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Heartbreak and Covid spur retired oil worker onto business success

Macpherson oil worker
L-R, Ross and Scott Macpherson, of fledgling Aberdeen business Sanondaf.

Global and personal events of the past 18 months lie behind a new career and now commercial success for retired oil and gas worker Scott Macpherson.

Mr Macpherson, 55, had entered the offshore industry in 1982 and worked in the Middle East for more than 16 years, including spells with KCA Deutag and Odfjell Well Services, before taking early retirement.

But in March last year the former Bridge of Don Academy pupil returned to his home city of Aberdeen, with his family, due to his wife, Carole, suffering ill-health.

Family tragedy

Mrs Macpherson died of metastatic breast cancer last July and, following the initial shock, her husband’s life took a new direction when he and his son, Ross, decided to launch their own business.

The pair acquired a franchise of Sanondaf UK, a specialist decontamination company founded in 2014 – long before Covid-19 ushered in inevitable demand for its services.

Aware that a much bigger marketplace of disinfection providers had quickly sprung up since the onset of the pandemic, the Macphersons saw an opportunity to offer services already proven within the NHS, private pharmaceutical companies and universities.

The system is designed to disinfect and decontaminate hospitals, aircraft, sports stadiums, hotel premises or indeed any location where staff are present.

The Macphersons’ Covid-busting services are much in demand.

Operating in Aberdeen on a round-the-clock basis since November, the Macphersons’ fledgling business has been awarded ongoing contracts totalling more than £90,000.

Clients include a national transportation company, one of the UK’s largest private travel providers, a marine-based supply chain business and a local childcare facility.

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Mr Macpherson Snr, managing director, said: “The motivation for this journey began due to personal circumstances and, of course, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Sanondaf is just one of many disinfection companies, but it was clear to me that the service we can offer is significantly different to our competitors.”

He added: “Sanondaf is not a product of 2020. Established in Malta and with UK headquarters in Glasgow, it existed years before the phrase ‘Covid-19’ had passed anyone’s lips – and that’s what appealed to me.”

The motivation for this journey began due to personal circumstances and, of course, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Scott Macpherson, Sanondaf Aberdeen

Mr Macpherson Jnr, who is operations director for the business and also a recent graduate in management at Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen, added: “Unfortunately, we need to learn to live alongside the coronavirus, as we do so many other infectious diseases; it will not simply disappear once everyone is vaccinated.

“As the travel, hospitality and events sectors, in particular, gear up for a return to normality, a proven reduction in the continued risks of transmission will be a critical consideration for the foreseeable future.”

Heightened awareness

The 24-year-old added: “Over the past 18 months, public awareness of the standards maintained across a huge range of locations has increased dramatically, with all industries and sectors now required to articulate exactly how they are keeping us safe.

“We’ve played a big part in that locally since November, and look forward to continuing to do so for some time to come.”

In response to the ongoing requirement for deep cleansing, the Macphersons have recently launched a rental service. Fogging machines and product training, are provided to those companies wishing to carry out their decontamination in-house.

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