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Meet the team

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John O’Conner Chairman

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John O’Conner

Bio

John O’Conner is a ‘large as life’ person who still shapes the vision of the company. John founded the company in 1969 after eight years of providing gardening jobs in his spare time.

Due to his enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment to delivering exceptional quality, John won more grounds maintenance contracts and the business grew steadily. In 1973, John employed his first member of staff and he continued to recruit additional personnel to meet the needs of his growing client base.

Matt O’Conner Managing Director

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Matt O’Conner

Bio

Matt has a wealth of experience gained within the industry, working closely with all major partners, clients and staff. After graduating with a degree in horticulture, Matt progressed through a range of operational roles, before being appointed managing director in 2007.

Matt is focused on constant innovation within the industry and is a National Apprentice Ambassador. He has been recently appointed the chairman for BALI for 2018.

Neil Cain Operations Director

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Neil Cain

Bio

Neil has a long and experienced history in the horticulture industry dating back to 1980 when he joined the Sunderland City Council apprenticeship scheme. He joined John O’Conner in 2008 and has nearly 40 years’ experience of grounds maintenance, arboriculture and landscape experience.

Along with Matt, Neil is a National Apprentice Ambassador and National Apprenticeship Service Apprentice Champion for the year 2016. He is also a judge for both Keep Britain Tidy Blue Flag (international award for beaches) & Green Flag (parks and open spaces).

Nikki Singh-Barmi Strategic Director

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Nikki Singh-Barmi

Bio

Nikki joined John O’Conner in 2017 after a successful career in service delivery, most recently driving operational excellence at board level for 10 years with a national service provider. He has proven history of developing award winning and industry first systems and processes, and is a key individual to our strategy of continued development.

Ian Pitkin Contracts Director

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Ian Pitkin

Bio

Ian has been with John O’Conner for 27 years, with over 20 as a board member. Ian has wide knowledge of HR and procurement as well as extensive industry experience, the understanding of client needs and the practicalities ‘on the ground’.

Stephen Golder Regional Manager (Scotland)

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Stephen Golder

Bio

Stephen is an experienced grounds maintenance professional having previously been managing director for ‘Golder Grounds Maintenance Ltd’ in Scotland. John O’Conner acquired Golder Grounds Maintenance in 2017 and appointed Stephen our regional manager for Scotland. He has a wealth of experienced gained through delivering grounds maintenance contracts in the Central Belt of Scotland and for Scottish local authorities.

Shaun Nicholls Regional Manager (North)

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Shaun Nicholls

Bio

Shaun has been with John O’Conner for 27 years since joining in 1991 working as a grounds maintenance operative and quickly worked his way up to contract manager. He believes in establishing long term relationships with customers built on trust and cooperation. Shaun’s management style is open and honest, building confidence with client and colleagues through planning and communication.

Martin Perry Regional Manager (South)

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Martin Perry

Bio

Martin is a knowledgeable and horticulturally-trained senior manager with 30 years horticulture experience. Martin joined the company in 1999 as a senior contract manager before being appointed regional manager in 2006.

AVDC’s trees are typical of central English agricultural landscapes with willows and poplars being dominant along watercourses.

Hedgerow trees are predominantly ash, oak, field maple, elm, elder, hawthorn, blackthorn and sycamore; reflecting New Forest District Council’s species profile.

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