About the founder:
Mr Eric R Hawkins the founder and sole shareholder of Solar Speedflex Co Ltd (HK) also trading under the name Thermaltricity International started as a one man business at the age of 27 yrs old in a place called Bournemouth, Dorset, UK.
Today and entrepreneur with 12 starts ups established over the past 43 yrs including the current business of Solar Speedflex Co Ltd.
Stepping Back to how my life began:
Over the years since first entering work at the age of 15 after leaving school in Norwich, Norfolk with a basic education I soon became interested in becoming a success with my first job as a Commis Chef. My twelve years training to be a top Chef from a Commis chef, is what has made me the person I am today.
From my first business as a greengrocer to building a plumbing/heating to owning a luxury bathroom/kitchen-sales and installation company to property refurbishment up until 1990, is where many of my skills were gained from.
In 1990 all that experience was used in developing a business that focused on energy and water saving technologies, including the design of the world first Multi-fuel hot water tank (now known as a Thermal Store), followed by a solar thermal pre heat evacuated tube/heat pipe collector.
Five years spent in Cyprus (1993-1998) is where I learned all about the many failures in both the building of houses and solar water heating manufacturing & installations.
Returning to the UK in 1998 as the UK agent for SUNDA (a JV between Sunpo (Beijing) & Daimler Benz Aerospace GmbH (Germany) was the beginning of a 12 yr investment into establishing the Global Warming Solution center which expanded into Powertech Solar Ltd, followed Jayhawk International Ltd and Jayhawk Suntech Solar Co Ltd China.
In 2000, an e-mail from a young Australian working for an Internet sales company in Nanjing China contacted me to ask if I would be interested in forming a solar water heating partnership.
Having already visited China many times before, and was due to attend the Canton fair in Guangzhou in 2001 I agreed to meet up. The meeting led to the establishment of Focus Technology Co Ltd followed by brand APRICUS from 2002/3.
(The full story can be found through the link below)
In 2007, I formed a new JV with a business person located in Beijing to develop my own NEW brand of and evacuated tube heat pipe collectors through the partnering with (Tai’an Tongxin Solar Technology Co., Ltd) under the name Jayhawk Suntech Solar International Co Ltd.
In April 2009, due to the greed and corrupt banking industry followed by a worldwide recession (that destroyed hundreds of thousands of small/medium business enterprises), I took the painful decision to place the UK Powertech business into administration and saying good by to a great team of 7 people I have taken on and shared all my knowledge with. It was hoped that a buyer could be found to continue the business that was supplying over 120 smaller solar energy sales and installation businesses across the UK.
That was not to be, so after being contacted by another Chinese solar water heating company in Haining who were seeking to develop an insulated flexible plumbing pipe system for their solar water heating buyers. December 2010 was the beginning of my 4th business venture in China, which is another story for later on, as I make new plans for 2018 and beyond.
I am also a consultant for Green Solutions Las Vegas, USA with an office in Shanghai as I look to return one day back to the USA to continue exporting solar related technologies where I left off in 2009.
Growing food and being able to cook what you grow, has to be my best investments over the years, which started in my home in Costessy, Norfolk, when my mother was able to buy a bungalow which had a long garden.
Through one of our many aunts and uncles who owned farms across Norfolk, I excepted a sectional building structure from one Uncle who ended his chicken laying business, to be arrected at the rear of the garden housing 100 point of lay chickens.
The profit from the sale of eggs supplemented my low wages (£3.80 shillings a week) working as a Commis Chef at that time.
My love for gardning and cooking has increased my interest in Agriculture, where the use of solar energy can round the circle to sustainability
On returning to the UK in 1998 after 5 years in Cyprus, I rented a small shop to establish a new business named the Global Warming Solution Center. But two shops down, was this wasted ground over grown, so I rented a 2nd shop to sell electric bikes and scooters from, to have access to this piece of land. This was the start of returning to the growing of vegetables, soft fruit and flowers as I grew up with farming in my blood on my mothers side.
This house was purchased from NEW in 1999, because of the large south east facing roof area with managed gardens, which I added too outside my house
I try to make sure throughout the year, we have flowers growing in the planters, while adding hanging baskets for the summer months.
Many of the bedding plants are purchased through our local farmers market in Wimborne, Dorset, direct from local growers, as very low prices.
