What is your role at Re:Fuel?
I’m a Director and the founder. My role has mostly been to drive my family and friends crazy by disappearing for days on end to build Re:Fuel and the wonderful team behind it.
How did Re:Fuel come about?
I’ve been a huge fan of Caffeine & Machine in Warwickshire for a while now and, after yet another long drive up to Stratford-upon-Avon one weekend, I returned to Devon and decided the Southwest needed something similar. I didn’t want it to be a copy of Caffeine and Machine – but somewhere that petrolheads and automotive enthusiasts in the Southwest could call home and hangout at the weekends, with a coffee in their hand, chatting about their passion.
I first setup Re:Fuel with my very good friend, Matt Young. We’d been talking for a while about embarking on a venture together, and he’s a big car nut too. One evening we just setup the website and social media channels and, well, the rest is history as they say! Sadly, after a couple of months Matt found that the amount of time and effort required to build Re:Fuel was having a negative impact on the marketing businesses that he runs and he had to step away. Luckily for me, two of Re:Fuel’s managers, Josh and George, stepped up to fill his shoes. I quickly promoted them to Directors, which was very well deserved after their hard work and dedication in the early months.
What’s your favourite thing about Re:Fuel?
My favourite thing about Re:Fuel is seeing all the different enthusiasts with different tastes and opinions all coming together and admiring each other’s machines. There’s plenty of clubs out there for a particular “scene” or marque/manufacturer – and shows too – but nowhere that brings everyone together regularly as one big community. I’ve loved the variety and calibre of cars we’ve seen turn up at Re:Fuel so far – and I have a feeling it’s just the start.
I think if there’s one thing that I’m keen to be the centre of the culture at Re:Fuel it’s that if it’s your pride and joy, then it’s welcome. No elitism.
What were you doing before Re:Fuel?
I was at an automotive company before as their “Head of Innovation”. We were a global business and I’d been there since pretty much the start in 2012. It was a business that my heart was really in and I really enjoyed helping build it up over the 7 years I was there, from less than 10 people to around 100 by the time I left. I learnt a lot there (through both successful endeavours and mistakes!) about corporate culture, commercial growth and building a transparent and trusted brand that people loved and would voluntarily be evangelists and ambassadors for. I hope to instil a similar culture both within the Re:Fuel team but also amongst our community.
Tell us about your home life!
I live just outside Exeter but often venture into the city. It’s such a beautiful place – both the city of Exeter and the surrounding Devon countryside. Both myself and my partner, Clara, use home as an office, so it’s rarely empty – usually a busy place!
It’s a nice area and we get on really well with our neighbours. We do a “come dine with me” effort on the odd occasion and sink a few bottles of wine over dinner. We also do a lot to help each other out. I’d find it hard to move away from here – I feel very settled.
What do you do when you’re not working?
With the work required to build Re:Fuel, including finding and financing a dedicated premises, there seems to be very little time to do much else at the moment. Luckily, I have a very understanding partner, who also runs her own business – so she can put herself in my shoes! When I do get time to play, I’m usually working on cars, or just generally building, fixing or repairing things. I also love being on the racetrack – whether it’s karting or cars – and I love nothing more than hanging out with good friends. I’m blessed with a fantastic and supportive family and some absolutely amazing friends that have stuck with me through good times and bad. I’m a lucky guy to know so many good, kind people.
What car do you drive?
I have far too many cars. My passion has been cars and motorsport since the age of about 14. I rebuilt my first car engine at the age of 18, spent most of my university career fixing, repairing and maintaining friends’ cars, and now I seem to have grown an unhealthy collection of various 4-wheeled toys. My favourite is my 1970 VW Beetle that I restored myself when I was 20.
What is your favourite drive?
My favourite drive is the coast road from Honiton over to Hampshire/Sussex. Partly because it’s a fantastic and very scenic road, but also because it means I’m probably on the way to visit some good friends I have up that way, or my Dad, who lives in Sussex.
If you could go anywhere where would it be?
Cornwall. I grew up there and it will always have a special place in my heart. It’s home to some of the best beaches in the world – to the point where, when visiting Oz a few years ago, Bondi Beach, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast really reminded me of Cornwall and made me feel like I was back home.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Struggling to think of things here. I’m not a particularly mysterious person!
OK – I work as a volunteer Grandstand Steward at Silverstone – which means I get to work at the Formula 1 every year, meeting all the drivers and stuff – which is great fun!
Well, I moved here from Cornwall to study at Exeter Uni back in 2002, fell in love with it and never left. For me, Devon really is a halfway house between the beauty (and remoteness) of Cornwall, and somewhere with a slightly more city feel to it, better access to the UK and the coast is still only 10 to 15 minutes away! We also have an airport, stunning moorlands, a direct 2.5 hour train link into London – I mean what more could we ask for – we’re pretty blessed in this part of the world.
What are you working on right now?
How long have you got?! There’s so much work to do on Re:Fuel right now. I have a task list longer than the Magna Carta. Of course we’re busy getting everything booked and organised for our next open day – but one of the most pressing jobs right now is finding land to purchase so that Re:Fuel can build its permanent home. We’re looking for around 4 to 6 acres, within a 15 minute radius of Exeter. If you know of somewhere for sale that may be suitable, then you can let us know by contacting us here or emailing the team on email@example.com.