HUMBLE APPRENTICE TO entrepreneur
Published by Memoirs
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Copyright ÂŠTerry Warren, December 2012 The moral right of Terry Warren to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 First published in England, December 2012 Book jacket design Ray Lipscombe ISBN 978-1-909544-08-6 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of Memoirs. Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct when going to press, we do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. The views expressed in this book are purely the authorâ€˜s.
Printed in England
Contents 9 Foreword Chapter 1
The early years, 1943-1964
Marriage number 1, to Tina
Production engineering, 1970 to 1974
Marriage number 2, to Lorraine
Project management, 1979-1981
Marriage number 3, to Janet
PMP - the early years
Project Management Institute
Marriage number 4, to Susan
Horse racing and breeding
PMPL and Aikona
Michelle and Michael
9 I decided to write this autobiography at the ripe old age of 69, as I have had a very full life, before Alzheimerâ€™s sets in. The book is written from my own personal viewpoint and I have left several personal juicy memories out, as it has been written primarily for my children. Writing it has been quite therapeutic, and I have had to return to change chapters as I have remembered more. My life has changed, thanks to Parkinsonâ€™s disease. I now rely heavily on my wife Susan for my daily wellbeing. Luckily, a friend, David Chenkin, introduced me to Dragon Naturally Speaking, which types these words for me. We recently went on a Saga cruise, and I realised then that there are many more people worse off than me, so life goes on, and maybe there are more chapters left in me yet. I hope you find my ramblings interesting.
9 THE EARLY YEARS, 1943-1964
I was born on 18 August 1943 at the North Middlesex Hospital during an air raid. My parents were fairly mature, both being nearly 40 when I was born. They had previously lost a child at birth, so I was very welcome. My fatherâ€™s name was Frederick Thomas Walter Warren and my mother was
Warren. Our family home was at 3 Bromley Road, Edmonton,
terraced three-bedroom house in the suburbs of London. We rented the ground floor, while the upstairs was occupied by the DeRosas, who had a daughter, Susan. Mum and Dad
I remember very little about the early years, but suffice to say it was a happy time. The nearest I came to involvement in the war was when I was thrown under a hedge as doodlebugs landed. My mother was one of 13 children. I never met most of them, but I do remember my Auntie Violet, who lived at Rye House, Hoddesdon, with my mother’s mother, Elizabeth. What wonderful days out they were on the Green Line bus Me aged two
down the A10.
My Auntie Violet had a son, John Bex, a big man whom I admired greatly. He unfortunately died in his fifties. My father’s family lived near the Arsenal football stadium at Finsbury Park. They were quite old when I got to know them, the stepdad having only one arm. There was also an uncle Artie, who was a Barnardo’s child, and my dad’s sister, who had two children, Clifford, a postman, and a younger son called Dennis. Clifford too died young and I lost contact with them all. My only memories of this were when they went round the pub and I was left outside sitting in the alcove with a bag of crisps. Funny things, memories!
My father, who had been an amateur athletic road walker in his younger days, was a signalman at Bayford railway station and was therefore not called up for the war. Eventually he became a bus conductor, based at Tramway Avenue in Edmonton. My mother kept herself busy with part-time jobs to supplement the family income. Eventually
parents bought the house, the DeRosas moved out and I had my own bedroom. The house had a big garden with four trees, which I remember climbing for
dropping the apples and pears on to my Auntie Viâ€™s head. At the age of five I started at Silver Street Junior School, Me aged five which was a short walk from home. I took my Eleven Plus there with the help of my mentor, Mr Graves, fondly called Bisto, and passed with a first choice to Edmonton County Grammar School. Boy, was my dad proud. He just wanted me to get an education, something he never had.
I spent six years at grammar school, finishing with six GCSEs at ordinary level. I was a B grade student and a B grade sportsman, but it was an excellent grounding. I was not bright enough for university, so at the age of 17, I decided upon a four-year apprenticeship with Standard Telephones and Cables, which was a huge concern based at New Southgate. I remember my first weekly wages £4.50. The apprenticeship, which was in design draughtsmanship, was marvellous, giving me various periods at each stage of the manufacturing process. They gave me day release to do my National Certificate. These were marvellous times, the apprentices were very powerful and “foreigners”, that is making pieces for one’s own use, were the order of the day. I made lots of friends, though I lost touch with them as life progressed. At the end of the four-year period they offered me a job as a design draughtsman at £700 a year, which I declined. It was here, when I was 19 years old, that I met the girl who would become my first wife, Tina. Before Tina many girls came and went. I learned to dance at Charlie Brown’s School of Dancing and spent many a happy evening at the Royal Tottenham, where I met my first real girlfriend, Jean Antrobus. She left me for another as I wasn’t willing to go all the way! In those days, caution was the word. During my apprenticeship I needed to be mobile and graduated from a Lambretta scooter to a 600cc Norton motorbike, which accounts for the scars on my face, which were caused when I came off it, hitting a car head on.
Eventually the need to drive a car caught up with me and I solved this by joining the Territorial Army, a tank transporter regiment based in Barnet, for two years. Not only did they teach me to drive, they allowed me to drive tank transporters at the weekend and during two-week camp periods. Once again, some marvellous memories. I was up and running and confident, and took a new job with Medical Electronics as a chief draughtsman (the one and only draughtsman, in fact), at ÂŁ1000 per annum. I then proposed to Tina.
