From apprentice to director, John Morgan celebrates 50 years at Barnwood

Barnwood John Morgan

One of Gloucester’s best known building companies has paid tribute to its Operations Director who is celebrating 50 years with the business.

John Morgan started with Barnwood Shopfitting as a 15-year-old apprentice.

Looking back over the last 50 years, now as Operations Director for Barnwood Construction for the last six years, he says he’s enjoyed every bit of it.

He said: “This is a great company with a great future and I have no doubt it’ll be here for another 50 years.”

And if it was up to Barnwood Managing Director Simon Carey, he could. Simon said: “I’d like him to stay for at least another 50 years and he probably would if he could. John is one in a million – they don’t make them like him anymore”.

John, who lives in Upton St Leonards with Lyn, his wife of 43 years, started with Barnwood Builders in 1970.

“I started off as an apprentice with GCEs in woodwork, maths and technology,” he said.

Barnwood Builders, which began in 1962, has grown into the Barnwood Group with a turnover of more than £102 million last year.

Comprising Barnwood Construction, Barnwood Shoplifting and Barnwood General Works, the

Honeybourne Place, Cheltenham. Designed by Roberts Limbrick Architects, 2019

Group has worked on major projects including Bakers Quay in Gloucester, Honeybourne Place in Cheltenham and the campus for Gloucestershire College in the Forest of Dean.

And John, 66 and now a grandfather, moved through the ranks from an apprentice to a joiner and then leading the team setting out – drawing up plans and sizes for shopfitting – and into senior roles before being appointed operations director six years ago.

“I prefer the day-to-day things and dealing with everything coming at you than I do sitting behind a desk plodding on,” he said.

“The speed of shopfitting and the time you get to do a project is the big difference nowadays. We used to have 18-20 weeks to do a building society or a shop fit, now we get around eight.

Despite being heading to retirement age, he says he has no intention of calling time on his lengthy stay – at least not yet.

Glos College Forest of Dean Campus“I’ll look at retiring in a few years’ time, solely to let the younger ones come through,” he said. “It wouldn’t be fair for someone like me to stay on forever and restrict other people to get ahead no matter how much I enjoy it here.

“I think the future of the company is really exciting. We have a book of excellent projects for this year and next, so it’ll keep me pretty busy for a while yet.”

Simon Carey added: “Its been great having someone like John here for all these years. He is without doubt one of the most professional and experienced people I know in this trade.”