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Tony Mathe joins the CFJ Awards judging panel

TONY Mathe, director at Hillside Contracts, has joined the CFJ Awards judging panel as the fifth judge. He joins – Richard Renouf, independent flooring consultant; Fiona Bowman, senior FM consultant; Graeme Dewar, chartered surveyor; and John Butler, founder of JB Contracts – who will between them decide the finalists and winners.

Says Tony: ‘As with a lot of people, I started in the flooring industry at a young age and have never been able to escape! Having left Farnborough Technical College in the early ‘80s and after a brief spell working in a hotel in Fleet, Hampshire, my hometown, I was given the opportunity to learn how to lay floors. It turned out I was okay at it and it took me around the UK as well as Europe.’

After about 15 years of wearing his knees out, he decided to swap his kneepads for a shirt and tie, and joined a flooring contractor in Nottingham as a contracts manager.

‘In early 2001 I was contacted by Leicester-based, Hillside Contracts, which offered me the opportunity to work for them, again as contracts manager. Shortly after I was offered a directorship and have been with them ever since. That’s 23 years in April – where has the time gone, I often wonder?’

During his time at Hillside, he was asked by the then MD, Mary Sillitoe, if he would stand in for her at a Contract Flooring Association meeting. That led to a place on the council, which in turn led to him becoming president for a couple of years. He now lives in North Yorkshire with his wife Ann and his time is spent in the beautiful, if not a little wet, northern England.

The other judges include:
John Butler, who entered flooring as a carpet-fitter in 1963 and who was trained by Keith Shenton, today the oldest active floorlayer in the UK, formed his first company, Butler & Machin, in 1967. Later, he formed Contract Floor Installations which ran until 1995. Today, he runs John Butler Contracts, which specialises in several areas of flooring including retail areas in airports.

Richard Renouf, an independent consultant and consultant member of the CFA, a member of the UK Register of Expert Witnesses and a provisional member of the Expert Witness Institute. He’s also worked as an independent expert witness for furnishings complaints for more than 27 years, writing reports and giving evidence in court claims. He’s also a community first responder, attending 999 calls to save lives in his community – so he knows how to deal with matters of life and death.

Fiona Bowman MBA FCMI CIWFM. As a facilities management consultant with over 25 years’ experience in the property and facilities management world, Fiona has extensive client-side contract flooring experience both of fit out, refurbishment and construction projects with large corporates, financial institutions, insurance sector, education sector, healthcare sector, local authorities and charities. Understanding the complexities and pressures encountered by flooring contractors and manufacturers, delivering in tight timescales with sometimes difficult access issues into complex workspaces, has given her an excellent background to judge the CFJ Awards.

Graeme Dewar who, following extensive experience working in the public and private sectors for large multi-disciplinary practices, founded GD Surveyors in 2007 with the aim of providing a tailored, friendly and personalised service to clients. Graeme has developed a specialism in the insurance sector working on commercial and residential losses of varying values including fire, flood, subsidence and insurance surge situations. His work involves negotiation with insurers, loss adjustors and loss assessors, specification and project management of the reinstatement work. As well as residential his work him taken him into the education, commercial, retail and automotive sectors. In addition to building surveying, Graeme also undertakes project management work, gaining experience in the Nigerian market following regular work with a Nigerian Investment company.

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