9 MARRIAGE NUMBER 1, TO TINA
Tina Whelpton was a pretty girl, two years younger than me, who worked at STC as a comptometer operator. We got on pretty well during courtship as she had already left home and was living in a rented flat with a Canadian girl. She did not get on very well with her mother, Peggy, who was a widow three times over and had numerous boyfriends. I talked her into going home to live with her mother until we were to marry in 1964. I always remember the conversation with my father, who disagreed with me getting married so early after qualifying, in which I told him “Two can live as cheaply as one”. He was right to disagree. We had a church wedding and a brief honeymoon in a caravan at Clacton. I now rented my first home, a four-bedroom flat in Winchmore Hill. Tina became pregnant very quickly, but she soon became very ill. It turned out to be an ovarian cyst, and she had the ovary removed. She never worked again during our marriage. My father’s words were coming home to haunt me!
She was never a well girl, having had one kidney removed during childhood. The pregnancy survived and we continued with married life, albeit under financial pressure. I was continuing with my National Certificate in the evenings three times a week, and this, together with the new job and Tinaâ€™s illness, brought up the inevitable pressure on living. Tina had problems settling as a housewife, always doing far too much for health reasons, and eventually she succumbed to high blood pressure and toxaemia. The baby was born at 28 weeks in the North Middlesex Hospital. We called her Julie. She lived for two days. I registered the birth and death at the same time; it was heartbreaking for both of us. On professional advice I was told to remove all the things we had planned for her from the house. I was advised that Julie should be buried with somebody else, and therefore there is no grave. This was all bad advice, as Tina never saw her baby and was unable to mourn her passing. We settled down to married life again, but it was never the same. This loss had a profound effect on Tina and she started having psychological problems, thinking the baby was talking to her. It eventually culminated in her spending a year in a series of mental hospitals. Our marriage was under threat from then on, and at this stage I decided to go it alone and take up an offer from Boeing Aircraft Company in the USA as a production engineer. I emigrated to Seattle, travelling via New York on the Queen Mary. When I said
goodbye to my mum and dad, little did I know it was the last time I would see my father. I set up home in Seattle and was there only two weeks when the news came through of my father’s death, on March 17 1968. He died of pneumonia with a weakened heart, at only 64 years old. I had no choice but to return home, using up all the expenses money Boeing had paid me, over £1000 and worth far more in those days than it would be now. I buried my dad at Enfield crematorium. His nickname was Bunny and he was well loved. The place was full for the funeral and they stopped the buses on the way as a mark of respect. Life is funny. I was now back living with my mother, and within a few weeks Tina reappeared, looking lovely and back to her old self. We decided to give it another try and on March 19th 1969 my daughter Michelle Jane Warren arrived. She too was born in the North Middlesex Hospital, but this time by caesarean section. I now had to find both a job and somewhere to live, and found that having two women in the same house doesn’t work. It was about this time that I got introduced to bookmaking, working in Hector MacDonald’s settling bets at the weekend for pin money. In the week I took several contract vacancies as a production engineer at General Motors, Wilkinson Sword and EMI Electronics. For somewhere to live we took a co-ownership maisonette in Upper Norwood, near Croydon, South London. Life was peaceful, but Tina was still not well. She was diagnosed as an acute schizophrenic with severe mood swings.
By this time I was a qualified production engineer and in 1970 this helped me get a job with Ferranti in Bracknell, Berkshire.
In Croydon with Michelle
9 PRODUCTION ENGINEERING, 1970-1974
Ferranti was a government defence contractor based in Berkshire, and I fell in love with the county. Living in Croydon it was a long journey, about an hour a quarter each way. But I soon had a reliable car and was able to pass the time with Terry Wogan in the mornings. Work was a lot of fun and Ferranti had lots of social clubs. I spent my spare time fishing in Berkshire, playing squash, five-a-side football etc. I stayed at Ferranti for four years. This was a time when interest rates soared and house prices with them. I decided to build my own house and bought a plot at Purley, near Pangbourne, right on the River Thames. It was a large plot, one fifth of an acre, suitable for a large house. This was a good experience but risky, as house prices and interest rates were rising significantly. It was at this time that my entrepreneurial skill started to surface. Richard Nugent, Tinaâ€™s uncle by marriage, had contacts in the television industry and got a contract to
make thousands of printed circuit boards and test them. I took up the challenge, and recruited dozens of housewives to assemble printed circuit boards at home, and made some money on the side. So what with a schizophrenic wife, building a house, running a small business and working at Ferranti, life was busy. I raised the money for house building by mortgaging my motherâ€™s house, the new house having three bedrooms and a granny flat. But it was all too much. My daughter contracted leukaemia at four and because of the pressure I left home. Tina was excellent with Michelle, who had to be kept scrupulously clean, and this was right up Tinaâ€™s street. In fact she saved her life. Michelle went into remission and was put on a two-year drug programme at Royal Berkshire Hospital. She was the only one of 12 on the programme to survive. By now I had left Ferranti. North Sea oil was the order of the day and I left production engineering to go into planning engineering with oil contractors. My career in project management was up and running. My last company was Taylor Woodrow and it was here that I met my second wife, Lorraine, fondly called Lana.
