guildford GU1 4AP; 01483 608859

Garry Milner - Milners

Tell us about your company?

A family business built on hard work and honesty founded 30 years ago. Together with a dedicated team of long term staff we supply and fit all types of retail and commercial flooring, soft furnishings and more recently furniture, from our two superb Ashtead showrooms. We offer quality solutions at competitive prices and are proud to be the largest Amtico dealer in the South of England. We have also recently opened a large bespoke in-house wood area.

What's the secret to your success?

Our great team of staff. Commitment to customers and continued investment in the business. We look to build relationships with all our customers, many of whom have evolved from customer to friend. The majority of our work comes from recommendations. It's a very rewarding job. Developing the business through quality core values enables us to offer genuine lifetime fitting guarantees and keeps us relevant in an ever-changing market place.

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

I have lived in Surrey my whole life, people are genuinely nice. I enjoy the Ashtead life and have built a supportive local business network which I really value and regularly tap into; keeping things local and personal.

40 The Street, Ashtead KT21 2AH; 01372 271871

Keith Whittington - White & Sons

Tell us about your company?

Established in 1817 we are an award winning independent estate agent with offices in Reigate, Dorking, Horley and Oxted. The firm is a forward thinking business which uses cutting edge technology backed by over 200 years of experience. We offer a range of property expertise unequalled by any local firm.

What does business look like for you post-Brexit?

The property market is one which is influenced by rhetoric and sound bites, so Brexit will understandably bring some caution. Regardless of the outcome, the fundamentals of the market remain. There are first time buyers looking to secure their first home, families looking to upsize, empty nesters looking to downsize and people relocating overseas.

What makes Surrey such a great place to do business?

It is simply stunning. We are so lucky to be surrounded by vast amounts of green space, but equally the coast and London are less than an hour away. The diverse nature of property stock in the area is immense, so too is the history surrounding some homes.

Reigate, Dorking, Horley and Oxted; 01883 712315

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