Joe Hall, Relationship Manager in our print division, tells us more about his background and what it has taken to work through a pandemic…
Tell us about your work history?
I started working in Banking at 18 straight from college, after studying Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I worked for Yorkshire Bank for around 7 years in a variety of roles in retail and commercial banking. I then left Yorkshire Bank to do some travelling in Canada and the US.
Upon returning to the UK, I was offered a job as a National Business Development manager for a large print & finishing company. This is where I learned the basics of Print. After working at this job for around 12 months, I received a call from Close Brothers to discuss combining my Commercial Finance and Print experience into my current role. I have been with Close Brothers for 6 years now.
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your role?
Being involved in new equipment deals to enable a customer’s growth aspirations is hugely rewarding. While the most challenging aspect would be the workload. Since the introduction of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), we have been busier than ever. Every day starts with a “to do” list.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your industry specifically?
Covid-19 has hit many of my customers, some positively and some not so positively. I have a wide array of print and packaging customers, many supply the NHS or other essential businesses with PPE, signage, literature etc. Businesses who have been able to adapt their machinery and workforce seem to be finding some success.
However, it can’t be denied that social distancing measures and the effect that they have had on retail and hospitality has had a dramatic knock on effect to print businesses. Companies that rely heavily on leisure, hospitality and the events sector appear the hardest hit.
How have you and your team ensured the wellbeing of both staff and customers throughout lock down?
I’m part of a team of 4, within a larger team that makes up the Print Division. We keep in touch through a “lively” whatsapp group, regular phone calls and lots of running, walking & hiking.
What are your predictions for your industry for the next 12 months?
The next 12 months are hard to predict, assuming lockdown measures are eased in March, I would predict a strong “rebound” for the events and exhibitions industries as many events have been on hold now for the better part of a year – this demand never went away, it has just been bottled up for when the world re-opens.
I believe there will also be a recovery in commercial print as retail, bars and leisure venues re-open, although this will likely be more of a gradual recovery.