9 MARRIAGE NUMBER 2, TO LORRAINE
I was not proud of this period in my life. I had deserted my wife, leaving her with Michelle and my mother, but it was the only way I could survive. I had left behind a trail of destruction, a sick daughter, my new house partially finished, a distraught wife and a newly-moved mother. Eventually they all survived, Michelle to lead a full life, the house getting sold to pay off debts, Tina finding a new man, Graham, who was to become her second husband, and my mother finally moving into an old peopleâ€™s home in Theale, where she spent the last years of her life. Lorraine was 17 years old and 14 years my junior, but more importantly to me then, she was a nymphomaniac of the highest order. This marriage only lasted two years. I met her at Taylor Woodrow, where she was a secretary to the buyer. She had such a bright young spirit and captivated me. She nursed me through the traumas of the previous years. Her surname was Trowbridge, but her parentsâ€™ name was Maguire. It was explained to me that her aunt and uncle
had brought her up, as her father was in prison. When he came out she changed it back to Maguire. Within a few weeks of going out she wanted me to meet her father, Tim. What an unbelievable character. He was famous for making the Guinness Book of Records as the largest jewel thief in the UK. He had broken into several jewellers in one night, opening the safes by using a thermal lance. He was from Park Royal, London, and spent two thirds of his life in prison; he now intended to make the most of the rest of his life. Despite the age difference, he welcomed me into their family. I moved into their house in Harrow. It was a threebedroom semi and there I was in the bedroom next to her mum Doreen and her dad and her sister Lesley. We were going out together for a year before we got engaged to be married. All I needed now was a divorce from Tina, which took a long time to come through. The final decree arrived just three days before my second church wedding, which was really a service of blessing, as we had got married the day before in the registry office. Living with an 18-year-old was different, but she was quite bright and worked full-time. I was still at Taylor Woodrow and we bought a two-bedroom flat in Harrow. It was here that David Chenkin, my lifelong friend, first appeared, to arrange a mortgage for me, gently avoiding my
history. All I needed now was an income to manage by new lifestyle, and I managed to achieve this by going out to Kuwait for ÂŁ12,000 per annum tax free for three years as a maintenance planner on an existing oil refinery. Lorraine was to join me when we could manage it.
9 KUWAIT, 1976-1979
I often wondered whether I did the right thing in going to Kuwait, but I had a thirst for life and a new culture appealed to me. It proved to be valuable experience “on site”. Leaving a 19-year-old wife was a risk, but I believe she remained faithful to me. Even though I didn’t have married quarters she joined me soon, as the many friends I made were keen to have us house sit for them while they took their six weeks’ leave. We never planned a family and when Lorraine found herself pregnant, she realised this was serious, and returned home the following day to abort the baby, raising the funds by selling her engagement ring to her dad. I tried everything to make her change her mind, to no avail. In hindsight, the marriage should never have happened, but it left me reeling. It also left me a bachelor again. I remember leaving for Kuwait. Three of us turned up at London airport, Billy Dowler, Andrew, who was of Polish origin, and me. Andrew and I were wearing suits and
carrying suitcases full of clothes, while Billy Dowler was in blue jeans, with no luggage except a small briefcase. When we arrived in Kuwait we were taken to our three-bedroom flat and chose bedrooms. Andrew and I unpacked to the sound of Neil Diamondâ€™s Sweet Caroline coming from Billyâ€™s bedroom - the briefcase was a small record player! He then went off to the local souk to buy blue jeans and tops. Fortunately, Billy and I were assigned to the main Kuwait Oil Company refinery in Ahmadi, where we were to put in place a computerised maintenance plan for the whole refinery. This took two years, and after all that it was never used. Luckily we had full KOC social club privileges and this kept us sane. My life was now full of sailing, squash and partying. As you may know, Kuwait is a dry country, and the beer kits we brought with us were put in to use, the only problem being finding enough bottles. In time I graduated to a share of a still, where we brewed Flash, clear 80% alcohol, which we cut with soft drinks. This production of alcohol was the key to social climbing, and my life was hectic. I made friends with John and Claire Salmon, who have been friends all my life since then. John was a one off, who had graduated from Oxford with a BA Honours in engineering. He is keen to tell stories about my many girlfriends and their escapades, and they are all true.
I also met Gretta Monaghan, who has remained friends since the day she left me to marry her current husband, David. What a loss - she would have been perfect. The contract with the KOC was for two years only, but by now I was hooked and I joined an American construction company building a seawater intake for the refinery. I was an office engineer, which was a glorified planning engineer. They provided me with an American car, a big sedan. What a magnificent site experience it was. I remember commissioning a 40-ton crane in temperatures of 120째 F; I lost 10 pounds of body weight over the day. John and I also got involved in some very risky business, selling smuggled liquor to expatriates. The gin and whiskey was smuggled in by airline pilots and passed on to John and I resold it, another sign of my entrepreneurial skills. When I think of the risks we were taking I am horrified. We could John, Claire & Jane have finished up in an Arab jail. Bookmaking was also a pastime and John and I took bets on the Grand National.
While I was in Kuwait, a good friend of mine, Paul Angell, who I met while an apprentice at Ferranti, got married to Janet and had a baby which they called Michael. They asked me to be his godfather, to which I said yes. I visited them on my leave at their bed & breakfast hotel in Southsea and was in regular correspondence with Janet while in Kuwait. One day, the correspondence stopped, and the next letter I got from her explained that Paul was terminally ill with a malignant brain tumour, terrible news. I visited them when I went home on leave and it was all very emotional. I told Paul that I would look after his wife and child. Little did I know that this would be a lifetime commitment to Michael, which I have been pleased to make.
