Healthcare Director Omar Beggs who celebrates 25 years of service with colleagues from the Whale Gulper production area who make pumps for the Pumped Shower Drainage Systems (PSDS) market
1. Hometown: Ilminster Somerset is where I live now. My heart however remains in Ballypalady in the centre of County Antrim, Ireland, where I had my idyllic childhood years on a small farmstead.
2. Time with Whale: 25 years. I started in April 1993
3. What was your first role at Whale? Within engineering working with the new Gulper pump as it was then. My role was to assist in the transfer of the product from engineering to the sales and marketing team acting as a facilitator.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your current role? This is mostly about finding ways to create value for the Pumped Shower Drainage Systems (PSDS) product for our customers. Shower drainage systems for the uninitiated is where a pump kit is used to drain water from a shower. This is necessary in apartment blocks where it is not possible to drain water through the floor. Our pump sucks the water from a shallow gulley in the floor through small bore pipework. Success for PSDS is a combination of meeting customer needs, having a reliable product which is easy to install married with strong customer support. Back in the 90s, the product was a pump on a wall with an on/off transformer. While the product was functional and extremely reliable, it was noisy with air being sucked through the shower gulley. Over the years we have focused on improving noise levels . Today we manufacture Whale’s quietest pump systems yet. We are fortunate in having loyal installers who readily work with us to prove any new product ideas. This has enabled us to bring proven ideas to the market without using customers as guinea pigs. More recently YouTube has helped us reach more users and installers to let them know about our products and how to maintain them. I enjoy this challenge of continuously making product and service improvements that keep PSDS as the leading shower drainage product.
5. What do you like most about working in Whale? The people. There is a strong comradery within Whale where daily, mutual support is provided without question to enable us all to achieve the objectives of the business. It is a privilege working for a brand symbolising quality and customer care.
6. What do you enjoy most about your job? Meeting our customers and helping satisfy the needs of both the end users and the installers who fit our product. What motivates me is enabling our elderly or disabled users to have independence and remain in their own homes.
7. What is your most memorable Whale moment? Having toasted soda’s on a Saturday morning in the old Whale canteen on Old Belfast road. This was at the morning production break when there was a Saturday shift. While visiting customers over the years this has taken me from central London social housing blocks to the Royal Crown estates. A particular memory is being paid for a service visit by the girlfriend of an oligarch.
8. What is your greatest achievement? Helping to develop our pumped shower drainage offering to become one of the recognised divisions within Whale. A more recent milestone is breaking through £4m in revenue.
9. What are your interests outside work? I like to cycle on a Saturday morning. This I do alone for a few hours through the lanes and quiet roads around Ilminster. As it is Somerset the hills are small. It is always a special pleasure to arrive home after a week at work to the list of jobs that my wife has created. Only known to a few is that I also possess a collection of antique hammers which were used in former times across a spectrum of industries ranging from ship building to railways to furniture making.
10. Where is your favourite place in the world? Cortona Italy. A hilltop town in Tuscany Italy. Famous for its Etruscan museum which has an amazing display of items from this ancient civilization. Fantastic views over the valley below to Lake Trasimemo. Great local wines (Montepulciano and Montalcino are a few kilometres away). The food.
11. What could you not live without? Milk. Before Whale, I spent several years in the merchant navy and while on-board ship we had to survive on UHT milk. This remains a lasting memory as I hate the taste of UHT milk.
12. Tell us an interesting fact: Each Gulper pump uses carbon brushes to drive the motors. These wear down over time and have an expected life of approximately 1000 hours. Fortunately most people only shower for 7 minutes a day so for the shower pump this gives a life of more than 20 years. Did you know that over 300,000 shower drainage kits are installed in the UK? Our product is used in all the major conurbations in Great Britain.