Barmouth entrepreneur highlights influence on career of leading manufacturer and Wales rugby benefactor Tony Brown

BARMOUTH-raised recruitment entrepreneur Ross Porter has paid tribute to the influence late businessman and rugby benefactor Tony Brown had on his career.

Ross, managing director of  Clear Sky Recruitment, who lives in Blackwood, Caerphilly, but was born and bred in Barmouth, met the former owner of office equipment manufacturer Bisley more than two decades ago.

But despite the length of time since then, the meeting with manufacturer and Newport , South Wales rugby benefactor Tony Brown who died recently aged 86, remains fresh in the business-owner’s memory.

Ross, winner of the Gwent Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2000, said: “I remember meeting Tony Brown like it was yesterday. Although I only had the pleasure of sharing Tony’s company once, it felt like I’d known him for years once we started to speak.  I admired Tony for what he achieved in business and for being a genuinely nice person who always had time for people from all backgrounds.”

Ross said that meeting and receiving the award gave him a boost as he launched his business: “Being recognised as the best entrepreneur in Gwent at the outset of my career meant a lot to me. I guess it was nice to get some recognition for the long days I was working at the time to get my business out of the blocks.

“I’d sold all my possessions to raise funds to start my business back in 1999, so if you can imagine, I was under quite a bit of pressure to make the business succeed.

“I wouldn’t say that winning the award gave me a huge boost in confidence, as I’ve always been a very confident individual, but it did give me the inspiration to push on and to try and make a name for myself in the recruitment sector. Recognition is always nice and I remember feeling really proud to have been voted as the Gwent Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

And, although winning the accolade was welcome Ross says the journey of almost a quarter of a century since then has been  anything but plain sailing.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride! Like many, I have had good times, bad times, and uncertain times; but I am pleased to say that I am still on the ride! My journey has also allowed me to meet some fantastic people along the way and I am still as passionate about the industry as much as I was when my career began, although a lot has changed over the years.

“There have been many highlights during the last 24 years, however, one highlight that jumps out at me is when I was fortunate enough to have been able to take a group of children who were in foster homes and their foster carers to experience a VIP day in a hospitality box at Cardiff City FC (Ninian Park). I managed to arrange for some of the players to come up to see the kids after the game and to make a fuss of them. Everyone enjoyed the day and the players and the staff were amazing with the kids.

Ross, who is originally from the North Wales coastal town of Barmouth where he retains strong ties, said: “Since an early age, I have just wanted to better myself and my situation. When our children were born, the driving factor changed in order to ensure that they didn’t have to struggle in years to come in the same ways that I did.

“Growing up in Barmouth in the 1970’s and 80’s was special. During those times, the town of Barmouth was full of characters, and I learned a lot about life in these formative years. In general, it seemed like the town had a no-holds-barred sense of humour which I feel helped me in later life.

“When I look back now, I can see and appreciate more the sacrifices that my parents made to provide for myself and my siblings. Times were tough back then, but I had a very happy life as a youngster. We may not have been able to afford the things some people took for granted, but the friendships we forged, and the bond we had, more than made up for it.”

Ross admits he may well have done some things differently if he had his time over but says he retains his optimistic outlook on life and business come what may.

“I wake up at 5.00am every morning, when my opportunity clock sounds its buzzer and I look forward to the day ahead. I guess it’s the not knowing what the day may bring is what gets me up in the morning. I’ve always been an early riser.”