Janet had been having problems with her in-laws as they were already positioning themselves for Paulâ€™s death. Rather like myself she ran away from her problems, and she and Michael took up residence in my empty flat in Harrow. I found them there waiting for me when I returned from Kuwait. Another younger partner, this time 12 years younger than me.
9 PROJECT MANAGEMENT, 1979-1981
I was now 36 years old and a seasoned planning engineer with on-site experience in the oil and gas sector, so I had little trouble finding a job with McDermott Engineering in Wembley, where I was assigned as Lead Planner to the Aramco project. At this time I was introduced to a new minicomputer called Artemis from Metier Management Systems, which became very successful in the 1980s. With this new system, you could perform network analysis in an instant and it had a linked database for keeping control of project documentation. This system revolutionised project management and I was at the cutting edge of its development.
Engineering, where I first met Peter Simon and Russ Tiller, who were to join me later at PMP. Michael was only two and we needed a garden for him, so we set up home in Wembley in a three-bedroom semidetached house with a nice garden. Janet was very practical and set to work, turning it into a home.
It was at this time that I bought a sports car, a Triumph Stag. What a wonderful car. I have fond memories of speeding at 100 mph with Michelle alongside me urging me to go faster. My entrepreneurial spirit surfaced again when John Salmon telephoned me from Kuwait to ask me if I wanted to start a bookmaker’s office with him in Bourton-on-theWater, Gloucestershire, his home town. It seemed that the local bookmaker had closed down and the property was up for auction the following day. So we agreed a price limit, £12,000, and ours was the last bid at that price, so I was a bookmaker, working weekends and bank holidays with John. This lasted a year and we had a lot of fun. Eventually the business could not support the two of us, so I sold my share to John and he ran it for 30 years until his recent retirement. I also had my first taste of racehorse ownership, with a 10% share of a filly called Sweet Substitute, who won one race before we retired her. This was the start of my interests in racing ownership. My next job was a move into management at Protech International as the Chief Planner, which I’ve achieved with the help of Derek Beddow, a rascal of a project manager. Protech prospered and my reputation soared to the point where I was offered the position of VP for Onstream Texas Inc, a start-up venture in Houston, Texas. I was off to the States with a treaty investor visa and Janet was to come with
me, so we needed to get married. Another divorce, a quicker one this time, and Janet and I got married at Maidenhead registry office.
9 MARRIAGE NUMBER 3, TO JANET
Janet and I got married to fulfil the conditions of the Treaty Investor Visa for the United States and left for the United States of America soon after. What can I say about Janet? Well, firstly, she was attractive, a good homemaker and an excellent wife â€“ while it lasted. We were not in love, as we were both on the rebound, me from Lorraine and Janet from the death of Paul, but it worked. Janet was not very worldly when she met me and my business ventures gave her the experience that broadened her mind, primarily in the USA. With living in different houses she always had the next project to work on and this, combined with her natural talent for interior design, kept her busy.
We travelled quite extensively in the United States and Janet did a two-year course in interior design, but she made many friends and learned skills that she was to use for the rest of her life. Unfortunately she began to suffer from compressed discs in her spine and had to have a small operation to alleviate the pain. It was now that she began to consider that Pittsburgh was not the place to live. Being a father to Michael was challenging, as he was also having difficulties with school and was identified as having learning difficulties, but otherwise he liked the country and all the sporting activities such as soccer and tenpin bowling. Using my UK solicitors I was able to protect Janet from the worst the Angells could throw at her, as her in-laws were
also going through the trauma of losing a son, but itâ€™s fair to say that they did not behave with honour. But generally speaking we had a lot of fun and neither of us came out too scarred from our marriage.
9 USA , 1981-1987
It was all very exciting, being manager of my own destiny, as I thought. My new company, Onstream, gave me an office in Houston, Texas and a secretary and off I went, learning very quickly that if you didn’t sell you didn’t survive. Little did I know that this advice was to lead to my being fired within six months. I wasn’t prepared for the sheer physical size of the USA. I once made an appointment with a man in a company in Seattle, only to find that it was three hours’ air travel and would cost a thousand dollars. I sold all right, in fact I sold too well. Within six months, I had run the company out of money. It’s called overtrading. Bob Laslett, who owned the company, had no choice but to let me go. I had run him out of money and had become his most expensive resource. This lesson in overtrading served me well when I started my own business. The only problem was that I had bought a house and a car and was committed to the USA.
Here, Lady Luck came to our rescue. With my good knowledge of Artemis, I was quickly snapped up by Fred Arnold, who was vice president of Energy Consultants in Pittsburgh. Energy Consultants was the engineering arm of a large mechanical contractor, Schneider Engineers, whose main business was in electrical utilities throughout the USA.
Our town house in Pittsburgh
I spent the first two weeks on my own in Pittsburgh and then rented a U-Haul truck and drove Janet, Michael and the new cat Ming to Pittsburgh. It took three days, but when we eventually arrived at our new rented house in the North Hills, it was all worth it. I settled in very quickly, and you can imagine my surprise when I was called over to meet the managing director of Schneider, who told me he was demoting Fred Arnold and I was to take over the division in his place.
