Over the next few months we will be introducing the team behind the award-winning services of Pearce Hire.
Peterborough based, but with clients across the UK, where better to start than with Shaun Pearce, MD, founder and owner of Pearce Hire. We have a chat with Shaun as he reflects on the company being over 30 years old and still delivering the goods!
“Sitting here now I wonder where on earth the time has gone since I set up Pearce Hire - it was a long while ago! I’d been a mobile DJ and building lighting kit since I was 13. At 21, having completed my apprenticeship as an electrician, I set up as Pearce Electrical using my interest in lighting and sound equipment and electrical contracting to kick start the business. I provided technical support and equipment to bands, spurred on from what I saw at the Peterborough Country Music Festival. I’ve always loved being outdoors and so providing kit to outdoor festivals ticked all the boxes for me! There was really no other company offering these services in the area, and so I seized every job and contact I could get my hands on! By 1988/89 Pearce Hire was born.
It’s hard to pick out any specific stand out moments in my career – I work hard and just get on with the job. 30 years on and I still love what I do! However, early highlights include the Tiffany Ball and doing sound for Edwin Starr and thinking this is amazing!! Also working with an unknown (at the time) band called Radiohead - what a terrific bunch of guys.
As we became established we ended up powering projects in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda and the bonus of white water rafting the River Nile! Doing a one off Maxi Priest gig in Papua New Guinea was quite special, using local kit and crew yet we somehow pulled it off, to the amazement of the US led production, it’s not every day you have to change the speakers in the monitors whilst the band are still performing, thankfully! And we even took some time out to go diving for a few days afterwards – some precious time off – I should have learnt then that time off is rare and precious!! Glastonbury in the 90s was a moment too…. I was lucky I missed the muddy years! And not forgetting the big raves, Raindance, Pleasuredome, Perception, and many more!
Basically, I love anything with a challenge and there is no better example of this than our our stints out in Doha in 2010/2011 when we were contracted to manage the entire power distribution plus the supply kit and crew system for the ‘Doha Tribeca Film Festival’. When you work on a project that’s long and challenging it can also be incredibly rewarding, and there no feeling like it when it all comes together!
More recently, I take enormous pride in being able to work alongside my son Jake Vernum and the contribution he makes to Pearce Hire whilst he also establishes his own career as an LD – I’m delighted the young generation of my family is interested in the business! Recent acknowledgments and wins at some of the key industry awards is also a big boost for the company and a testament to the extraordinarily hard-working team I have working here at Pearce Hire.
Providing installation services for the Coca Cola Beat Box for the 2012 London Olympics was a challenging experience due to time constraints, where we installed the power distribution, specialist lighting and the audio system. Being involved in that was a once in a generation opportunity for the company.
Any highlights I can recall for Pearce Hire have generally been projects and productions which have been incredibly hard work. In all honesty, it’s the people I work alongside they are the lifeblood of the industry, the jobs we win, the challenges we are set, and proving it is all do-able which really drives me. Delivering a good job, on time, within budget, no matter what the curve balls – and making it happen – well that’s the nature of the industry isn’t it?
I’m very proud that Pearce Hire is still owner operated and holding its own alongside some of the larger corporates which have sprung up in the industry over the past 30 years.
Time away from work with my family is precious and limited - I have a very understanding wife and 4 amazing children – I love snowboarding and have a passion for steam engines and steam railways – generally it’s about being outside, the smell and the atmosphere of the outdoors – it’s probably what drove me into a career focussed on outdoor events and festivals and the vibe of those environments!
The best piece of advice I’ve been given was from my Mum ‘you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it – and to always be honest and fair. My Dad told me never go into partnership as once you do – you can’t make your own decisions!
And for anyone going into the industry now – my advice would be to knuckle down and get on with it – whilst always being polite as manners cost nothing. And…. if you don’t know – then ask!
I hope that Pearce Hire will still be thriving in 10 years-time and that there will be a long-standing legacy and trusted reputation in the Pearce Hire company name, long after I have retired!!