When the opportunity to stand for council came along I took up the challenge and was successful in being elected. First elected to represent Banff on the Banff and District Council in 1994, I have been honoured to be re-elected since then having now served as a councillor for almost 30 years.
During this period not only have I represented the community on various committees, I have also represented the community and businesses on many other organisations throughout the region and the rest of Scotland.
I left school to work in the family business and by the time I was in my early 20s I had developed a large customer portfolio including supplying several High St retailers in the UK and mainland Europe as well as leading food service and catering companies. I was responsible for over 150 staff and established one of the largest privately owned seafood companies in Scotland.
In my mid 20s I was appointed chairman of the Scottish Fish Processors Association and Chairman of the Joint Group Training Association for the processing industry. During that period there were well over 300 seafood processors in the North East of Scotland. I travelled extensively to buy fish from all over the UK and to meet customers and find new markets.
When the family business was sold to a large salmon company I choose to take up an offer to project manage the Grampian Seafood Project. This was established to assist seafood processors with all aspects of their business from finance, market and product development, logistics and property expansion.
Up until recently I was chairman of the Moray Firth Inshore Fisheries Group covering the coastal area from Fraserburgh to the Pentland Firth. During this tenure I was involved in delivering projects to benefit inshore fishermen from onshore infrastructure to safety issues at sea. The introduction of Inshore Mackerel quota has helped many of our smaller ports and local fishermen.
I still represent Moray Firth Inshore Fishermen's Association and also assist with the development of projects to increase the value of their seafood.
Having left the seafood processing industry I returned a few years ago and set up the Scottish Seafood Association. It was apparent the processing sector did not have a strong voice or influence in the political arena. Within a year the association became a leading organisation representing the interests including fishermen, processors, transport and logistics, packaging and other industry stakeholders. The intervention of the association provided a vehicle for the industry in playing a vital role in ensuring some of the unworkable policies being considered by government were not put into place.
I have also been directly involved in the hospitality and tourism sector. A co founder of Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, I have owned and managed several hotels. In all cases taking establishments either not trading or rescuing from the brink of closure, turning them into the most popular venues for accommodation, entertainment, weddings, functions and fine dining.
A few examples of what has been achieved in the ward.
In my mid twenties I took up Shotokan Karate and achieved the level of 5th Dan. I traveled extensively here in Scotland and many European countries competing and coaching. I ran a very popular class in Banff for a number of years. I was recently honoured for my services at a reception in Aberdeen by the Japanese Consul General
Having strong roots in the ward, wife a deputy head teacher, the last of my four children at the academy, links with many people and businesses throughout Grampian, I believe these are essential attributes to represent the ward.
People are turned off from establishment politics and want to see the return of local democracy and to put trust in their elected representatives to work in their interests and not prop up central belt and Westminster policies.