Adapting is key says St Boswells mart boss

John Swan Ltd managing director Steven Wilson at the St Boswells mart
John Swan Ltd managing director Steven Wilson at the St Boswells mart

Nearly four months into the job, John Swan’s new managing director Steven Wilson is settling in at St Boswells and confident about the mart’s future.

The 40-year-old Borderer took over from Jack Clark, former MD for 20 years, in May. He said: “St Boswells Mart continues to be a very important part of the livestock industry, with customers from all over the UK.

“The last few years have been difficult for everyone, especially last year with the challenge of the weather, which had an effect on throughput and stock values and the added increasing costs that are outwith our control.”

But he believes in the system, saying: “Auction markets set the price of livestock and they are transparent as everything is sold to the highest bidder on the day.

But he says: “Markets are under more and more pressure to be competitive and we must ensure we move with the times and are not left behind our competitors.

“It’s (about) adapting to the needs of our customers and legislation which is changing all the time. And you want people to enjoy coming to the market, for it to be a day out rather than a chore.”

Steven is the son of the late Johnny Wilson, shepherd and renowned sheep dog triallist and winner of International Supreme Championships.

“It is unfortunate he is not around to see I have become managing director. He would have been very pleased. He was always round about the market,” said Steven.

Born in Hawick, Steven spent most of his childhood at Bedrule Farm, near Bonchester Bridge.

“I was always interested in farming but wanted to be more involved in the business side of the industry,” he said.

He started as an office junior at Swans in St Boswells in October 1990, with cashier Dick Kyle his boss. He took over as head cashier for both Swan’s markets in St Boswells and Wooler in 2002 before being appointed finance director in 2006. He was awarded the Fellowship of the Institute of Directors in 2011.

On the step up from finance director to the top job, he said: “I was always in the background (before) but now I’m meeting more people and going to agricultural events and shows, and it’s a lot more interactive.”

He said: “My hopes for the future are to continue to provide a marketing facility to all our existing and new customers that will be competitive and efficient, and ensure we give the best possible service we can.

“The plan is still to move to a new site when market conditions are suitable.”

Outside work, Steven, who lives in Hawick, is a keen supporter of the town’s rugby club, supporting the team both at home and away. He also enjoys spending time with his niece and nephew, Catelyn and Joe.