I immediately inherited 120 staff - quite a shock! I set about building a very successful consultancy with offices in Houston, Los Angeles and, of course, Pittsburgh. I was out to prove Bob Laslett wrong. I was eventually appointed vice president of Schneider Engineers and had the full American executive package, company car, country club membership, etc. It was here that I started to play golf, an essential ingredient of management life; I was never very good, but I got better with time. Michael had started school by now, but was identified as having learning difficulties, which slowed him down. After a couple of years we bought a town house, which Janet again decorated with aplomb. I travelled extensively in the USA and can tell many stories about life in a foreign country. It was here that I met my good friend Mike Galloway, a Texan, in Houston. As he moved about from company to company he did not fail to employ my consultants. It was also at this time that I met my good friend Jack Figel, who worked for Metier. Jack was a bachelor, quite religious, and we became good friends, spending many hours on the golf course and going on visits to Vegas. He lives in Virginia, near Washington DC, and we are still good friends now, though we donâ€™t see much of each other. In fact he became my best man for my last marriage, of which more later.
In 1982 I joined the Project Management Institute (PMI), which was to serve me well when I returned to the UK. I took the PMP exams, and passed. What did I learn in the USA? I learned that in business you have to build relationships, and this experience benefited me greatly when I returned to the UK. Unfortunately Janet became unwell with a bad back and eventually finished up having to have an operation on her ruptured discs. She became scared of moving about in Pittsburgh, as for three months a year there was snow and she was frightened of damaging her back once again. We had the option of returning home to the UK or opening a new office in the south of the USA. We chose the UK, and Janet returned to set up home while I served out my six months’ notice. Marvin Wicher, who managed my office in Houston, was my natural successor. I had made lots of friends in the USA and the employees gave me a clock when I left, inscribed “Our Boss, Our Friend”. That sums it up. It’s still working. It was here that I used the saying “nothing lasts forever” in my farewells and it seemed a perfect title for my life story.
9 PMP - THE EARLY YEARS
The six monthsâ€™ notice passed quickly and I made plans for my return to the UK by forming a British company, Project Management Professional Services Ltd, PMP for short, a play on the American business qualification, Project Management Professional. Peter Simon became my partner and he brought in an accountant called Tony Furber. We shared the equity 40/40/20. Janet,
found a house for us to live in, a three-bedroom townhouse very near to the Thames in Maidenhead.
downstairs room which was ideal for my first office, but then life started to go wrong. While I was away Janet had found another pastime in the Maidenhead town house & first PMP office
form of Max, a plasterer who
had helped her to move house, and they then helped themselves to each other as well. I was so thick that I did not see it, and it was left to Michael to tell me that his mum was up to no good. When confronted she admitted the affair and I lost my temper, hurling a tin of baked beans across the room. She left that day, never to return. I was distraught, and it took several months for me to come back to the land of the living. There was only one option - pick myself up, dust myself down and start all over again. What followed was a whole series of girlfriends, some of them very young. PMP in the early days was very exciting. In essence, we were an agency for project management personnel, mainly planning engineers, cost engineers etc. I always remember the start. I had no copier or fax machine, so I used to top and tail the CVs and run on down to the local print shop, who sent them on to my clients. I eventually graduated to my own machines and fondly remember the photocopier underneath the spiral staircase, a real fire hazard. Our first client was BP (British Petroleum) and very soon we had a number of engineers in place. We were very lucky and the market was buoyant. Because of our backgrounds Peter and I knew many engineers and our fame spread. Very soon we had a turnover of ÂŁ1 million a year. This caused its own problems in cash flow and we turned to factoring our invoices, which was an expensive
way of raising working capital. Eventually I was able to take a reduced wage from the business. Our next move was to offices in Henley, in Bell Street. They were quite small, but adequate and we grew steadily. It was about this time that I found out the difference between consulting and agency personnel. Many times a client would ask us to do a specific job and pay us for doing that job, which invalidated our insurance. I needed professional indemnity insurance. Tony Furber had now moved on at my request and our staff was growing. I also lost Peter Simon through his personal circumstances.
Office: Andy Taylor, Gerry Mapes & Mike Mahoney
We soon outgrew our offices in Henley and moved to a large two-storey office near Maidenhead, where we rented the ground floor out for profit. It was about this time that I hired Julia Cross, later Julia Johnson. She proved to be very capable and progressed to Managing Director of Project Management Professional Learning. She remains a good friend, and now lives near to us in Windsor.
Switchback Business Park, Maidenhead
The PMP group was now quite large with interests in a professional agency, consulting, software, high street agencies and construction, but this meant I had too many irons in the fire. I was in trouble and lacked a mentor
It was then that I was introduced to Mark Diskin, who was my saviour. At no charge, he became my mentor, advising me to ditch the construction and software businesses and slim down my accounting functions. He told me that my businesses could run with one accountant instead of six, as eventually it did.
Jack Figel, Bill Campbell & Manny Bramsden
I was still playing golf and through chance met Manny Bramsden, who was a jeweller in Maidenhead. Manny introduced me to Freemasonry, and we travelled the world together playing golf. We are still friends today. On the advice of Sue, my new wife (see chapter 12), I joined a local Windsor Lodge, the Theodore White Temperance Lodge 3795, and embarked on a career in
Freemasonry. I have always been outgoing and meeting men and making speeches suited me. Did Freemasonry help me in business? It certainly helped my confidence in public speaking. It provided a certain amount of networking, and the funny handshake could help in certain situations. It takes about 10 years to progress through the various positions in the Craft Lodge, culminating in the position of Worshipful Grand Master of the Lodge, and this I achieved. Iâ€™m still a Mason today, but no longer healthy enough to attend the Lodge. However I would recommend it to anybody as grounding for uprightness and decency in life. We also raise a heck of a lot of money for charity.
