Episode 1 Mental Health
In this episode, installer and mental health advocate Gary Bedford speaks to expert Lauretta Wilson about how tradespeople can manage their mental health and support those around them.
Lauretta is a HCPC and BPS-registered counselling psychologist with more than 20 years' experience working with children and young adults, adults, couples and families in the NHS, voluntary and charity sectors. At her private practice, The London Psychologist Centre, Lauretta uses solution-focused therapies which empower people to learn better ways to manage their stresses and strains.
Gary is a Gas Safe registered engineer with more than two decades of experience in the trade, and has his own company, GRB Plumbing & Heating Limited. Gary is an advocate for mental health in the trade, and has led a number of discussions around the topic on social media and in the press.
Need more guidance on managing mental health issues?
NHS resources for stress, anxiety and depression
MIND, the mental health charity
Mates in Mind, a charity addressing the stigma of poor mental health and promoting positive mental wellbeing across workplaces
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45
Episode 2 Marketing
In this episode we speak to two guests: James Lacey and Holly Hickey, to get their advice on how installers can use marketing basics, without needing to be experts in the field or have a huge budget.
James started off as a one-man band and grew his company, JLN Plumbing, to a limited business with more than 14 employees. His brand positioning, website, social media presence and customer service are excellent examples of best practice for a small business in this sector, providing inspiration for other installers who want to scale up their operation.
Holly is a consultant for a specialist trade marketing agency that provides services to businesses in the plumbing and heating, construction and electrical sectors; from large conglomerates to small firms with one or two employees. Her work involves understanding complex trade businesses and providing tailored, realistic and scalable advice to enhance their reputations, communicate with customers and drive leads.
Episode 3 Running a Family Business
In this episode, we speak to father and daughter team Danny and SianTickner from Samsian Ltd about the ups and downs of running a family business, and the perspectives of two different generations on the future of the industry.
Established in 2010 and with more than 30 years’ experience within the plumbing and heating industry, Samsian Ltd is a family-run business operating in Kent and South London, specialising in boiler installation, repair and service for domestic and commercial customers.
Episode 4 Business Resilience
In episode four we speak to three guests: David Etheridge, Carl Ohrman and Andy Taylor to hear their experiences on the highs and lows of the last few months. In addition, they each offer practical advice and tips on how installers can use some of the lessons from lockdown to boost their own business resilience and ensure that the bounce back is bigger than the set back.
Carl Ohrman is the owner of Midland Domestic Services based in Coventry. A second-generation family business, which was established in 1985 by Carl’s father. A small business, serving the Warwickshire and West Midlands area, Carl now employs three engineers alongside his wife.
David Etheridge is one of the Directors at Gasman Energy, a premium business, offering high end quality products to its customers. Based in Glasgow, the business has been running for just over 12 years and currently employs 14 engineers.
Andy Taylor is Commercial Director at Electric House, a social media publisher behind online communities including On The Tools. Created especially for those working in the trades, On The Tools now has more than 4.5 million followers. The business itself is based in Birmingham and employs 64 people across a variety of functions including creative, production and design.
Episode 5 Diversifying Your Business with Heat Pumps
In this episode we speak to three guests: Mark Wilkins, Ryan Halliday and Christian Ford to learn more about how installers can safeguard their business with renewables. The episode covers the factors driving decarbonisation of heat, together with a closer look at how heat pumps are supporting this. In addition, both Christian and Ryan outline their own experiences around diversifying their businesses and the support available to those thinking of starting on their own renewable journey.
Ryan Halliday is a director at Roxburgh Heating, based in the Scottish Borders. Founded in 2005, the business supports both domestic and commercial customers, installing a variety of energy efficient heating systems. As part of the business’ ongoing growth plans it has recently made the move into installing heat pumps.
Christian Ford is a director at Indigo Renewables in Leicestershire. Established over 13 years ago, its team has over 30 years’ experience in the heating and renewable sector, providing specialist installation of air and ground source heat pumps along with biomass and solar thermal systems across the whole of the midlands region.
Mark Wilkins is head of training and external affairs at Vaillant. Having worked in the heating industry for more than 35 years, Mark heads up Vaillant’s training programme across the UK to external customers including specifiers, installers and designers.
Episode 6 Mental Health Revisited
Revisiting the topic of the very first episode of The Vaillant Podcast, in this episode Simon Whysall chats with Dr Luke Sullivan and Oliver Stark to learn more about mental health and how we can open up and have those all-important conversations with our employers.
Dr Luke Sullivan is a clinical psychologist within the NHS and on top of this is also the founder of Men’s Minds Matter, a not-for-profit organisation which was created in 2009. The charity is dedicated to the prevention of male suicide by building psychological resilience and emotional strength.
Oliver Stark is a heating engineer at Plumbgas based in Stafford. Having worked within the industry for more than a decade Oliver was previously self-employed before joining Plumbgas in 2020 and is a strong advocate for mental health awareness.
Episode 7: Going Green with Martin McTague and James Lacey
Joining host Simon Whysall on The Vaillant Podcast is Martin McTague from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and James Lacey owner of JLN Plumbing and Heating.
Martin is the chair of policy and advocacy at the FSB which represent more 150,000 small businesses across the UK. The FSB work closely with government to provide the best possible environment for these businesses to thrive in.
Meanwhile, James started off as a one-man band and grew his company, JLN Plumbing, to a limited business with more than 14 employees. In this episode James offers his own first-hand insight on some of the ways in which his business has been able to successfully adopt greener ways of working which have also helped improve business efficiencies too.
