You know the name, now get to know the person. Russell Spiller, director at Mantis World, discusses being a Mod, his wealth of Cornish pasty knowledge and his love for reading and whisky
How long have you been in the industry?
I have been working in the industry for around 15 years. A close family friend asked me if I would come and look after the sales department for their screen print business, which at the time was based in an old railway yard in the West Country, with Portakabins as offices. Within three years the business had moved to a purpose-built factory and was employing over 40 people.
What‘s your most over-used word or phrase?
“We can do that”…which is very often followed by frowns and furrowed brows from the procurement team at Mantis World. I love a challenge and over the years we have had some fantastic projects that perhaps we wouldn’t ordinarily have thought we would get involved with.
Which tune can‘t you get out of your head at the moment?
I am a Mod and follow the scene actively, so my influences are mostly 60s, Motown and northern soul. I get to see a lot of new emerging bands and plenty of tribute acts. Currently I’m listening to Paul Weller‘s latest album True Meanings.
What‘s your favourite sports team?
I am an Arsenal fan as I was born very close to Highbury. My grandfather was a season ticket holder at Arsenal and started taking me to home games from the age of four, much to the dismay of my dad who was a seasoned Spurs fan. It was always a controversial issue in my family, but we all managed to get along – well, most of the time.
Tomato ketchup or brown sauce?
Depends what it is I’m eating. I always have brown sauce with a bacon sandwich, but tomato ketchup with a Cornish pasty. I have lived in the West Country for the past 30 years so I have a wealth of Cornish pasty knowledge.
What‘s your greatest ambition?
To be able to pass on my experience and knowledge in this industry to the next eager generation. I’m not planning to retire any time soon, but I do believe that it is important to encourage younger people to stay with this industry and not perhaps jump from job to job, which tends to happen far more these days than it did in the past.
What was the last book you read?
I’m a big book reader and spend a lot of my free time with my head in a good book or my Kindle. The last book I read was ‘Slow Horses‘ by Mick Herron, which is the first in a fictional series of books about a field office for rejected MI6 officers who still remain in the service but are sent to this office to do very mundane, database work, but end up getting themselves into all sorts of trouble.
What’s your hidden talent?
I can identify the brand by smell and taste of around 30 single malt whiskeys. I‘m happy to prove this if you want to buy me one and take up the challenge, although I can only do this with Scottish whiskey.
If you were to pursue another occupation, what would it be?
I’m not sure I would consider any other occupation as I truly love this business, but I always thought being a corporate pilot working for a small jet airline would be a good career.
If you could be anywhere on Earth right now, where would you be?
I‘ve always wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands, so that would be nice.
Which gadget or app couldn‘t you live without?
My Kindle. I have saved a fortune in excess baggage charges since I had one.
If you could ask one person (living or dead) one question, what would you ask?
I’d ask Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) to let me have a spare key for the garage that houses his classic car collection.