Charity collecting at York Road: Julia & Jackie
Now that I was back in the UK I was able to spend more time with my mother, who was living what I called her “third phase of life” at Elizabeth Court in Theale. She was having a wonderful time living in her bedsit and made many new friends. The old folks lived a full life, getting their hair and feet done, going out for the day etc. I grew to love her more, and tell many tales, one of which involved Michael. We used to visit at weekends and I took Michael with me most times. Mum always gave him 50p, as she hadn’t seen him for some time, and this time she gave him a 50p coin three times. Michael looked to me, asking, “should I take it?”, and I said yes. Alzheimer’s was beginning to set in and she eventually died peacefully. She is buried at the old church in Theale.
9 PMP RECRUITMENT
With the help of Mark Diskin the business prospered, trading mainly as PMP, the project management business, and PMP Recruitment, the high street agency. I had been buying up small high street agencies and had built them up to about six in number with a head office in High Wycombe. In doing so I took on Derek Skelton, who was to become Managing Director of PMP Recruitment, the industrial agency. He was large in stature, coming from Newcastle, an ex-rugby player and a bundle of fun. It soon became very obvious that we could not make money out of high street agencies, because by the time we had paid all the overheads, profits were marginal. We hit on the idea of forming ‘super branches’ specialising in industrial personnel. The rest is history, as we grew to £90 million a year, employing 3000 temporary staff. We had so much fun. It was a different business from the professional side of the business and we had to start a fleet of coaches to transport the temps to the clients. We had a transport
manager and six coaches all signposted with PMP Recruitment. Derek was a wonderful salesperson and life was sweet. Not that we didnâ€™t have our brushes with the media. I have memories of a fax coming to me while I was in a board meeting, advising me that we were the subject of a TV programme exposing the company as employing foreign nationals without work permits. It was a setup, and we managed with the help of my friend Bambos Georgiou at Mishcon de Reya, who were solicitors to Lady Diana at the time of her divorce, to limit the damage. Most of our clients thought it hilarious, but it could have been a disaster.
Team PMP Recruitment
Derek always had an end-of-year meeting for all employees, when he reviewed the year’s progress and handed out awards. I left him to it, as he had his own inimitable style. Every year he invested in “giveaways” branded with PMP. He always managed to drop his trousers, revealing PMP underclothes, to everybody’s hilarious reaction. He remains with the business to this day, leading it in his own way. By 2008 the business had grown to the extent that it was difficult to manage; we started to go from one problem to the next, mainly clients being slow to pay and the constant threat of a Third World labour force. It was time to sell, and when the right offer came, we did so. The sales process took a long time but was very interesting. When the business was sold I was free to concentrate on my first love, project management. The new owners kept the same management team and I’m pleased to say the business still prospers and Derek is still the managing director. When we speak, he still calls me “boss”.
9 THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE
My professional career continued and helped PMP prosper. One of the things I learned was networking through professional societies, and the PMI was the route to this. PMI was becoming a global institute for project management and I helped start the UK chapter, becoming President within a few years. We ran several annual meetings, both here and in Europe, and my status within the profession grew, so much so that I stood for election as a director to the main board in the USA and was successful. PMI was interesting and I was a troublemaker. The board of 12 directors were drawn from all over the United States and the rest of the world, but primarily the USA. I was quite comfortable in the company of fellow directors from the USA, having worked there for six years. The board of directors were supposed to be figureheads, but I liked to dabble in operations, which management did not like. There were four meetings a year, held in different cities around the world. What a wonderful experience, travelling all expenses paid and networking profusely.
Eventually I became the Secretary and Treasurer, the number two in the Institute, where I served for a year. I made lots of friends, and my new wife, Susan, nearly always accompanied me on my trips. Directors had to stand for election every two years and when the time came for nominations my name was mysteriously not put forward to the membership. I was pretty miffed but left with my head held high. Little did I know that the shaking that had begun to materialise in my left hand, under pressure, was the start of Parkinsonâ€™s disease.
9 MARRIAGE NUMBER 4, TO SUSAN
Not many people are lucky enough to get four bites at the cherry, but I have been one of them. After my marriage to Janet, there were many girlfriends, all too young. I had a cleaning lady called Cilla Dollery, who was a real character, always winding me up in jest. She invited me to a barbecue at her Sue
place, with a view to matching
me up with her long-time friend, Susan. Susan was recently divorced, with no children, lived on her own in a bungalow in Windsor, and more importantly, was my own age. We hit it off right away. Sue was unlike any of my previous wives. I quickly realised that she was a giver where my last two wives had been takers.
When I first got to know her, her father was still alive and living with her, but unfortunately he died within a month or two. So there she was, the right age, unattached, very practical and a wonderful person. I didnâ€™t hesitate, and we got married in 1993.
Wedding day, 15th May 1993
I wanted a church wedding, which could have been difficult, given my history, but the Methodist Church in Windsor obliged. We put a marquee in the garden at Windsor, invited
90 friends, hired a jazz band for the evening and had a great wedding. I rented out my house in Maidenhead and we set up home in Windsor. Sue had two cats and I had two, so we were now a four-cat family. Sue was quite canny. She recognised pretty quickly that I always lived above my means, and set about changing me from a spender to a saver, my credit card bills getting immediate attention. They say that behind every successful man there is a good woman, and how right they are. Sue was a stabilising influence in my life, helping me in business, good with my kids and an excellent wife. Her first husband had worked for British Airways, so she was used to travelling the world and comfortable when talking with my business associates. Over the years we have had many beautiful holidays together, including Hong Kong, New Zealand, Mauritius and Antigua. As life has gone on, with my health difficulties, Sue has become an excellent carer. When we first got married we said we would try and make it to 25 years, and our silver wedding is nearly there.
