Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
5:00 AM 6th December 2021

10 in 10: Jason Francis - Widd Signs

Jason Francis, installation manager at Leeds-headquartered Widd Signs is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat as we give him just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions.

What does a typical working day for you involve?

It's a cliché, but no two days are ever the same in my role which sees me schedule and oversee every signage installation the business carries out, both in the UK and abroad – and that’s one of the many things I love about my job.

My role takes me all over, so while I’m based at the company’s Leeds headquarters, I could be anywhere in the country – or further afield – on any given day, managing and supporting my 25-strong installation team.

The first thing I typically do at the start of each day is to check that all the previous day’s installations went according to plan, troubleshooting and managing any complications where necessary.

I’ll then turn my attention to the upcoming installations we have, identifying any potential challenges and putting plans in place to ensure that each job runs smoothly and according to the specified timings.

We’re proud of the 100% safety record we have here at Widd Signs, and that’s down to good planning and our professional installation teams delivering the work in the right manner, every time.

The final part of the morning might see me involved in a management or a production team meeting, working with my colleagues to ensure that the business continues to operate efficiently and effectively.

In the afternoon, I typically try to get out to a job or two to provide whatever support and assistance I can to the site teams and ensure that every project is delivered to the highest standard.

Many of our installations, particularly for retail sector clients, involve night time working, so it’s not unusual for me to check in with teams late into the evening to ensure they have everything they need to deliver a brilliant job.

What makes your company special?

I’ve worked for many signage companies over the years, but what makes Widd Signs really stand out is its supportive culture and strong team spirit. Everyone is working for the team, and if a colleague is faced with a challenge, we’re all there to help and support as required to solve issues and deliver award-winning work. It’s that sense of camaraderie and coming together to achieve a common goal that I really love.

Do you have any business rules that you swear by?

I think it’s incredibly important to have the right attitude in the workplace. You can teach skills but it’s much harder to teach people to have the right attitude.

I’m currently on the lookout for skilled installers to join the Widd Signs team and the first thing I look for in any applicant is evidence that they have a positive, can-do attitude. I want to recruit people who strive for excellence in whatever they’re doing and go the extra-mile when it’s needed.

Do you dress up or down for work?

Generally, you’ll find me wearing site-suitable clothing as I’m often out and about with my installation teams, but if I’m meeting with clients then I’ll tend to dress more formally.

What piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

It’s better to regret something you have done, than something you haven’t. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Actively seek out new experiences and challenges and look at everything as a learning opportunity.

What’s your favourite venue for an event or team away day?

I don’t have a favourite venue per se, but I do love to bring the team together over a curry at one of the region’s very many incredible curry houses. For me, such outings are a great way for us all to get to know one another away from the job and build that team spirit that Widd Signs is renowned for.

How do you prefer to travel for business?

The sites I visit are all over the UK and not always easily accessible using public transport, so it’s most practical for me to travel by car, particularly as I often have samples with me of the different types of signage we offer.

What’s your favourite place to relax?

I enjoy sea fishing, so in my downtime you’ll often find me on Yorkshire’s coast. I particularly enjoy heading over to Scarborough and Bridlington – they’re lovely little towns with some beautiful beaches.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?

As you already know, I love my curries, so while I don’t have a specific favourite place or dish, I’m never happier than when I’m in one Yorkshire’s curry houses trying a new dish that I haven’t had before. The only dishes I avoid are the ones that are ludicrously hot – I don’t see the point in destroying my taste buds!

What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you’re away?

That’s easy – the people! I’m from the south of England originally – my accent is a giveaway – but I find people in the north to be much friendlier and warmer. I’ve pretty much been adopted by my colleagues as an honorary Yorkshire man, which I’m very proud of.