EXHIBITION NEWS May 2017 - Page 29

MY WORKING LIFE NEIL MacLEaN Director, SFN EXPO Imagine a lot of grass, by the sea, and sheep outnumbering people seven to one – that’s where I grew up. Right up the North West coast of Scotland, 90 miles in to nothingness after Inverness. I’m lucky to have an amazing family with one sister, mum and dad and a niece, Lily, who is my favourite person ever. My mum is a youth worker and my dad is a fish farmer. They also do a ton of charity work, setting up youth clubs almost every night of the week, to give the kids back home something to do. I believe ‘class clown’ was the term my parents heard the most at parents evening when I was at school. I actually had a pretty good work ethic outside of school for passing my exams, even asking to get professional tutoring where I was struggling. In high school I won best footballer, funniest boy and most likely to die of anorexia. The last two were yearbook awards, believe it or not. When I was about eight years old, I did a full summer working in a fish factory that my Grandpa managed, cooking crabs! After the fish factory I had two of my own jobs – still while in primary school. I would go down to the shores and pick whelks and sell the full bag at night for about £60. 29 At university I ran club nights more than I actually attended classes. It was what I did as soon as I graduated while I tried to figure out my ‘big idea’, which later became SFN EXPO. I was told it was the most stupid way to start a company: With no money, in debt and quitting your job to force yourself to succeed. I met my business partner Jamie a few months later and we decided to go into it together. We decided to set-up another company where we would outsource people looking for personal trainers, and that’s what kept us alive while we set-up the first year of SFN EXPO. I decided a couple of months ago that I would challenge myself to enter a strong man competition. I am 11 stone and the weight category is 14 stone. I’m currently eating seven meals a day to try and gain three stone, which is pretty extreme! I love to spend time with my girlfriend – she’s a vet student so her workload is huge, which is great, because our weekends tend to consist of time in the library, she studies and I work on the show. I met her on the dating app Tinder two years ago. She’s from New York/San Diego, which has led me to taking two holidays in a year where I hadn’t been on holiday in three years. I’ve seen every episode of Gilmore Girls and have a t-shirt that says, ‘Babette Ate Oatmeal’ – only me and teenage girls can say that. Lastly, I appeared slightly under the influence on the STV News at music festival Rockness when I was 17. Oh to be young again. We have been nominated for a lot, including four gongs at the 2016 EN Awards, but haven’t won anything. I have loved every second of working on SFN EXPO. It’s a great show that I would attend if I weren’t the owner. I’d love to run a pet show, if it meant I could play with loads of dogs. EN exhibitionnews.co.uk | May 2017