Meet Tony Sullivan, owner of All Things Decontamination (ATD) Ltd
Here at the BIC, we know that business is personal and we love to know the people behind your brands. In this feature, we throw the spotlight on your real experiences of being in business – the good, the challenging and the sometimes surprising!
Today, BIC tenant Tony tells us why the prospect of professional cleaning gets him out of bed each day…
How long I’ve been in business: I launched in April last year when redundancy money meant I could finally fulfill my ambition of working for myself. I’m an RAF veteran and made a career in the medical and environmental decontamination industry after leaving the forces.
What we do: We provide advice, support, audit and training on medical device and environmental decontamination issues using environmentally-friendly chemistry and the most effective techniques. My business is going from strength to strength after I attended the BIC’s Veterans RV programme and had the support of expert business advisers as well as the energy of 16 ex-service personnel who were also aspiring entrepreneurs.
Why I’m running a business and not playing golf: At the age of 62 I decided to take redundancy from my job with the NHS. At that point I could have just opted to take it easy but there’s so much I want to do and I still have so much more to give! My redundancy money gave me the chance to reinvent myself. To see if I can make a difference by running my own business my own way. I have the experience, the contacts and the reputation in the industry for looking after clients, so I have lots to bring.
How I stumbled into this industry: A two-inch job advert in the paper caught my eye after leaving the RAF back in 2001 and I’ve never looked back. It’s a career that’s taken me around the world and led me to experiences I would never have imagined such as a role managing decontamination teams at the Commonwealth Games.
The thing that gets me out of bed each morning: I like things done properly. I’m a stickler for old-school standards – you have to be when it comes to hygiene. If there’s an outbreak of a virus, I’m relied upon to find out where it is and I can usually pinpoint exactly where it’s come from. Top tip – buttons and screens are often the source! TV remotes, cash machines, self-service screen restaurants and mobile phones are super spreaders. The best advice I can give anyone is to go back to basics to keep bugs at bay. Wash your hands thoroughly. During Covid, everyone paid so much more attention to this and norovirus was virtually eliminated. It’s back in full force now that people care less about hand washing…
The reason my industry deserves more recognition and respect: Decontamination is what I call ‘a Cinderella service’. It’s not appreciated or properly valued because it’s a behind-the-scenes job, yet without medical devices being decontaminated or public and clinical areas cleaned to a professional standard, hospitals simply could not run. I want to change things so decontamination is recognised as a skill set and the people who do such important work get the credit they deserve.
The strangest job I’ve done so far: I installed a hypochlorous acid / sodium hydroxide generator for a farmer to clean the hooves of his cattle. The company who I work alongside have been working with Glasgow University to develop an environmentally friendly way of preventing hoof rot and painful sores in dairy farms. They are using the hypochlorous acid (HOCL) for the hooves and the sodium hydroxide (NaO2) solution to do general washdowns and cleaning, both made from salt and water so environmentally friendly. HOCL was used in wound care during the First World War and our bodies naturally generate it to combat viruses and infection, so it really is a natural substance.
Find out more about my business:
Over to you!
Would you like to share your honest account of life in business? We’re keen to hear the amusing anecdotes, day-to-day dilemmas and unusual highlights of entrepreneurs to encourage others on the path to business ownership. Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch!