The concrete repair industry was in its infancy when Tony Geary joined Makers back in 1986. Armed with a City and Guilds qualification in plastering he was ideally placed to transfer his skills to those required to undertake concrete repairs.
Tony has been with Makers for 31 years and the guys on our Preston Bus Station Heritage site celebrated in style and presented Tony with a cake to mark the occasion.
Tony has seen many changes in the company and industry alike. We asked Tony to provide a few insights over his past 31 years.
Q. What?s the biggest change you have seen over that time?
A. ?We seem to have more time years ago, and more of a laugh on site and work seemed secondary. We worked in much bigger teams back then with the lads getting picked up at the Armarda Pub and off to work?
Q. How has the company changed over that time?
A. ?It was a young company back then and we were all learning on the job. It?s a lot more structured now with more paperwork and health and safety.
We worked mainly in the Birmingham area but now we cover the whole of the UK and I have been all over the country in my 31 years, probably because we have probably repaired most of the buildings in Birmingham already!?
Q. Who did you enjoy working with the most?
A. ?It would have to be Wayne Alexander. Apart from me he was the best repairer I ever worked with. He was a fabulous spread but we don?t see so much of that work much anymore.
Funnily Wayne left the industry to become a bingo caller as he didn?t like working in the cold.?
Q. What job gave you the most enjoyment?
They still look great today some 30 years on, but the bears have gone now.?
Q. When do you think you will stop work?
A. ?Never! I always want to be busy. I?m really fit for my age and will continue to work as long as I am healthy.?
Tony is one of the last real characters in the industry and is probably one of the fittest guys for his age. Tony puts his energy levels down to eating healthy food and running every week.
In any one particular year Tony will run at least 5 marathons and countless 10K events. He maintains his fitness with runs at the weekend and sometimes in the evening when working away, covering some 30 miles at the weekend weather permitting.
This has been a difficult year for Tony as well with the passing of his wife Paula Marie Geary from bowel cancer early in the year but he believes this has brought him closer to his two boys Paul 26 and Anthony 30.
Tony has always modelled himself on the Noel Edmunds look, ?porting designer stubble before it became fashionable! and has always disarmed people with a cheeky smile, a story and is always available for a beer.
Over 31 years you are bound to gather many stories and tales but Tony maintains he is a changed man from the renegade he was in his younger days, where the odd comment may have resulted in an exchange of opinion and maybe some slight physical provocation. Now he believes that verbally resolving issues is a more pragmatic approach.
?I have known Tony for 31 years and in that time, he has always tried to enlighten me with his wisdom. He has a genuine heart and is a transformed character from the guy I know in the late 90?s.
Tony always wears a cheeky smile which I?ve seen him get results and always has the best interests of the company at heart. He always has time for a conversation, sometimes too much, but he is an incredibly approachable guy.
I worked with Tony on the Isle of Wight but during a 3-day stint had to visit the mainland. I left site for 1 day and in that time on my return he knew everyone on site by their first name and all the names of their kids.
Tony is one in a million, he is exceptional for his age and looks the same now as he did in 1997, some might say he was old before his time but still with a full head of hair, a 32-inch waistline, earing and smile there are many half his age who can?t match him.
It?s people like Tony who make the industry and company so special and I am delighted to have known Tony for such a long time!?
Congratulations and many happy returns Tony from everyone at Makers.?
Simon Lamb, MD.