9 HORSE RACING AND BREEDING
I have always been interested in horse racing, from my early days as a settler in Hector MacDonald through to owning a share of Sweet Substitute and then being a bookmaker for one year. A meeting with Noel Chance in the ownersâ€™ bar at Newbury racecourse set me on the path to becoming a racehorse owner and eventually a breeder in a small way. It is impossible to make money out of it, but the enjoyment is immeasurable.
Noel Chance with Gold Cup winner Looks Like Trouble
I started as a co-owner with my accountant, Peter Upton and my financial adviser, David Chenkin. We bought several horses and had a lot of fun. Our best horse was a gelding called Lord of Beauty. He was a talented hurdler and won several races, the best of which was at Ascot at the attractive price of 12 to 1. I made lots of friends that day! I also owned Signs of Love, who won his first race at Newbury in good style - and never won again. Iâ€™ve had a few duffers as well, very frustrating, but when youâ€™re dealing with a horse which has been highly tuned for racing, injuries often happen and usually just before they
are due to run. I tell the story of a filly that we bought, out of the stallion Presenting for ÂŁ20,000. We called her Misrepresented and every time we got her fit for racing, she stopped eating. After the second time, Noel suggested we sold her, but I suggested we should breed from her and we did this, putting her to two stallions in consecutive years before we gave her away to a good home.
At this time I own half each of two horses, Brackloon High and Iâ€™m a College Boy and also two fillies I bred, namely Todoistodare, who is about to start racing on the flat, and an unnamed filly, who is bred for chasing and still on the farm in Wales for another year. My co-owner is an expublican called Tom Conway and he and his wife Mary always attend the racing.
Brackloon High has been very good. He started hurdling and has graduated to chasing, winning four races in 2011. He is an excellent handicap chaser. Iâ€™m a College boy is just about to run his first race at Ascot, a flat race bumper. Time will tell. And the fillies, again, time will tell, but you never know. They could be world beaters, which is part of the excitement.
9 PMPL AND AIKONA
PMPL, under the leadership of Julia Johnson, had now evolved into one of the two leading companies in the field of project management training in the United Kingdom. We have moved offices again, this time we bought an office in Bourne End, fully self-contained and brand-new. The company majored in accreditation with all the wellknown accredited bodies, such as the PMI, the Association of Project Managers and others. In terms of clients, we majored on the rail industry and in particular London Underground, now Transport for London and Network Rail. I myself found enjoyment in lecturing on the training courses. My ability to tell war stories came into its own, which was funny as I had never been a project manager. Most of the time, I left the running of the business to Julia, with myself holding the title of chairman to the company. The company had staff of 10 or 12 people, using freelance trainers where necessary. We achieved turnover in the region of £3 million each year and profits were in the £300,000£400,000 mark, but this was its limit.
To my dismay, Julia Johnson then decided to leave for pastures new. This was a great loss, and we decided that we either had to buy or merge with another company. Through a combination of circumstances we merged with The Projects Group, the other market leader. Theoretically, we should have doubled our turnover, but this never happened. The new company, trading as Aikona Ltd, was born, and we sold the offices in Bourne End and moved to Sutton, Surrey. We had a series of management problems which culminated in me asking an old friend of mine, Diane Angell, to troubleshoot and take over the running of the company. She was perfect, and after running the company for one year, we decided to sell. The stress on Diane was immense but to her credit, she held the company together during the sale. We never came out rich, in fact making a small loss on our shareholding, but getting all our loans back intact. My career in project management was now over, and the company we left behind in somebody elseâ€™s care is still going well. I was not sorry, but pleased to relieve myself of the stress as Parkinsonâ€™s disease was now making everyday living difficult.
9 HEALTH TRIALS
Throughout my life I had been keeping in reasonably good health until I got to the age of 40 - fat and 40 they say! I suffered from gout, which I had developed in America, but at this age, one Christmas, I was extremely thirsty all day and night, which led to a visit to the doctor. He recognised the symptoms and on testing my blood sugar found it to be in the range of diabetic symptoms. I was a Type 2 diabetic. I have been very lucky since then, the diabetes remaining under control; however I do use an insulin pen to inject myself once daily, usually first thing in the morning. You have to be very careful with diabetes and Sue and I watch it very carefully. I had the usual increase of blood pressure, resulting in my taking statins fairly early, and I donâ€™t recommend it as it can limit your ability to perform at times - I leave you to work that one out. I also had a blockage of the urethra caused by a kidney stone, which I donâ€™t recommend. Sue cooked a curry and I
finished up in terrible pain. I accused her of poisoning me, but it turned out to be a kidney stone which had shifted to the urethra, causing a blockage to the waterworks. Luckily I still had medical insurance and the consultant soon worked out where the stone was. All he had to do was to get it out! I had the operation at Charing Cross Hospital. Once again, I don’t recommend it, as they enter through the penis, what an experience! But all is well now. Next came the Parkinson’s, which grew slowly from the age of 60, first as a shaking of the left hand through to full Parkinson’s where it affects my everyday living. At first sight the neurologist thought it maybe an “essential tremor.” When it proved not to be I had to learn an awful lot about the disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. One person in every 500 gets it - that’s about 127,000 people in the UK. Most people who get Parkinson’s are 50 or over, but younger people can get it too and one in 20 is under the age of 40. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower, so it takes longer to do things. The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear. There’s currently no cure, and we don’t yet know why people get the condition. Sue is now my full-time carer. She washes and dresses
me every morning, takes care of my medication, cooks for me, fetches for me and generally carts me about in a wheelchair if I have any distance to walk. All part of life’s rich rewards. Parkinson’s doesn’t directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.
