Our LWRFC Careers Hub Business Partners form the indispensable and final
piece to helping our players forge successful careers in London. We caught up
with Mark Humphrey-Evans, Managing Director on what SPA is about and how
the company benefits from forging a highly successful partnership with the
- Mark, what’s your personal relationship with London Welsh RFC?
I played for the club in the 1990s and continue to attend matches and social
events regularly. I am also a member of the Voyagers charity which is affiliated
to the club.
- Give us a history of SPA and how you came to acquire the company.
Steve (who we all know as ‘Porky’) Parsons founded the company in 1992
whilst he was playing for London Welsh and then went on to coach the Druids
once his playing days were over. Whilst watching a London Welsh game in
2017 I overheard a conversation between Porky and Dai Williams (ex-London
Welsh winger and banker) about the fact that he was selling the business and,
as they say, the rest is history!
- What are the specialist areas in which SPA work?
We focus on commercial building fabric as opposed to Mechanical and
Electrical (M&E) that includes groundworks – plumbing – roofing – decorating /
refurbishments – fire doors and fire stopping – small electricals. I would say that
our strength lies in solving problems for our clients that may require more than
a single trade application and which often demand creative thinking to find a
wholly effective, safe and professionally executed client solution.
- What do you look for when you recruit people – is there a direct link with a
We have a strict no d**** policy – life is too short and beyond that – honesty,
resilience and self-reliance are the core skills we look for. There needs to be a
basic technical skill set for more senior engineers and a willingness to learn
from more junior members but fundamentally, character and approach are
more important, as the former can be coached.
With people from a sporting background, whilst of course, everyone is an
individual with their own quirks and motivations, I do think more often than
not that you get a common set of solid, personal values and qualities. Let’s just
say we’ve never had problems either office/relationship or tools based from
someone with a sporting background.
- So far you have recruited two employees from of our playing squad (soon
to be added by two more), tell us about them and how they have developed
and contributed to the development of SPA.
The first recruit was Dewi (a small scrum half with all the problems you get
with a scrum half!) from Newtown Powys – unfortunately halfway through his
first season at London Welsh he suffered one of a number of knee injuries and had to retire but still is very much part of the London Welsh playing community and at the forefront of socials! Dewi has added both great groundwork / roofing and construction skills to the team as well as a typical scrum half confidence (very chippy!) and a positive attitude. Recently he has been moved from the tools into a contract manager role where his positive approach rubs off well on clients. Tololima (Lima) followed from Canterbury, New Zealand, a dynamic centre /wing. Starting as an apprentice, Lima has looked to learn new skills at every opportunity so has moved quickly from a ‘ladder holder’ to an independent engineer with his own van and job roster. He’s beginning to focus on brick work and groundwork as he prefers the physical jobs. A man of few words initially but as with all team players, he has found his place in the team and is one of the most amusing (in a good way) and popular members of staff.
Everyone should sign up for his Tik Tok island_boy199!
We’re expecting Tom (2nd row Australia) and Connor (hooker South Africa) within the next month and I’m sure they will bring their own qualities to the company over time and complement our team really well.
- What are your future plans for the company’s growth?
We’re currently positioning ourselves to contribute towards industry reducing
its carbon footprint having been OZEV authorised for the installation of EV
chargers and are just arranging partnerships with solar installers which should
be interesting areas to see growth in. To practise what we preach we have also
just started working with ‘Positive Planet’ moving towards net zero on our
- Would you recommend the Careers Hub to a prospective Business Partner
I think the Careers Hub effectively efficiently formalises what used to happen
in rugby clubs prior to professionalism. The team at the Careers Hub are very
committed to its success and the players that they mentor and find placements
for. The quality and backgrounds of the people involved will be of no surprise
to those with a history of London Welsh but I imagine it will be a bit of an eye
opener to those coming to the club for the first time – the Hub provides access to excellent advice and qualified people that would be very difficult (and sometimes very expensive) to achieve otherwise.
The London Welsh RFC Careers Hub
‘Succeed on the field, excel off it”