I also grow a lot of summer flowering plants from seed, for both planters and hanging baskets in my small back garden.
With the shop garden and
poly tunnel all gone, the Global warming solution center and electric
bike shop disposed of and the move into a large warehouse, then the loss of
Powertech Solar Ltd in April 2009, I now spend what spare time in my smaller
garden at the rear of my Dorset house. It's enough for me to
maintain while much of my time is taken up building developing this new
business venture since registering the business in 2012.
Every year I dig out the old soil in the
planters and re fill with horse manure and then new sieved soil from the rear
of the house
Making the most of a small garden takes a lot of hard work, which started in early 2015 having not changed any of the plants and fruit trees I planted in 2000. It was time to dig out the soil to a 400mm depth, disposing of any roots from past plants or nearby trees and replacing the rotten wooden edging. I then dug in lots of horse manure I pick up from a local farmer who owns horses and it’s free. I also place Horse manure in the bottom of all my hanging baskets and pots that I later grow both flower and tomatoes/herb plants in.
With much of the hard work completed, with most of the spoil replaced over the horse manure, I dig in some bought in compost along with bags of leaf mold I take from my local forest which adds further to the soils nutrients.
It’s very difficult to
grow anything between fruit trees, because the roots suck in all the nutrients
from the horse manure as well as the water you hose onto the soil in during
weeks of less rain. So this year in 2017 I placed grow
bags in between the fruit trees and placed dwarf beans into the grow bags with
a 70% success.
When I purchased the house in 1999,
I installed a large 1.5 ton water tank, placed behind my garden shed with a
water butt at the front and back of the house to collect the water from the
roof through a diverter valve.
Each water butt is installed with a Submersible pump and a float, which pumps the water into the main tank when the water butt reaches a certain level. More on Rain Water harvesting later on.
through summer from seed, to picking strawberries and raspberries even in late
October is just awesome. All the pears, plums and apples have already
been harvested and stored or prepared for freezing for use over the next
few months in puddings and pies.
around the corner, flower bulbs all planted having re-dug the soil and dug in
rotted horse manure, my time in the garden is becoming less as winter is just around the corner along with rainy cold wet days ahead.
The 1st love of my life after gardening is cooking, which has been a major part of my life over the years.
It’s my view that every person being educated at a school today, should learn the basics of cooking with at least 12 types of food dishes as a matter of survival. Knowing how to cook the wide range of edible ingredients available from across the world + local producers, can save a family a fortune compared to buying ready made meals off the shelf from supermarkets or ordering a take away.
I am often asked, how did you manage to switch from becoming a professional Chef to starting a business in plumbing and heating to renewable energy today? The answer I give, is its no different from shopping for food ingredients and knowing how the ingredients come together for a tasty dish. Example: (you do not serve mint sauce with roast Chicken) is no different between me going shopping for materials to develop a solar collector or a hot water tank, as they both require a mix of ingredients/materials as well as knowing what works with what parts and how to bring them together.
If you also like cooking, but do not have a professionals expertise and tips on how to turn ingredients into tasty affordable dishes, feel free to contact me with the words in the subject (Tasty Food at affordable prices)
From left to right, is my own home made pizza, easy to make and cost pennies. Next Is my beef and swede Pies, like a Cornish pasty, but as a small pie. Making your own bread is so rewarding, which I only started to experiment with in 2015, after 2 weeks in the USA eating tasty sour dough Baguettes. I have now perfected making my own bread in many ways.
From left to right, this is a Lemon Meringue pie, with a biscuit base, followed by one of my own dishes i developed when working in Switzerland. You make some crepes and place a round of tasty ham on the crepe, then a half of a cooked heart of celery, grated Gruyere cheese and wrap up like a cigar. Place in a oven ware dish, pour double cream over the crepes and sprinkle with more Gruyere cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the cheese melts into the cream and is golden brown. The final dish, is a salad with fresh prawns and a source placed into a half an Avocado for a light dinner.
From left to right, this is a typical Coq Au Vin French chicken dish, using cheap cuts of chicken, wine mushrooms and tiny onions. Next is a Strawberry tart, with Creme Anglaise over a pasty base. Lastly, is a Italian bread, with rosemary, thin slices of cherry tomato and Mozzarella cheese.