We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By browsing this site you agree to the use of cookies. More Information.

Accept and continue

June 18 - 20, 2019
Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami, USA
Designed To Inspire

Spotlight on Mark Henderson, Magicman

Known for their ability to "magic" problems away, Magicman supplies the cruise industry with repair, restoration, and renewal services to ensure all onboard facilities are maintained to a high standard. Providing damage control to fixtures and fittings in cabins, corridors, bathrooms, and leisure facilities, Magicman's services certify safe onboard standards and ensure guests are always left with a positive impression. 

Ahead of Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami, we spoke with founder and chief executive of Magicman, Mark Henderson. 



Founded in 1993, Magicman comes from humble beginnings, with the company starting out as a one-man operation. What inspired you to launch the business?

During my 15 years in the Royal Navy as a Mechanical Engineer and latterly a shipwright, I was used to repairing damaged items of machinery, systems, and substrates. I wanted to utilize these skills, as well as the management and many other skills military service affords you when in civilian life. I was asked originally by building contractors whether I could repair housing substrates such as kitchen worktops and doors as the only alternative then was replacement. This developed into multiple substrate repairs and a business was born.

 

When you started out 25 years ago, did you ever expect Magicman to be at the point it is now?

Initially, my aim was simply to replace my earnings from the RN (Royal Navy) but demand quickly grew and within six months I had to recruit my first employee, who I am glad to say is still with me 26 years later!

 

Can you elaborate on the services you offer, from repairs to refurbs, specifically in the marine sector?

As we grew, we were asked to repair and refurbish more and more surfaces. Our move into cruise industry repairs and refurbishment all started with a request from an old Navy friend who had moved into the cruise industry as a facilities manager. He sent me photographs of some awful attempts at disguising damage that had been done onboard and had asked if we could do better. He pointed me in the right direction and from his introduction our cruise market has grown to multiple operators worldwide. I owe a lot to MacCallum.

 

Following on from your make-do-and-mend ethos, can you tell us a little bit about the importance of sustainability within the marine market?

We were already much cheaper, quicker and less disruptive than replacement. In the nineties the Green Movement was gaining significant press exposure and society’s awareness of the growing harm man was causing the planet with greenhouse gas emissions struck a chord with many individuals and organizations.

As we produced virtually no waste from our activities compared to replacement we also ticked this box for clients concerned with their green credentials. People forget that surfaces and products are often made from many composite parts that must be distributed and transported to the manufacturer and the end product also has to be transported and distributed. All the manufacturing processes and transportation meant significant harmful greenhouse gas emissions, especially so when manufacturing was done outside of ‘developed’ countries. Finally, waste items when replaced, have to be transported and usually end up in landfill.

Global warming is the biggest threat to mankind and anything that can reduce its effects is certainly worth the effort.

 

Remember it is not only repair that Magicman undertake but also refurbishment. Sinks, tiles and shower trays that have dulled with years of cleaning can be restored. Maybe an item is unique and cannot be easily or cheaply replaced; this is where Magicman comes into its own.

 

Magicman provides services to businesses across the globe, working on landmark building projects to major cruise line companies. What has been the most challenging, or most interesting, project you’ve worked on so far?

A difficult question to answer. Magicman have been fortunate to be invited to work on many high profile, challenging and interesting projects. Working for the Olympic Delivery Authority on the Olympic Village, both pre and post the Games of 2012, was a challenge. The Rolls Building Law Courts in London, The Shard, Bloomberg’s new London Headquarters, Government buildings and Arundel Castle to name but a few.

Our first foreign site work was on the British Embassy in Islamabad; where you can imagine, security was very tight!

Ericsson’s Headquarters and a hospital in Sweden as well as a six-month project on a hospital extension in Bermuda, helped cement our reputation for being able to deliver projects on time anywhere in the world. Trains, buses, elevators, building facades, Lladro figurines, from big to small Magicman has done them all!

Some are more rewarding than others. For instance, on one insurance claim in a house that had been affected by severe flooding the policyholder had asked whether the handmade tiles he had made himself many years before could be saved and restored. They were removed by the builder but many were cracked and broken. They were transported to our workshops and Magicman were able to repair and restore by hand all of the tiles. An irreplaceable item and memories restored.

