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Network VEKA MD John Ogilvie chats to Steve Davis about ‘jungle life’

Network VEKA MD John Ogilvie chats to Steve Davis about ‘jungle life’ and the snooker legend’s valuable role as Brand Ambassador.

Congratulations on doing so well in the ‘I’m a Celeb Jungle’ last year!
What was the best bit?
Jumping out of a helicopter and free falling for 20 seconds was the most frightened I’ve ever been. (Apart from seeing Mewy’s golf trousers!)*
Also the camaraderie in the camp was brilliant. I haven’t laughed so much in years!

What was the most challenging aspect of being in the jungle?
I didn’t find any part of it that difficult. Some people had problems with phobias, some with people. Me? I just kept tripping over things! Didn’t actually know I was THAT clumsy! I put it down to the floor not being level … and it being in the Southern Hemisphere!

What did you appreciate most about being out?
(Apart from being able to attend Network VEKA events…)
Food and a luxury hotel. I lost over a stone in weight in 18 days in camp. The ‘rice and beans diet’ with very little sugar works amazingly well.

You recently agreed to extend your contract and continue representing Network VEKA until at least 2016.
What originally made you decide to become Network VEKA’s Brand Ambassador all those years ago? I don’t generally put my name to products and companies but I was so impressed with the policing and standards that are in place with Network VEKA, it just made sense. It’s something I actually believe in wholeheartedly.

You must still be very satisfied to put your name to the organisation?
The many reasons I was happy to become Brand Ambassador in the first place still hold true.
It’s so tough to become a member of Network VEKA, I know only the most professional companies are accepted. It means I can represent them with complete confidence.

The home improvement and double glazing market can be quite a scary place for consumers – you hear so many ‘horror stories’. That’s why I was (and still am) proud to get behind an organisation that puts customers first. The guarantees are rock solid, so it takes all the risk out of choosing a trustworthy company.

What do you feel is the most valuable aspect of Network VEKA for homeowners?
The peace of mind is priceless: customers know that if they look for the Network VEKA logo they are guaranteed to find a trustworthy, knowledgeable company.Plus, every installation is covered by the organisation’s ten-year insurance-backed guarantee.

What do you think is the greatest benefit to members?
I’ve been to lots of Network VEKA events and I hear time and time again how much they appreciate the marketing support that’s available. It sets them on another level compared to their local competitors. Plus it must be a huge benefit to be part of a membership of like-minded people sharing ideas and chatting about industry issues.

What do you enjoy most about your role as Brand Ambassador?
I’ve been in the role so long I’ve got to know a lot of the member companies and the staff at Network VEKA – people you can have a real laugh with.
I enjoy going out to member company’s local areas and helping with sales events and open days. 
hatting to people, challenging them on the snooker table and drumming up awareness – and if I can help boost their sales – well that’s just fantastic. Apparently AWC Windows & Home Improvements secured £42k worth of sales leads at a recent open day I helped out with. I like to think that I helped with that a little…

You’ve spent a lot of time at member events and AGMs over the years, any stories that stand out in particular?
I think my favourite moment had to be the indoor fireworks escapade. Indoor fireworks and smoke detectors apparently don’t mix.

But it was nice to see the big red fire engine turn up as ALL the hotel guests (not just the Network VEKA room) were evacuated to the safety of the putting green!

A few wives were not happy that their pamper day had been interrupted and that their hour-long hot stones massage had a 30 minute interval while the hose-ready fire service sprang into action. A few seemed a little flushed after that and apparently couldn’t concentrate on the rest of the treatment.

Any big plans for the next 12 months? (We heard a book rumour…)
Not sure what my plans for the next year are. Firstly I’d like to continue on the main snooker tour, even though I treat snooker more like a hobby these days.
I’ll know the answer to that by the end of April and then I’ll cross bridges when I get to them.
The book should be fun – the first ten chapters are just going to have: “woke up, practised, went to bed.” It should be a cracking page turner!

*Peter Mew of Mews Windows: a larger-than-life Network VEKA member with a penchant for colourful trousers.

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