Meet the member: Michael Walsh, MCIPHE RP

One of 2020’s newest members and owner of Walsh & Son celebrates signing up after 25 years, and the success of a rugby club that started on a council pitch

Q What do you love about your job?

A That you never stop learning. CPD is so important. I read everything; I even phone the manufacturers to ask questions. Some are great and some don’t like the trickier questions… I’m passionate about energy efficiency. I tell customers I deliver comfort, I don’t deliver heat.

Q How did you get into the industry?

A I started in a builder’s merchants and went to night school in Lewisham to learn 25 years ago. It took me three years. I had great teachers who really took an interest in me because I wanted to learn. I got onto some big contracts after that and learned on the job. It wasn’t the perfect way but I tell people that if there’s a hole to fall into, I fell into it. But that’s also how you learn.

Q How did you get into your current role?

A I got incorporated in 2002. It’s a small business; we specialise in Victorian refurbishments and wet rooms. It’s developed too – we’ve become involved in lots of heat loss prevention. It’s about doing something efficiently and to a standard. Our wet rooms are designed to British Standards.

Q What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt along the way?

A Not to let things get you down. If you don’t read in 40 years, you’ll have nothing but stress. If you never take the small wins, you’ll never survive. And social media; I’m on Twitter!

Q What are the benefits of a CIPHE membership?

A The peer-to-peer learning and the back-up. I know what I’m doing but the stress of finding the resources to help me before was huge. I wish I’d joined years ago. It should be a legal requirement that you join first, before your gas, NVQ or anything else.

Q Would you do it again?

A Every minute of every day I’ve done, I’ve loved it. The job’s given me a lot of heartache but also given me huge satisfaction – from solving something to showing I can run a business and be good at something. I still get excited every time I fire up a boiler for the first time. There’s still a bit of magic there and I’ve installed thousands.

Q Have you got a stand-out moment?

A Recently we did a domestic job in Streatham that I was really proud of. The previous installer hadn’t calculated the heating system. They thought 45KW would do, but it actually needed a lot less.

Q Tell us something people don’t know about you...

A I’ve been in rugby most of my life. I’ve been a player and coached Battersea Ironsides. We went from being a small club with a council pitch to challenging for an English title. That’s something special. Giving back is part of my DNA.

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