News Article

A Tribute to Paul Johnson

This Friday we will lay to rest a dear friend and demolition Superstar, Paul Johnson, founder of Bradley Demolition Ltd.

Paul was a larger than life character, both physically and mentally. He challenged peoples thinking and went about matters along his own path, never afraid to challenge the norm.

He was always an active voice in the North West NFDC meetings. People will remember the life and energy that he injected by way of his interesting and often funny stories. They will equally remember his challenge of conventional thinking on fellow members. He was never afraid to poke at the status quo. NFDC Chairman Howard Button openly told the floor during one meeting how he looked forward to these regional gatherings. as he found them open and refreshing. Paul had a large part to play in this.

While Chairman, he led a successful campaign to highlight awareness of HVO fuel. His passionate plea at a NFDC National Council meeting was seen by one member, Adrian Corrigan from GBM, who viewed it as the most impressive speech that he had ever heard. He spoke knowledgeably about climate change, carbon off sets, what we can do now including HVO and our responsibility to join the Climate Hub and other such bodies. He also said something that really stuck with Adrian. “I don’t want to have a little grandchild of mine sit on my knee in 20 years time and be asked, ‘Grandad, did you know?”

Paul didn’t do things by half. He was all in. He was a champion of environmental issues. He organised an Environmental Awareness Day at Worsley Plant’s yard in September 2021 highlighting how technology can reduce CO2 emissions and dust control on modern demolition sites. Among those well represented were MACE, Caterpillar and fellow contractor, Rye Demolition led by NFDC London chairman, Simon Barlow. I watched Paul driving change that day and painting a picture of what our future environment could look like unless we changed course.

There was no such thing as a quick visit to see Paul. Those who knew him well factored this in when visiting by allocating at least 2-3 hours aside for an audience with him. I would have a secret laugh watching the reaction of those not aware of this and the exhausted look on their faces as they had to listen to Paul pontificating about one of his pet subjects.

Paul had a deep interest in history, both ancient and modern. He would often and without invite, share his knowledge into his business meetings. Classic military battles were one of his favourites. Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Churchill and the FBI were dissected in minute detail to the visiting excavator representatives whether they wished for it or not. He took inspiration from these great political figures and carried this learning into his business. The attack of a demolition project would be analysed and discussed in the field at his military style cabin named Operation Command Headquarters. I kid you not. His men were drilled into their specific requirements on the demolition line of attack. Team bonding roars were heard at the end of the brief before drivers mounted their excavator weapons of choice. Not your conventional demolition approach but an effective one none the less.

Paul Johnson didn’t do conventional. He was interesting and interested. A one off. The North West NFDC meetings will miss his presence. His reign will be known as the Paul Johnson Era.

Veni Vidi Vici

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