Back in 1988 you could get a pint of lager and a packet of crisps for just £1.60, the average house price was £65,000 and Mick Burnett started working for us here at Brown McFarlane.

We asked our long standing Group Purchasing Director a few questions to commemorate this milestone long service award. Let’s see what he had to say about working for us for 3.5 decades!

What was your first job at Brown McFarlane and what lead you here?

I started at BMF in CAD on a YTS placement from Stoke iTech (Information Technology college on Regent Road. The building where I studied now houses the Macari Centre).  After 6 months I was taken on full time in July 1988.  The CAD machine in those days was a dedicated machine which was the size of a small car!  It was slow, no mouse and everything was drawn using points and lines programmed from a keyboard.  I was so grateful when we upgraded the system, it even had a colour screen!  I moved into Quality Assurance after CAD, then into Sales before returning to the QA department as QA Manager.  I then began to get involved in some of the more technical orders, assisting the Purchasing Manager, whilst also carrying out my quality duties and project managing large wind tower orders (quite a busy period!).  In 2010 I was asked to take over as the purchasing manager, it was a massive step up in responsibility and quite daunting in the early months!  I must have done something right as in 2012 I was promoted to Group Purchasing Director with the responsibility for steel purchases for the UK, Singapore and Dubai operations.  Although we no longer have stock in Singapore & Dubai, we still service these regions from our UK facility and trading partners throughout the world.

When you think about your 35 years here, is there anything that stands out that you’re particularly proud of?

 I’m proud of seeing the business grow over the years and contributing to that and helping maintain the strong brand reputation we have today. I’m also proud of the supplier relationships I’ve built up over the years, our suppliers are so important to what we do, and we work with some excellent suppliers.

When you think about the company over the last 35 years, how has the company changed for the better since you first started?

I don’t miss the smoke-filled office that I started working life in all those years ago.  The office and warehouse facilities we have today are excellent.  A nicer, and more importantly, safer environment to work in.

You’ve obviously seen huge technology changes over the years, what things stand out for you?

 Back in the day, if you wanted to find some information about a specification, you had to read a book….or find someone who knew.  It’s a lot easier these days with the Internet!  I can remember the company getting their first fax machine in the late 1980’s, good riddance to the old slow Telex machine!  In terms of quick communication in writing, email is a revelation, and it’s difficult to imagine working life without it now.

If you could give the you from 35 years ago one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t spend time worrying about things you can’t control.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love football and am a big Manchester United fan. You’ll also find me watching the F1 supporting our British drivers. Whilst I always enjoy watching Lewis Hamilton’s performances, I’ve been really impressed with Lando Norris recently. I still play Hockey for Leek Hockey Club…well I turn up. You’ll also find me enjoying family holidays from Lanzarote to Dubai!



When we asked Mick for any funny stories over the years he said there weren’t any appropriate for our website which just goes to show his professional dedication even after all these years.

Whilst Mick may have changed jobs over the last 35 years, two things haven’t changed – his excellent work ethic and his hair cut!

Congratulations and thank you for the 35 years you’ve contributed to making Brown McFarlane one of the world’s leading specialists in steel plate distribution. The countdown to retirement begins…



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