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To hAVe and to hold: ‘AV gave me more than just a salary – it gave me a family’

First comes love, then comes marriage... what started as an office romance, Focus 21's Michael Fisher reveals how swapping a career in roofing for AV reshaped his entire life

Having an office romance can be a very risky business, especially if you’re part of a very small team and uncertain on how the bosses might feel about it. 

Statistically, just 17 per cent of office romances’ end well, but thankfully, for Focus 21’s project manager Michael Fisher, his infatuation with Lucy from the admin team ended in a very happily ever after – and came with its blessing from his employers. 

The married father of two tells his story:

I left school at the age of 16 in 1999 and set about finding my first job, I stumbled upon Focus 21 who offered me a job as an installation engineer. There were only six other employees at the time and we were all based out of a client’s office in Staines, in fact one of my first jobs after joining was to fit the carpet in the new office!

After working for Focus 21 for four years I felt like I needed a change of scenery, I left the company to work for a friend as a roofer (sounded fun at the time!). I was young and going through the typical “I know best” stage that most of us have been through. After a couple of years I realised I’d made a mistake and contacted Jim [Harwood, MD], Focus 21 welcomed me back and have been part of my life and family ever since! I think they understood that I was growing up and they gave me the time and support to make the right decisions. They’ve always pushed me to try new roles within the company and I think at times saw things in me that I hadn’t yet realised.

Jim and Nigel [Warrilow, FD] treat everyone like individuals no matter how big the company gets they still manage to make time to get to know everyone and find out what makes them tick. Many of us here at Focus 21 have started in one role and then been encouraged to progress within the business by Jim and Nigel, I have seen so many people’s careers prosper because of this including my own.

During my time here at Focus 21, I have fulfilled many different roles, starting off as a junior installation engineer at 16 and working my way up to now being a project manager at 35.

It was at Focus 21 that I met my wife Lucy, she worked as an administrator. We started dating in 2002, some employers might have found issue with staff dating but the management team were great and have supported us as we grow as a couple, through dating, marriage and then as we started our family. In fact, when Lucy had our first child and wanted to return to work they installed a small office at our house for her so that when the kids were small she would have the flexibility to work where she needed.

I have so much respect for the management team at Focus 21, They never gave up on me even through difficult times and thanks to them I have so far had a successful career in AV and have a beautiful wife in Lucy and two great kids. I really couldn’t ask to work for better people.”