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James Erskine

Area specification manager, Pergo

Did you ever get into trouble at school and, if so, why?
Yes, jumping over a school gate as a short cut home. Broke my foot so karma provided the punishment.

What was your first part-time job?
Valeting cars.

What did you spend your first pay cheque on?
It would have been saved for a deposit on a house.

What was your first full-time job?
I worked for a well-known baked bean manufacturer.

What was the best piece of advice you have been given?
Never miss a good chance to shut up.

What was your worst business mistake?
In business there are no mistakes, only lessons.

What was your greatest business achievement?
Joining Unilin.

What car do your drive today and what does it say about you?
Vauxhall Insignia. I’m pretty sure that says I am a sales rep.

If you could have invented any product, what would it have been?

What do you most like about the flooring industry?
Product innovation.
What do you least like about the flooring industry?
Specs being broken with a product that isn’t fit for purpose but is simply the cheapest. Things are cheaper for a reason.

Name one change you would make to the industry.
More manufacturing in the UK.

Which company in the flooring industry, other than your own, do you most admire and why?
I like what the guys at Tramex do. Worth taking the time to check a subfloor and their meters do a great job.

Where should we have a flooring trade show and why?
Manchester. I heard it has a great training academy there.

Which single possession would you rescue if your house caught fire?
My bike.

Do you have any pets?
An energetic Cocker Spaniel.

Do you have any hobbies?
Mountain Biking.

How do you relax?
I can’t relax.
What is your favourite tipple?
Southern Comfort.

How many times a year do you take a holiday and what is your favourite destination?
Once a year, the favourite so far was Mexico.

What is your idea of heaven?
Driving a Bugatti Veyron (supercar) around the Nürburgring.

Your idea of hell?
A world without laminate.

Which one record and book would you take to a desert island?
Olive – You’re not alone
Perhaps a Bear Grylls book would be handy.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Kelly Brook 😉

If you could be anyone (living or dead) who would it be?
Calvin Harris (Scottish singer, songwriter, record producer and DJ).
Choose five words to describe yourself.
Handsome, intelligent, witty, charming and modest.

Any regrets?
Yes, should of bought a 55in TV instead of the 50in.

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
I would like to go to Whistler in Canada but at the moment it is to make Pergo a successful commercial brand.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I was recently sat on a train. Chap in front of me at a table says ‘Hi, you alright?’ so I replied ‘yes thanks yourself?’. At this point he turned his head slightly to reveal a Bluetooth headset along with a strange look on his face.

If you had to choose another career what would it be?
Professional downhill mountain bike rider or superstar DJ.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at