50 combined years at Johnsons, Jonathan Whittemore and Tony Coles

50 combined years at Johnsons, Jonathan Whittemore and Tony Coles

Congratulations to Jonathan Whittemore and Tony Coles who have reached a combined service of 50 years, see what they had to say about their time at Johnsons below:

Jonathan Whittemore

1.What was the date you started at Johnsons? 

2. What was your first position within the company? 

I came in as a management trainee – one of the first two -  I remember the interview process well; it was over two days and included meeting the whole board during the first afternoon, and then two interviews the following day.  Two highlights of that process were feeling completely out of my depth because I knew nothing about Leeds United and in one of the interviews I described bedding plant production as immoral!  I spent my first three months in the field at Endfield lifting and grading stock.

3. What have you enjoyed most during your 25 years at Johnsons?

I have always enjoyed the people at Johnsons – we are a good bunch - and the constant challenge that the company has been able to provide me has always given enjoyment, but mostly it is working for a company of which I am incredibly proud.

4. Greatest career achievement? 

If you speak to Dave Bramley he may say my greatest career achievement is still being here – he didn’t think I would last a month!  I am not sure there would be one single achievement and whilst I am still focused on developing the people and the areas for which I am responsible, I hope the best is yet to come.

5. Looking back, what's your favourite memory from your time here?

Managing the production unit at Roecliffe.  I loved being responsible for that unit and being in the heart of growing plants.

6. What do the next 25 years look like?

Crickey, don’t ask me that now!!  With Brexit on the Horizon, it looks incredibly challenging at the moment, and to be honest, until we can get Brexit done it is difficult to look too far into the future.

Tony Coles

1.How did you come about working for Johnsons?

I was working at Thorpe Tree at the time and I saw an advert in the local paper for a Sales Assistant and applied.  I remember being interviewed by Andrew and Steve Jones, and at one point they left me in Board Room with a typewriter to type a letter, one of the old metal clunky typewriters, how things have changed!

2. Tell us about your careers pre Johnsons:

I left school at 17 and followed my father’s footsteps and joined the Royal Navy and served 14 years, I was lucky enough to see a lot of the world, one of my Sons has also joined the RN so I am proud that 3 generations of my family have served.  I left he RN and moved up to Yorkshire with Sandra and got a part-time seasonal job at Thorpe Trees at Thorpe Underwood, before being taken on full time by the late Alistair Taylor, I was there about 1 year before I started at Johnsons of Whixley.

3. First position at johnsons?

Sales Assistant, in Amenity sales at that time there was only 3 of us, and quotes would normally arrive by post and sometimes fax.

4. What are you most grateful for during your career?

Looking back over my working life, being able to see the World whilst in Royal Navy has to be a highlight particularly 1 trip where we circumnavigated the globe visiting a variety of places.  Working at Johnsons has been a pleasure, to be still here after 25 years says it all really!

5. Most memorable day at Johnsons?

Some of the trips we take our customers on can get quite eventful, with customers let’s say, letting their hair down a bit!!!

6. How has the company changed over the years?

Wow! Massively – Everything from IT systems, Production, even sales. When I first started almost everything was paper-based, now we are using less paper, things have become more automated in lots of areas, and still evolving,  I think over the years the sales side has got a lot more demanding, we are dealing with a lot more customers, we are having to find a lot more variety of plants.  It’s great to see that some businesses are still going strong that have been using Johnsons for years, way before my time– Brambledown, S&S, Deerness (formerly Sones), Whitings. Plus I have certainly got greyer and have less hair!

Staff members Steven Green and Ian Nelson both reached 35 years service recently also, you can find out more about their time at Johnsons here

Posted 4th Dec 11:13am