Robert Done, head of sales & marketing UK, Tromp Bakery Equipment
What is your current job and responsibilities?
I look after sales in the UK and Ireland from my office in Shrewsbury and travel around the country four days a week, visiting customers and developing new business basically with the aim of selling more Tromp machines. I enjoy the job and it keeps me very busy.
How did you get into the industry?
I started working after school at Whitfield & Noden craft bakery in Winsford, Cheshire, and stayed there for four years, doing my bakery certificates on day-release at Hollings College in Manchester.
I then moved to Roberts Bakery in Northwich, where I worked with bread, pastry and confectionery, and was even sent to the Richemont School in Switzerland on a course.
Can you chart your career progress after that?
I came to London to work at Allied Bakeries, running the confectionery department, then became factory manager when this evolved into a frozen food department. After a number of years, I decided to move back up north with my family and took a job running an in-store Tesco bakery. I was promoted to a regional bakery executive then made the move into sales first with Machinery Collette, then Cox Denholm, then Rondo. After that, I wanted to fulfil a dream by opening my own bakery Beehive Bakery in North Wales which had three shops and was a good wholesale business. But ultimately we suffered from the bread price war and the business closed. I went back into sales with JBS, then at Auto-Bake where I got made redundant from my post of European sales manager last year. I then started working for Tromp last October.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I had always aspired to own my own bakery and I’m really proud of that. I’m also proud that I’ve worked in the bakery and food business all my working life and I’m now nearly 60. I plan to carry on for a few years yet, as I believe the baking industry is one of the best to work in people have always got to eat. If you’re prepared to work at it, you can find yourself a good opportunity.