PROBATION PERIOD: First Impressions after jumping over the fence and making PEAKPS my new home.
My name is Mark and I’ve recently joined the PeakPS team.
In my past life I was a performance coach in the world of canoe slalom. Based in Lee Valley and travelling the world with some amazing people. But something didn’t quite align with it and my family anymore. I didn’t enjoy the travel; I missed my kids growing up and I had a massive sense of guilt every time we made decisions based on performance and not on reducing our impact on the planet.
I was stuck – All I ever wanted to do was be a paddler and particularly in canoe slalom. So, I ditched the University plans and got to Holme Pierrepont as soon as possible, aged 17.
Fast forward 15 years and I couldn’t wait to escape the pressure cooker world of elite sport. Constantly trying to get better every day had taken its toll and I was beginning to look for the exits.
Never google ‘How to make a career change’. It is and was the most daunting search I’ve ever typed. It’s a scary world. All left me with fear I was just going to have to accept I was staying there in Elite Sport. But just as I was reading through a book given to me by a close friend I came across one thing that stood out, “keep searching, asking questions and you’ll stumble across something you didn’t know was even on your radar”.
At that point in time, I’d ditched social media as I just couldn’t relate to anything on there, but then accidently I opened the big FB and saw PeakPS were looking for someone to join their team. ‘O hello, that’s interesting’ I thought. Peak supported me for years when I was an athlete and the company had begun to really push the sustainability part of the business. This might be worth asking more of.
Skip ahead a few months and here I am, sat at my computer in Darley Dale overlooking the hills, my kids in local schools and my wife enjoying the move north, almost to the extent of it feeling like a holiday daily. Feels very much like we’ve won the lottery. And that’s all down to PeakPS believing in me.
So how is work? What are my first impressions on being on the other side of the fence and not the one ringing up and ordering kit, this time being the guy who takes the orders.
To be honest, it’s different to what I maybe once perceived it would be like. I’m astounded by the level of detail the team go into making good kit, I’m also really humbled by how much care and attention they put into keeping customers happy. The troubles which Brexit brings is a real struggle and keeping up with demand whilst still being a relatively small team is easy to see. But I like the small team, I like seeing it being a team which everyone feels close to the product. Everyone is aware of their responsibilities, and everyone mucks in when others are off.
At the end of September I was lucky enough to be taken to France for the paddle sports show. Rather than flying like most would do, Pete is aware of the business and its impact on the planet, so we took the train. I love that. Not just seeing the quickest and cheapest way, thinking hard and being brave and taking that next step to act. We could just stop existing and that would stop all the environmental problems. But pressing hard on sustainability whilst trying to be smarter with posting he and us the team are working hard it being better there. Something I can’t relate to in my past life where hire cars and plane trips weren't even thought twice about - I believe we have to be accept that way of living has gone and find ways to do things differently, and if that means not getting to warmer climates or as many events then so be it. My kids will thank me.
While we were in France we had a rule – no single use plastic. We took our lunch boxes, Pete made the beer and old bottles were used which he’d recycled. This to me is just as important as the kit we produce and probably is the reason Peak make such good kit. They think differently and are always looking at ways to be better and morally right.
I’d like to thank the team for welcoming me, and for Pete for taking the leap in taking me on. I’m excited to help him grow Paddle Peak and learn all the vital skills to help PeakPS keep growing and evolving as we move in to unchartered waters.