Blacko businessman appointed teaching fellow

A retired Pendle businessman has been appointed an Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University Management School.

Victor Giannandrea, of Blacko, was thrilled to be invited to become an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at the prestigious university.

Drawing on 45 years’ experience of director level roles within the furniture and bedding industry, Victor’s role is to help students gain exposure to the real world of business; the highs and the lows.

Since retiring, in 2011, Victor has still been hard at work mentoring local businesses, with a huge degree of success in turning around businesses at high risk, helping them to change direction, cultivate new customers and increase trade with existing customers. 

Victor, former sales and marketing director at Silentnight Beds in Barnoldswick for 20 years, said: “It is a true honour to receive this appointment at such a fantastic, progressive university. 

“Today’s job market is very different to the one I knew growing up. Competition for jobs is rife and those who demonstrate an understanding of business outside of the university walls are certainly at a strong advantage.”

Before becoming an EiR, Victor has long been a supporter of the Lancaster University Management School; attending events as speaker and grilling students on their ideas as part of a Dragon’s Den style panel.

Brian Gregory, director of the Entrepreneurs in Residence scheme within Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) said: “Victor is a great asset to our programme and his experience in business really does give students a true insight into the world of work. 

“Entrepreneurs in Residence are the stars of the local community and are valued, important members of our LUMS community.

“They bring expertise from the front line of business, interesting and varied viewpoints and a real-world experience that benefits our students, teaching and research. In return, EiRs get access to LUMS’ cutting-edge knowledge, both from our students and research, and the opportunity to strengthen their peer networks.”

Victor’s own education Falkirk, Scotland, couldn’t be more different than the university educated audiences he speaks to.

He said: “I was the youngest of 8 siblings when my father died. When I left secondary school, my mother sent me straight out to get a job and I became a laundry delivery boy;the pay was much better that the apprenticeships being offered locally.

“One day, I was struck with a light bulb moment when delivering laundry to Walter Alexander’s, very large and posh house in Falkirk. The Alexander’s were a family of coach builders and they had a huge fleet of buses on the road, which we all knew as the Bluebird Buses 

“There I was trudging up their massive driveway, with beautifully manicured lawns at the side in the pouring rain, soaked to the skin. 

As I headed back down the drive, struggling with another basket of soiled laundry, I looked back at the big house and I said to myself: ‘I want some of that’! 

“Remember, I was 15 years old, I had no qualifications and, but my vision and desire were strong. To remind me of this vision of what I wanted to be, but no idea of how I was going to get there, I had the Walter Alexander’s Bluebird Logo tattooed onto my arm. Now I had to do something about it!”

Those invited to be part of Lancaster University Management School’s Entrepreneurs in Residence scheme volunteer two or three days a year to spend in the School to share their expertise, networks and experience. 

They take part in a range of activities while on campus varying from judging students’ business ideas, mock interviews, masterclasses and guest speaker opportunities. In return, entrepreneurs become embedded in the school and its way of thinking. 

They spend more time helping students, get fantastic networking opportunities and access world-leading academics from across Lancaster University.