In The Spotlight With Alby Pattison Managing Director Of Hart Biologicals
Tell Us About Your Role At Hart Biologicals?
I’m the managing director and a scientist. At Hart Biologicals we’re involved in all areas of blood coagulation and platelet aggregation. We’re constantly adding new products to our portfolio and we distribute worldwide.
How Did The Business Start?
It started in 2002 when I decided that there was an opportunity for a specialist blood coagulation company and I started it here in Hartlepool. We’ve gone from strength to strength with new product lines, moving to a bigger premises in 2009 and increasing our staff levels.
What Are The Biggest Challenges To Your Business?
Every day’s a challenge, keeping up with everything is the key. The biggest challenge really is the regulatory side of our business. Different countries require different things. The USA is a very tough market to crack in terms of the regulatory requirements around medical devices. We’re currently working on a 2-year plan working with the FDA to ensure that we are ready to distribute our own labelled products in America.
What Did You Want To Be When You Were At School?
I wanted to be either a doctor, or a medical scientist. Or I wanted to be a musician. I was going down the path of music for many years until I wanted to do physics, chemistry and music A-levels and the school wouldn’t let me. If I did physics I had to do maths. And that is then how music became a hobby. Then I went down the path of science and biochemistry at Manchester University. I played trumpet at school and in numerous bands and orchestras in the region.
What Was Your First Job?
My first job was at a hospital in Manchester, because I went to Manchester University. And I did what anyone would do these days, which was I applied for the first job I saw that pretty much fitted what I wanted to do and got it. I didn’t really know at the time what haematology was, but I got a job in a haematology lab at North Manchester General Hospital, and the rest is history.
What Job Would You Like To Have Other Than Your Own And Why?
I would probably go back to music. My son is a musician, so maybe I could manage him.
What Do You Love Most About Working In The North East?
I’m Hartlepool born and bred, so the town as it is, is part of us all. That’s why the business is here. It’s an unusual place for a business like ours to be but it was only ever going to be in once place. We have great talent here in the North East, we have a lot of students that come to us on placements from Universities in the area.
What Do You Love Most About Living In The North East?
The work life balance is so much better. Property prices obviously aren’t as high as they are down South. One mile to the East here and you’re in the sea. One mile to the West and you’re in the countryside. Few miles to the South and you’re in the North York Moors. Few miles to the North and you’re in Northumberland. We have cities that have everything you would want. Newcastle, not as big and bustling as London, but it has enough. So the work life balance here in the North East is great and the people are friendly of course.
What Do You Do In Your Own Time Away From The Office?
Sport is a big part. I’m treasurer of Hartlepool Rover’s Rugby Club, that probably takes more of my time than running the business. It’s a hand-to-mouth existence in an amateur rugby club. Looking after the club house and things like that. I’m involved with Seaton Cricket Club, I go to West Rugby Club to watch rugby. I go to Crete with my wife and spend time there. Sport and music are a big part of my social life.
What’s Your Number One Piece Of Advice For Anyone In Business Or Wanting To Start Up?
Don’t ever guess about something, because if you guess, you guess wrong and then it’s very difficult to explain. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. I say this to kids when we go to schools as well, very often when you open the floor to questions it goes quiet. That’s because people don’t want to ask what they believe is a stupid question. Every question has an answer. Better to ask the question and get an answer than to guess and get it wrong.
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