Last Updated on 31 October 2022.
The WFP family are delighted to announce that our Founding Director, Paul, is a shortlisted finalist for ‘SME Business Leader of the Year’ at the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards!
Sponsored by Barclays, this prestigious award is the world’s largest celebration of veterans in second careers.
Launched in 2018, the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards demonstrates how military skills and values help to enable business success.
Our director, Paul, said when he found out about his finalist position:
“When I reflect on the comradery I had with my old shipmates, it reminds me of the importance of teamwork, which is an important framework for building any business.
“You don’t realise how much of an impact being in the Forces has on you until you look back and appreciate the resilience it’s given you.
“I’m incredibly proud to have served in the Royal Navy, and for this huge honour to have been shortlisted for Business Leader of the Year. Thank you!”
The award ceremony and announcement of the winner will be at Grosvenor House in Mayfair, London on 8th September 2022.
When we think of leaders, we think of Paul…
A little bit of background about our Founding Director and this year’s ‘Business Leader of the Year’ finalist…
Paul started in the Navy in 1986 as a young man looking for purpose, and what better character-building could a young person starting out have asked for?
Paul joined the fire-fighting team in the Navy and it was here that he realised he had a real interest in fire safety.
Following leaving the Navy, and working for a few leading names in the fire alarm manufacturing world, he decided to set up shop on his own.
Paul largely puts that bold decision down to his experience in the Navy, which gave him the determination to soldier on through all of the teething problems and learning curves that inevitably come through starting up your own business.
He knew all too well that answers don’t just arrive, but come through getting your hands dirty, reading many points of view, listening and learning from people in all walks of life, and also being able to get up when you’ve been knocked down a peg or two.
Paul called it ‘WFP’ because at the time when he started the business back in 2003, the niche in our industry with wireless fire alarms, which he wanted to innovatively tap into. Therefore ‘Wire-Free Protection’ was born.
Nearly 20 years on, Paul’s innovative muscle and determination is still going strong with the recent expansion of our business to include an electrical division, offering futureproofing electric vehicle charging point installations, sustainable LED lighting upgrades, down to your regular obligatory electrical testing.
This expansion was during the pandemic when everyone questioned his decision to invest in a new arm for the business, rather than pocketing that money for the rainy day that had come for us all.
Paul’s unwavering belief in his own vision is already paying off with a division that just two years in is proving to be a titan next to its 18-year-old sister company.
Paul is innovative, inspirational and a true leader.
It doesn’t matter what background you come from, you’ll be a fire safety nerd in no time and, what’s more, you’ll want to be.
Mere exposure to his knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm about this ever-evolving industry is what makes everyone admire his ethos, methods and business style.
It’s a real winner for our customers because they know they’re working with people who are truly invested in the nuts and bolts of what makes up a building’s safety infrastructure; and when you know someone believes in what they do, you know they’re going to do the job right, and make you feel great whilst they’re doing it.
WFP might be an SME, but because of our reputation and the customer-centred, employee-focused culture Paul’s nurtured (and continues to nurture), we’re taking business away from some of the biggest names in the industry.
Behind us sits a modest team of 17, not 1,700, but people regularly comment on us having the polished aesthetic of a larger, cohesive brand (well, we definitely are cohesive).
Paul’s leadership shines through more than just because of his years of experience in the fire and security industry, and more than just because of how he treats his customers and his team members.
Paul’s wife, Mel, spent three years on the waiting list for a heart transplant, having lived with heart issues pretty much her whole life. Finally in 2021, Mel got her new heart, which followed with various complications and invasive treatments to ensure her body would take to this foreign organ that is ultimately designed to give her a new lease of life.
Juggling two daughters and a business, Paul cared for his wife; trekking back and forth to Papworth in Cambridge for Mel’s visits, changing her bandages and offering hands-on support when Mel needed it most, and so much more that no one will really ever know or appreciate – all whilst never failing to be his usual chirpy self when he makes it back to the office.
Their daughters and chosen family at WFP marvel at both Mel’s resilience and Paul’s tenacity to run a successful, growing business alongside all of these personal feats.
Having your team’s back is something Paul knows all too well about from his Navy days, and that influence definitely permeates through to the ethos and culture he strives for in his business.
Looking to the future…
One of our key objectives, spearheaded by Paul, is to encourage more women into the fire, security, and electrical industry.
Our entire Service Desk team is made up of women, as is 50% of our management team. We are attending more careers fairs to raise awareness of this sector and hope to attract women across our engineering division, too.
We also want to become the most environmentally aware fire, security, and electrical company, which will in turn help solidify us as a top choice for helping businesses adapt to the Electrical Revolution with EV charging points to future-proof their premises.
…And not forgetting our constant endeavours to maintain and outdo ourselves in training our engineers, and customer service to become the highest reviewed local, non-franchised fire, security and electrical team in our region.