Getting to know youuuu
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like youuuuu
Getting to hope you like meeee …

Okay, perhaps the song from ‘The King and I’ is not relevant to the topic at hand, but word association and all that.

Seriously though – although it’s important to know about the products and service you receive from your water supplier, it’s equally important to get an idea about the people that you’re dealing with, especially if you don’t see them often.  Last week we introduced you to Martin Huburn, from the AquAid Birmingham office.

This week, we introduce to you *drumroll* – Josh Searle – who heads up the AquaAid office in San Francisco, U S of A.

This is what Josh had to say:

Name:  Joshua Searle    Role at AquAid:  Managing Director – AquaAid San Francisco      Years at AquAid:  6

My dad (Paul Searle) founded the company in 1998 so AquAid has been a big part of my life since the age of 9! I started working with the company at the age of 17 and this continued through the summer/Christmas holidays whilst I was at College and University. After University I managed to get involved with the charitable side of the business which was a great experience. It’s nice to know the business contributes to aiding Third World countries but to actually go out and see the work in the field was a unique opportunity.

Before relocating to the US office I worked for 18 months as the branch manager in Liverpool. The most enjoyable part of this experience for me was the staff, there is a great family feel in the office and I would have found it difficult to settle in to this position without the help of my colleagues. No single day is the same which adds variety to the job, whilst I preferred some parts to others, it certainly was never boring.

The U.S

Earlier this year AquAid started to investigate the possibility of opening a branch in the U.S. I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity of managing this office and decided to fly out in July to make sure this was something I wanted to do.

Two months later I returned alone to San Francisco to start the business.

Opening the office door on the day I arrived was surreal; the office was completely empty so the first step was to take a trip to IKEA. Several hours of reading instruction manuals later I had a desk, chair, filing cabinet, printer and phone.

It’s difficult to know where to begin when you have no customers, no internet, no water coolers and no friends. The time zone is eight hours behind so I couldn’t even message home and tell them to book me the next flight home!

On the first Monday I decided to go out canvassing on foot to introduce the business to the local companies around the Belmont area (this is where the office is located). People were surprisingly friendly – maybe because I looked completely out of my comfort zone and they were trying to be nice, either way it’s always easier to settle in to a new place if the people are welcoming.

One of my main concerns of relocating to the US was meeting new people and creating a network of friends because being 5,000 miles away from your closest friend is pretty strange. Fortunately whilst I am in the office alone at the moment I have managed to move in to a house where I’m sharing with 72 others. The house was originally a hotel which was subject to a huge fire in 2011.  As part of new investment in the area the house was restored and created for the purpose of housing young professionals. I’m 25 and single so it has worked out great for me and I now feel comfortable in the city.

A couple of months have passed now and we are in to double figures in terms of customers. San Francisco is joint only with New York as having the highest cost of living in the US. Unfortunately this has delayed the recruitment process and I am still the only man representing AquaAid in America. We are hoping to have a team of sales people by early January 2015 which will eventually be followed by admin staff and engineers – similar to the local office that is servicing your machines at the moment.

We are looking forward to a great year in 2015 and will be working hard to push sales over the next 12 months … so if you have any friends that have relocated to San Francisco, please let them know AquaAid have arrived and we would love to work with them on the other side of the pond!

– Josh