We all know you as John Haslam the Joint Managing Director of G . F Smith but who is John when he is not at work?
Fundamentally I am a fun-loving family guy who is happiest when everyone around me is happy. Family and friends are so important and my wife and I are always pulling people together to celebrate and party. I insist on a party every year to celebrate my birthday!! This year was tough for sure but we have adapted and always find time to smile and muck about.
For those that don’t know are you able to give me a summary of who G . F Smith is and what you do.
G . F Smith aspire to be The World’s most respected and remarkable fine paper company, I don’t think we will ever get to 10 out of 10 in everything we strive to achieve but whatever we do we will always bring creativity to life.
We create desire all over the World and have 28 global partners and sell to 108 individual countries. Paper is truly a passion within G . F Smith but our people are the beating heart that pumps the life into the passion. We are a Team and collectively we are happier to achieve 60% of our ambition if the whole Team is engaged and we all aim for the same vision. There is no room for superheroes but a chasm of space for passionate, hardworking, charismatic individuals who love working together.
For many univeristy students print and what materials you use aren’t talked about enough or are brushed over. How important is knowing about what materials you use?
Oh my goodness, students are the lifeblood of G . F Smith.
We travel the country and spend time with as many students as possible. Educating and inspiring them around the world of paper. But of course not every design student will work as a graphic designer; many will work in print production, illustration, photography, and some in print and paper. So, education about process and materials is extremely important. We will do more to help and it is paramount to our independent and dynamic future.
Paper will always be part of the picture.
As previously stated you work for G . F Smith. How did you get into this role?
I studied to become a design engineer, I wanted to build skyscrapers and bridges, I loved technical drawing and precision detail. Alas, the computer took all that away overnight. After I was made redundant I spent the summer of 1985 working in the G . F Smith warehouse. After the summer an office junior role became available and from then on I had set my career goal. In fact, I remember telling the MD at the time that I wanted his job, which was in response to the question “How did I see my career progressing ?”
For my final question, what is next for John Haslam?
I get very excited by new opportunities and I love big, bold, adventurous ideas, ideas that change momentum and disrupt the normal.
To fulfill our drive to become the World’s most respected and remarkable fine paper company we have to keep evolving, before the Covid pandemic I think we were 7.6 out of 10 and as we slowly emerge out the other side I feel we are 7.8 out of 10. We have learnt so much about the future we must create and develop and now we need to take control and continue the relentless drive and ambition.
Plus, as a sideline, I have started my microbrewery! The Straight Six Brewery. Something to keep the creative brain ignited in times of silence.