Looking at the drivers for a net zero carbon future, both guests offer their thoughts on what it means to be sustainable and identify some of the small steps businesses can make to become more environmentally friendly.
Episode 8: The Internet of Things
In this episode of The Vaillant Podcast we tackle the topic of Internet of Things (IoT), how we define it, and how the IoT and connected devices are enabling installers to work smarter not harder.
Host Simon Whysall is joined by guests Grant Gundelfinger and Karen Matthews from the Mayfly Group Ltd, together with Kenny Virdee, IoT partnership manager at Vaillant, to explore the ways in which connected devices are becoming increasingly popular within the home and how those working in the plumbing and heating industry can utilise this technology to introduce new business services and models.
Since joining Vaillant more than 20 years ago as a service engineer, Kenny Virdee is now responsible for the successful implementation and delivery of Vaillant’s own IoT strategy. Working with a skilled team Kenny manages the integration of Vaillant’s own technology to support the day-to-day lives of installers.
Heating Installer of the Year 2021 winner, Grant Gundelfinger is a co-founder and director at the Mayfly Group Ltd, which is based in Leeds. With more than 15 years’ experience, Grant is familiar with the role connected devices can have on the way he runs his business.
Since starting her career in the industry in 2008, Karen Matthews, who is Grant’s business partner, and director & co-founder at the Mayfly Group Ltd, has championed the way she and her business can utilise technology to deliver the very best in service for customers.
The Technical Series - Episode 1 Heat Pumps
Heat Pumps with Mark Wilkins, Craig Dolan and Christian Ford
The Vaillant Podcast is a heating industry podcast designed to support installers with every aspect of their working lives. In this new, shorter, series, our team of industry experts is joined by a host of guests to dive into the detail when it comes to a range of technical topics.
In this first episode, we speak to three guests, Mark Wilkins, Craig Dolan and Christian Ford, to take a deep dive into the workings of heat pumps. The episode also covers Vaillant’s recently launched aroTHERM plus to find out how the business’ latest product development is enabling homeowners to reduce their overall household carbon emissions.
Christian Ford is a Director at Indigo Renewables in Leicestershire. Established over 13 years ago, its team has over 30 years experience in the heating and renewable sector, providing specialist installation of air and ground source heat pumps, along with biomass and solar thermal systems across the whole of the midlands region.
Mark Wilkins is Head of Training and External Affairs at Vaillant. Having worked in the heating industry for more than 35 years, Mark heads up Vaillant’s training programme across the UK to external customers including specifiers, installers, and designers.
Craig Dolan is a Product Manager for Heat Pumps at Vaillant. As part of the renewable technologies team, Craig is responsible for the development of the business’ entire heat pump range across the UK.
The Technical Series - Episode 2 Water Quality
Water Quality with Neil McDonald and Paul Honeyman
In this episode, Mark Wilkins speaks to two guests, Paul Honeyman and Neil Macdonald, to examine the role water quality plays in an efficient heating system.
Neil Macdonald is Technical Manager at the Heating & Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC). Neil’s role sees him co-ordinating industry stake-holder engagement on a range of technical and policy focused issues.
Mark Wilkins Training and Technologies Director at Vaillant. Having worked in the heating industry for more than 35 years, Mark heads up Vaillant’s training programme across the UK to external customers including specifiers, installers and designers.
Paul Honeyman is head of product management at Vaillant and has been with the business for more than 15 years. Within his current role at, Paul oversees all product management activity across the Vaillant UK business.
The Technical Series - Episode 3 Senso Controls
In this episode, Mark Wilkins speaks to two guests, Andrew Ireland and Michael Dawes, to better understand how the Vaillant range of senso controls is helping make installers’ and their customers' lives easier - both now and into the future.
Michael is the owner of Your Plumbing. Based in Northumbria, and with over a decade’s experience working in the trade, Michael works within the domestic market and is a Which? accredited Trusted Trader. Having worked as a Vaillant Advance installer for nearly nine years, Michael regularly installs Vaillant controls, and his insight into the range gives listeners an honest view on the features and benefits that will interest installers and homeowners alike.
Andrew is Vaillant’s Digital Technologies Development Manager. As part of his role Andrew develops and manages the connected product portfolio at Vaillant, and was heavily involved in bringing the senso range of controls to market.
The Technical Series - Episode 4: The Future of Heating
With the Government setting clear ambitions for a net zero future, attention has turned to the low carbon heating solutions which will help the industry achieve its target. One piece of this puzzle, which is increasingly dominating the headlines, is hydrogen. But what is the reality of this solution?
In this episode of The Vaillant Podcast takes installers on a journey to understand what hydrogen is, and its place within a low carbon future.
In addition, this episode also aims to demystify some of the common misconceptions surrounding hydrogen including; its roll out, required infrastructure, and its applications, before finally looking at the practicalities for installers looking to make a move into low carbon heating solutions.
In this episode, we’re joined by three guest speakers:
Mark Danter, Senior Strategy Manager at Northern Gas, joins us to discuss realistic plans for the roll out of hydrogen gas into the UK grid, and the challenges it poses.
Steve Keaton, Director of External Affairs and Future Portfolio at Vaillant, discusses how we’re preparing for a low carbon future at Vaillant.
Spencer Clark, Commercial Director at Vaillant, joins us to discuss some of the most common misconceptions surrounding hydrogen, and to further expand on how we look to support installers.