WLN – What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

I could say it’s the variety that comes with each day, but after the summer we’ve just had, it’s the aircon in my office!

Alan Hirst, Sales Director, Union Industries

WLN – Who’s inspired you most in your career?

It’s got to be our former owners Mr & Mrs ‘S’. I’ve never come across anyone with as much passion for business as they have.

WLN – If you were an item in a warehouse, what would you be?

A Union Industries door – reliable, trustworthy, and low maintenance.

WLN – If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?

Try to keep my hair a bit longer!

WLN – What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

At a photo shoot, my trousers split right open at the back when crouching down. The customer’s managing director was stood right behind!

WLN – Who or what makes you laugh?

Comedians? Jokes?

WLN – Do you have any hidden talents?

No – my talents are exposed for all to see! That said, I have been told I could win an Olympic medal if snoring was a sport.

WLN – Who would be your favourite party guest?

For a formal dinner party I’d say Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg or Barack Obama. At a banging party with dancing and music, though, I’d choose Prince Harry, Elton John or Holly Willoughby!

WLN – What is the greatest luxury in your life?

Probably my watch. I like a nice watch.

WLN – What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

Erm, full on exposure here… Disney films!

WLN – Do you have any secret ambitions?

I certainly do, but none that I can say as they are ‘secret’!

WLN – What’s your dream holiday destination?

I am actually taking one of my dream holidays this year – a tour around Australia!

WLN – What are your three favourite movies of all time?

Star Wars (the original), Toy Story 1 and, of course, Forrest Gump.

WLN – What is your favourite book of all time?

Schindler’s List. The film is good, but the book is far better.

WLN – What’s your favourite pastime?

Apart from spending time with family and friends, it’s probably running. I completed the Great North Run for the tenth time this September in memory of Paul Chable, a Technical Sales Engineer at Union who sadly passed away earlier this year. So I’m raising money in his memory: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alan -hirst1

WLN – If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

Buy a new house and car, go on holiday, and make sure friends and family are looked after. Oh, and buy a new watch.

WLN – What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into the industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

Think about what you are offering and ask yourself: “Is there something better out there?” If there is, then that’s where you should aspire to be. Don’t settle for second best.


If you don’t know Union Industries, take a look at our website: www.unionindustries.co.uk. Even though we have a long history in fabric engineering, our core business is of course the design, manufacture, installation & after-sales service of industrial rapid roller doors. Many of our older customers know us as ‘Matadoor’, simply because this was the first door model we launched on the market nearly 30 years ago, with some of the early doors still going strong. In 2014, we became an Employee Owned business, so the 70 or so people here at Union Industries are mployeeshareholders.

To take part in Quote Unquote please call: 01923 272960 or email: james@warehousenews.co.uk