 

Can you tell us about the most common repair-related issues found aboard cruise ships and what solutions you offer to tackle them?

The embarkation and disembarkation of thousands of passengers involves the movement of a great deal of luggage throughout the ship. This being done every two weeks means there is great opportunity for damage to occur in both common areas and staterooms. Therefore, cabin furniture and communal areas present the most opportunity for damage.

Remember it is not only repair that Magicman undertake but also refurbishment. Sinks, tiles and shower trays that have dulled with years of cleaning can be restored. Maybe an item is unique and cannot be easily or cheaply replaced; this is where Magicman comes into its own.

 

What inspired you to launch your own business into what seems to be a very different sector?

Magicman have largely dominated the construction repair industry for many years; so much so that the name ‘Magicman’ has become a recognized expression for onsite damage repair.

In order to grow further commercially it was necessary to establish a business that was not only proven but had the accreditation, scale and expertise to break into other complementary markets. To work with almost all UK insurers and brokers, as we do, is only possible once you have reached this point. Similarly, with the cruise industry. To gain the trust and confidence of Billion Dollar companies and the responsibility to uphold both their individual and corporate reputations is no easy task and one Magicman are extremely proud to have achieved.

It takes a great deal of courage and foresight from individuals to bring in new ideas and concepts into long-established working practices. Pushing boundaries and being open to new and innovative ways of achieving your objectives does not come without challenge… but those that do are truly pioneering.

 

It’s clear you have an affinity with ships. How has your experience working as an engineer in the navy benefited you in your role at Magicman?

I think the Armed Services instill in every man and woman a certain confidence, flexibility, team ethic, management ability and common sense! I loved my time in the Royal Navy and have very many fond memories of traveling the globe and experiencing life to a greater degree than almost all I went to school with. In essence it allowed me to push boundaries. Something I have continued all my life.

 

I have also had the great fortune to meet along the way some great people, both technicians and management. Some have brought great skill and some great experience. We are like a puzzle in that we are all different pieces with differing skill sets that combine to provide a complete picture. Our common goal and the thread that binds us all, is to deliver beyond expectation.

 

Briefly, can you talk us through the process from first taking a project on to seeing the end-results?

With over 25 years’ experience behind us, Magicman Technicians know what we can do and indeed what we cannot do - the limitations. The first stage is evaluation. Not only about the repair but the circumstances or cause, the environment you are working in and comparison with replacement cost and effort. There is also the Health & Safety element to evaluate. Next comes strategy and preparation for the client, so they know what to expect and for the technician to ensure minimal disruption and aftercare. Following this is the repair or rejuvenation process and finally client ‘sign off’ and aftercare instruction. Of course, there are additional factors dependent on whether you are assessing a single repair or conducting a survey for major works on a cruise liner.

 

A UK-based company, Magicman is extremely active within its local community, championing the national living wage and supporting multiple charities and community projects, even sponsoring their local teams’ football kits! In your opinion, what is the importance of running an ethical company in 2019?

I have been extremely lucky in my lifetime, from surviving the sinking of my ship, HMS Ardent, during the Falklands War in 1982, to marrying a spectacular woman in Vanessa who has given me three beautiful daughters and supported me through the years in both feast and famine. Without her support I could not have possibly continued through some of the more difficult early years.

I have also had the great fortune to meet along the way some great people, both technicians and management. Some have brought great skill and some great experience. We are like a puzzle in that we are all different pieces with differing skill sets that combine to provide a complete picture. Our common goal and the thread that binds us all, is to deliver beyond expectation. If you do that, then we are all winners, and we can share that good fortune outside the immediate Magicman family to those that are less fortunate or just need support as we all do from time to time.

 

Thanks for speaking with us today Mark. We’re looking forward to seeing Magicman exhibit at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo 2019; what are you looking to achieve through attending next year’s Miami-based event?

Our goal is simply to raise awareness of Magicman and its capabilities worldwide to as wide an audience as possible. Further patrons would enable the establishment of regional hubs, thereby further reducing cost and supply routes to clients.

 

Don't miss Magicman exhibiting at booth 730 at 2019's Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami.
 



REGISTER FOR FREE NOW


Join the conversation
#CSIE19 #DesignedToInspire