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Ceris (left) in a gymkhana race, aged 16.

10 Questions with... Ceris Burns

Q3Who, in any other industry do you most admire?

I admire strong women who can give men a run for their money! Margaret Thatcher was a great leader of her time. Pratibha Patil was elected the first female president in India in 2007 and has been an inspiration to women. When I recently visited the Clean India Show, the chief minister of Delhi made a great impression on me. It’s wonderful to see women in high positions making a difference.

Q4If money was no object, what car would you buy?

Each month we ask a cleaning industry professional the Tomorrow’s Cleaning 10 Questions. This month, we chatted to Ceris Burns, Managing Director of Ceris Burns International...

Q1What was your first job? My first job was in medical electronics –

I was international marketing exec with a Highlands based manufacturer called Albyn Medical. It was a great job in a fantastic little company. I was one of the lucky few that studied a degree and then actually went into that career.

Q2How did you get into the cleaning industry?

I was working for an American company in Milan with a remit to launch a new range of welding and cutting machines into Europe. Later on, I got a job with Kennedy Hygiene Products as their International Marketing Manager. After 4 years I decided to finally bite the bullet and launch a specialist international PR and marketing agency for the cleaning industry – Ceris Burns International. The rest is history...

I’d prefer two horses - a gorgeous pure bred Arab to just look at (as they are the most beautiful creatures in the world) and a sensible but speedy Irish type to get out and enjoy. In the right hands I’m sure horses are safer than cars – I figure it’s better to always have two brains looking out for you than just the one.

Q5How would you improve the cleaning industry?

I would work with BICSc to help raise industry standards and to professionalise the industry on worldwide scale. I would also like to see the regulation of green products, so any companies wanting to make ‘green’ claims cannot do so until their products have been tested and approved independently.

Q6What did you want to be when you were little?

Apologies to bring up horses again... I wanted to be a horse riding instructor but work experience at a racing yard shattered that dream fast. I decided the work was tough, dirty and didn’t pay so decided to focus on business instead.

Q7What do you do to unwind? I never have much time to unwind but when

I do, I love swimming and riding. A typical weekend involves a film and plenty of good food and wine. Once in a while I dip back into my passion for drawing and painting.

REGULAR 56 | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry

Q8If you could have a dinner party with any three people, dead or alive, with one

other person cooking and the other person providing the music, who would they be and why? It would be a private family party with a celeb element. Elvis (when he was in his prime) to serenade me because he sounded and looked great, Luca, my partner, doing drinks (he looks great in a tux), my mum doing the cooking because she could whip up something amazing from my empty cupboards and my dad to get the conversation going as he can talk to anyone about anything.

Q9What, do you think, is the future of the cleaning industry?

The standards of cleaning currently found in developed countries will gradually be brought into emerging markets. I also see a greater convergence across consumer and professional cleaning and hygiene product lines. Trends in consumer and professional products will continue to influence each other increasingly.

Tony Earnshaw of UK Commercial Cleaning asks...

Q10 How do private cleaning contractors maintain relationships with public sector clients following the Comprehensive Spending Review? Keep close to them. In these times every supplier needs to empathise with the client, understand his needs and budget and work to a compromise that looks after both parties.

Check out next month’s issue to see what Ceris asked our next industry professional...

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