Mark Hobkirk, managing director of Hobkirk Sewing Machines, talks about his love of autobiographies, making a mean strawberry daiquiri and his lifelong ambition to visit New York
How and when did you start your career in the industry?
I officially started in May 1993 aged 21, but my experiences in the world of sewing machines started much earlier than that. My father would insist I worked every Saturday and every school holiday when I was a teenager building industrial sewing machines, from 1983-1988. I recall earning around £5 a day – slave labour!
What’s your most over-used word or phrase?
Thank you. We have an amazing team of 20 staff, and I constantly show my appreciation by saying thank you.
Which three words would your friends use to describe your personality?
Easy-going (I hope!), generous (although our staff may disagree when having a wage review!) and grumpy (sometimes!).
What is your favourite radio station?
I am a keen music fan, so I have several ‘favourites’ saved in my car, including Radio 1, Capital, Kiss, Heart and a local Lancashire station called Rock FM. I like Steve Wright, so a mid-week afternoon can sometimes include a touch of Radio 2.
Tomato ketchup or brown sauce?
That depends on the food: bangers and mash must be accompanied by brown sauce, but if it’s a bacon sarnie, then it has to be red!
What was the last book you read?
My favourite read is an autobiography – generally a musician or a business-person who’s done well in life. My latest read was Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden. He’s had a fascinating life as a musician, airline captain, aviation entrepreneur, motivational speaker, beer brewer, novelist, radio presenter and film scriptwriter. He even found time to battle cancer.
What’s your party trick?
We have a blender at home, and I make a mean strawberry daiquiri. I tend to go a little heavy on the Bacardi ratio, so everyone tends to leave our house a little inebriated!
What’s your big ambition?
To visit the Big Apple. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many places around the world, but I just haven’t got to New York yet. The hustle and bustle of a city that never sleeps fascinates me, and I can’t wait to get there!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Drambuie. I don’t drink it very often as I’m a beer drinker, but every now and again, especially after a big meal, a large Drambuie (no ice) is just the ticket. I have also been known to quathe odd gin or two!
Is there another job that you’ve always wanted to do?
I love what I do, so I’ve already got my ideal job, but at school I aspired to be an architect.
If you could be anywhere on earth right now, where would you be?
In the sun, looking across a white sandy beach and clear blue waters with a cold beer in my hand! I’m fortunate to have travelled a lot, but my favourite would be Mauritius.
Which gadget or app couldn’t you live without?
My Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet. Having the power of a Windows PC in a small lightweight tablet, which is synced to my office PC, is amazing as I can be in touch with the business seven days a week.
If you could ask one person one question, who and what would you ask?
Adolf Hitler – why?