Meet the team: Spotlight on Thomas

He tinkers with 3D printers. He plays the guitar, and don’t even get him started on microbiology. This man loves his hobbies… and his work. Let’s meet Thomas and find out what he’s all about.


Hi Thomas, it’s lovely to meet you.
It’s great to meet you, too.


What do you do at the Italian Plumber?
I’m what you could call a ‘through-and-through’ plumber. It means that I don’t get involved with gas work or boiler installations.
It’s more of what we call ‘reactive’ work: unblocking sinks, fixing leaks, installing taps… that kind of thing.


How long have you been doing it?
My dad owned a plumbing company, so I’d helped him for some years, but I’ve been working solidly as a plumber for six years. I’ve worked for Samule for around 6 months.


Where are you originally from?
I’m from Durban, on the east coast of South Africa.


Wow! Another beautiful location.
Many of Samuele’s plumbers are from amazing places.
How long have you been in the UK?
Just over 2 years. I have good friends and family here… settling in was easy.
I feel very at home.


That’s great to hear!
What were you doing before you became a plumber?
I studied microbiology and biotechnology for nearly seven years.
It’s basically microorganisms on an industrial scale.


You lost me at ‘micro…’ It sounds like you were on your way to becoming a fully paid-up member of the boffin community. Why did you decide not to pursue it?
I always loved science, and still do. But upon giving the whole career more thought, I realised that my day-to-day job would have been far from glamorous.

It would have been spent wearing a white coat and working in a lab from sunrise to sunset.
I wanted something more. Something where I’d get to move around and meet people.


If you weren’t plumbing, what would you be doing?
Well, because of my love of science and, especially, microbiology, I’d probably be a brewer.
I did a course relating to micro biology so it sparked a real passion.

Back in Durban, I bought brewing equipment and modified it. Then me and a few friends created a small home brewing setup. I did it in my spare time for about a year… it was really good fun.


That sounds like a very worthwhile cause to me. Science is a wonderful thing.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Oh, yes. A few. The main one being playing golf at the weekends. I love it.
But I also have a room full of guitars and 3D printers. I enjoy tinkering around and creating stuff. I’m a bit of an amateur robotics nut.


What sort of things do you 3-D print?
Well, mainly useless junk. But the big draw for me is to actually modify the printing machines in order to improve them.


How exactly do you do that?
I design and then get the machine to print the parts I then use to improve their performance. I find it fascinating.


I find it fascinating, too.
You mentioned guitars. How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing guitar for 2 years, but I’ve been playing drums all my life.
I do need to spend more time practicing guitar though.


What is the best time of year to do your job?
Summer. Without a doubt.


What is the most interesting thing about your job?
This is going to sound a bit strange, but it’s probably the physical aspect of the job.
The positions I often find myself in means I have to be a bit of a contortionist.
You wouldn’t believe some of the spaces we have to fit in to. It’s like doing a yoga workout.


What would you say is the best thing about your character from a customer’s point of view?
Hard to say really, but I try and be as personable as possible, and form relationships with the customers as opposed to just doing a job for them. I think that kind of attitude tends to shine through.


What is your greatest strength?
Uhm, that’s a tough question. I’d like to think that I can problem-solve quickly and effectively in a tight situation. It’s important to keep a level head in this job. There’s always a solution to a problem; you just have to be calm and methodical in your approach.


Thomas, it’s been fantastic hearing about your background today.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

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