News from ISSBA
Friday, 09 November 2018 10:36

Member of the Month - November 2018

Our November Member of the Month is Mike Bernard. He shares his fascinating journey from early career, travelling the world and then becoming an Independent Distributor for Utility Warehouse.

Mike Bernard 1I was born and went to school in North London, attended university in Wales, then did teachers’ training but didn’t like it. I’m now an independent distributor working with Utility Warehouse, but I came here the long way round… 

Working life began when I joined Readers’ Digest as a Trainee Computer Programmer, then spent nine years with a container shipping company called OCL. After a spot of consultancy and IT work for the Inland Revenue and a London bank, I ended up back with OCL (then called P & O Containers).

Then the serious travelling began. I became a Project Manager; my first project covered Le Havre, Rotterdam and Hamburg, and the next required a short trip to Jeddah, Singapore, Korea, The Philippines and Dubai. 

I was then asked to manage a team based in Delhi. My analyst and I were the first visitors from P&O to the company in Delhi, so received star treatment, including our own villa with two houseboys and a chauffeur. But please ask me to tell you about the time I was kidnapped on an elephant!  

After two trips to Hong Kong, I was given a one-year secondment to New Jersey to manage the implementation of a new IT system covering the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. 

I asked my girlfriend Bee Bee to join me in New Jersey. Our landlord and next-door neighbour was the mayor, and he conducted the marriage ceremony in our home. Then soon after returning home our son Nicolas arrived. 

Following my next project in Santiago, I was given teams to manage in London, Manchester, Sydney and Wellington, and we all lived in Sydney for 6 months.Mike Bernard 2

After P&O, I did three NHS contracts, a Local Government Project and a BBC contract. But Nicolas was getting bigger and London isn’t ideal for a teenager, so we needed to decide where to go. We spent summer 2009 comparing various towns and cities and Ipswich ticked the most boxes. So we moved there in 2010. 

Outside of work, my interests are playing guitar and playing tennis – I’m men’s captain for my tennis club. I foolishly try to help Nicolas with his A level studies and when I feel even more masochistic I watch Tottenham Hotspur. I’m fanatical about personal development, so I read personal development books and get regular coaching.

How did I get to be a Utility Warehouse distributor? Because I read the Which? magazine regularly, I knew that I wanted UW to provide our services. So I gave them a ring. I’d never heard of a distributor but the bloke who took the call was very helpful. The contracts had dried up because of our new location and I needed to get to know some people in Suffolk. So that’s how I came to do what I’m doing now.

Mike Bernard 3Utility Warehouse is a discount club established in 1997 that saves £millions by never advertising, using the money to give members a better service for a lower price. They have won over 25 awards from Which? Magazine, including Utilities Company of the Year 2018. They provide one bill for all services and all their staff are UK based. 

If you would like to know whether you can save money and get a better service, or earn extra income without affecting your regular business, ask me for a 15-minute meeting by calling me on 01473 809751 or emailing mikebernard@utilitywarehouse.org.uk. You can then decide whether it’s right for you.

I don’t have a ‘day-job’ and people who know me well call me a perfectionist so I’m very happy to give you all the time and help you need.