I was born in the North East of England in the summer of 1972, spending my first 18 years there before securing a Trainee Manager role with John Menzies Distribution. I moved extensively around the UK with Menzies including Scarborough, Kendal, Nottingham and Edinburgh, meeting my wife Sharon, and becoming a father to my daughter Olivia.
After 10 years with Menzies, I joined Delifrance, as there Retail Sales & Operations Manager for the United Kingdom, introducing a Bakeoff sales concept around the UK, before joining Eon Energy as an account manager. This move had the biggest impact on my life, as it was here that I experienced Lean Thinking.
In June 2004 EON had a major change in directors, and with then came a change of thinking. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t in favour of change, and at the age of 34 I thought I was an accomplished manager, leading teams since I was 21, but I was asked to be part of a special project looking at the area of the business, which was causing a particular headache. I have always been a deep thinker and had been particularly good at fixing things.
It was at this point that I came into contact with John Seddon’s Vanguard Consultancy. The Vanguard Method was in changing management thinking, leading to changing performance. Its based heavily on Toyota Production System and W Edwards Deming and it quite literally changed my way of life. It helped me look at problems from new angles, using new tools. Leading to true End to End processes that not only saved millions but increased staff satisfaction, and improved customer loyalty. I was quite literally god smacked.
At this point, I said to myself that I would never judge anything ever again, and decided to approach everything I do with a fresh pair of eyes, in a non-judgemental way.
In 2005, I spoke to my father, Norman Harker about Freemasonry. My father had been a Freemason since 1978, had gained immense pleasure from the Fraternity, and was very active in Weardale County Durham. Dad didn’t tell me much, but he started the ball Rolling to have me initiated.
I became a Freemason on the 9th March 2006, by joining Odyssey Lodge 9739 in Crook, County Durham, a lodge where Dad was the founding Senior Warden in 2000. I was lucky to have my Dad do all my degrees.
After my father passed in 2013 I decided to extend my Masonic career by joining Vulcan Lodge in Alfreton, after a recommendation from the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Durham.
My journey so far has been a pleasing and most exhilarating, exciting experience. I have met great people, made great friends, and continue to do so.
At every lodge meeting and at every practice, I learn something new and have become more connected and involved with the world around me. I am proud of my lodges, my brothers and the Fraternity as a whole. I am passionate and believe you can make a difference in this world, and see real value in what freemasonry gives me as an individual and also what it gives to our communities.
Freemasonry Builds its Temples in the Hearts and Minds of Men.
My hobbies include Reading, Chess, Real Ale (CAMRA), and I’m partial to Clay Pigeon shooting, which I don’t do enough off.
My Masonic journey in 2017/2018 will involve becoming Worshipful Mast of Two craft lodges, joining the Mark Degree, which my father loved and then joining the Red Cross of Constantine.
If you are interested in becoming a Freemason, please get in touch.
Visit Odyssey Lodge 9739, My Mother lodge in County Durham
Visit VulcanLodge.org – My Derbyshire Lodge
Visit Alfreton Masonic Hall – A labour of Love
Visit freemasonrymatters.co.uk , My website promoting the combined efforts of Freemasons