9 MICHELLE AND MICHAEL
I am very proud of my two kids. Michelle is now 43 years old and Michael 35, and they both lead full and active lives. When I sold my company, I had put shares into a family trust fund, the money from which I have distributed to them as they have needed it.
My daughter Michelle
Michelle lives in Aberdare, South Wales. After school, she graduated as a nurse to the mentally handicapped, which stretched her. After several placements, she decided that this was not for her and she became a born-again Christian, and gave her life to God - not what I expected. She went to South Wales to take over a ministry, which she has done successfully. She rented out her house in Cippenham and the trust fund supported her in buying a three-bedroom semi-detached house. She had also by this time started her own charity, Lighthouse of God, with the aim of supporting street children in Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya. The charity now has two adjoining charity shops in Aberdare, which produce funding, together with donations, that provide over 500 children with a school uniform, a freshwater well and food daily. She visits Kenya every two years to make sure all is well, and would like to go more regularly, but her health precludes this. Every time she goes she makes a video for the donors, including myself, but I find it too emotional to watch. She also has her own church, very small, which meets over her shops once a week. All very fulfilling for her. She recently moved to a new four-bedroom house directly opposite the one that she lived in, very nice indeed. The rental income from the two rented houses provides her with an income. In addition, I support her ministries; I feel good about that.
Michael, his Michelle and Alexia
Michael was an entirely different problem. When Janet had left me she went to live with Max, who turned out to be not ideal for Michael. She also had another child, which put pressure on the situation. Michael still had learning difficulties and did not do very well in school. I rescued him at the age of 17 from a life of drugs and alcohol, and he came to live with Sue and me. We spent several years straightening him out. He worked for me at the agency, but I had to fire him three times! He eventually met a young girl, another Michelle, who provided the fix which enabled him to join the human race again. They eventually got married, bought a flat, traded it up for a house and settled down. Recently the trust fund
again came in useful as they traded up again, to a new fourbedroom house in Maidenhead, near Windsor, where we live. This was great, and it was even greater when they had a daughter this year, called Alexia Louisa Warren, the second name after my mother. All our hard work and patience had paid off, and he and Michelle are excellent parents. Most weekends, he brings the baby around to see us, which is marvellous - how times change. He has also been working at 3663 as a warehouse man for the last 10 years and achieved an NVQ qualification. The past is history. Once again, I must pay respect to Sue, who helped bring them up with love and understanding and provide muchneeded guidance.
What can I say about retirement? It’s boring! Having led an active life, it is difficult to accept that I can no longer do the things I used to because of ill-health and age. I spend two to three hours every day at my computer, where I look after what’s left of our money, playing blackjack at a casino and writing this autobiography. Over the years I have become quite an expert at playing blackjack, having learned in Las Vegas during my many visits. I still have my horses running during the winter, and our holidays together. In past years we have visited Mark Diskin at his flat in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s absolutely wonderful and we intend to go for three weeks again in February. Our most recent holiday was a cruise to the Canary Islands with Saga. Unfortunately we did not allow for the rough seas and the movement of the ship and Sue got violently sick before we left the Solent. My Parkinson’s did
not allow me to walk at all during the voyage. I also found the elderly very trying, getting most enjoyment from asking them about their lives. Cruising was not for us, never again. I still have several business interests with Mark Diskin, which are interesting to follow. Unbelievably, Mark is several years older than me, but he still leads a very active life, both physically and mentally. When we have been to South Africa for the last two years we have been accompanied by John and Irenee Bowie. John has become a magnificent friend and Irenee is a one-off; she is the boss of the family. John and I go racing regularly with me in my wheelchair - he is deadly, insisting that people move out of the way to let us through. He also is a Mason, has an interest in stocks and shares and is financially astute - perfect company for me. The Lodge members visit me at times and in particular Gerald Prescott, Manny Bramsden and William Readings. It’s just a pity I can’t go to the meetings, as they are too long and difficult to access. I also have regular yoga sessions, three times a week with my teacher Julie. We have been going for several years now and it’s quite amazing the progress we have made. You start with breathing and progress to physical exercises; I badly need this to counteract the debilitating physical aspects of Parkinson’s. I also have acupuncture once week with Yizhen,
a Chinese lady, which keeps my vital organs going. Both ladies are excellent in their field and Iâ€™m lucky to have them.
Terry Warren began his career in industry as a humble
adventurous 1960s. A few years later, an opportunity to make money on the side by subcontracting the making of printed circuit boards allowed
entrepreneurship, and it wasn’t long before Terry had embarked on a new and much more lucrative career in project management. Working in the Middle East and in senior positions with businesses on both sides of the Atlantic followed, and by the time he was in his 50s Terry was the head of one of Britain’s top two project management consultancy and training companies, a business which he had founded and built from scratch, pausing along the way to build a successful industrial recruitment company. Now in his 70th year, suffering with Parkinson’s disease and happily married to his fourth (and last!) wife, Terry looks back on a colourful and eventful career and personal life.
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