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A family business

DEMOLITION

MR CLARKE is a second generation demolition man. His father had a background in landscape maintenance, where he first started using explosives to blow up stubborn t ree stumps. He founded CDC Demolition in 1964 and kept a link to his roots in the firm's slogan, which was 'Blast that stump!' The firm flourished as a general demolition contractor.

But after leaving school Mr Clarke trained as a quantity surveyor. His first job was on a sewage farm near Luton. 'I hated it, ' he confides. 'I soon decided it wasn't for me.' A total change of career ensued. He went into insurance and ran his own brokerage.

But 17 years ago Mr Clarke's father decided he would like to take things a lit tle bit easier.

'I stepped back into the fold, ' he says. 'I spent the first five years working within the company, which was valuable experience when I became a director, and then eight years ago managing director.' Turnover sits at around £3 million a year, despite attempts to expand.

'We keep trying to grow, ' Mr Clarke explains. 'But lead-in times are too short to be able to schedule resources easily. You can't spend £500,000 on a machine if you're not going to use it.

We hope to expand organically.' Mr Clarke is not the only family member in the business. His brothers also work within the company. 'The only qualification I have for being in charge is being the eldest, ' he jokes. 'Even I can't pretend that it's a particularly convincing argument.'