Paul Handover is a traveller! Both literally and figuratively.
He was a child of the post-war era having been born in London in 1944, some six months before the end of WWII. Subsequently, the death of his father, a Chartered Architect, just six week’s after Paul’s twelfth birthday disturbed his educational progress to the point where he didn’t achieve the minimum standards needed to enter University. But he was accepted as an engineering student at the London-based Faraday House Electrical Engineering College; albeit not being able to pass his IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) exams at the end of four years of study and, thus, not able to become a qualified electrical engineer.
Paul’s first job after leaving Faraday House was as a commercial apprentice at the British Aircraft Corporation’s Guided Weapons Division located in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. A very lucky break then had him join the sales desks of British Visqueen, a polythene film manufacturer also located in Stevenage and part of ICI Plastics Division. This was Paul’s first sales job and he loved it. Paul also signed up as a member of London Division Royal Naval Reserve joining the Communications Branch as a radio operator. This was 1963 and a year after Paul had passed the Post Office’s Radio Amateur Examination and Morse Test and been granted an Amateur Radio Certificate. Soon becoming G3PUK!
In 1968, a romantic quest took Paul out to Sydney, Australia and within a few days of arriving he joined the Sydney sales team at ICIANZ’s Inorganic Chemicals Division and carried on enjoying selling. That romantic quest resulted in Paul marrying Britta in September, 1968 in Sydney. Britta had been born in Helsinki, Finland.
A chance discussion with a fellow Brit, Norman Nicholls, a professional photographer also married to a Finnish woman, resulted in the Finnish magazine KotiPosti asking Paul to consider touring Australia looking for Finns and writing up their life stories. That was a tough decision! Quickly Paul resigned from ICIANZ and then he and Britta spent a year living out of an old second-hand Land Rover visiting many of the most most desolate and fascinating nooks and crannies of the Australian continent. Those fifteen thousand miles included meeting a Finn with his own gold mine, a Finnish Opal miner who lived underground to avoid the Australian heat, a Finnish tobacco grower, a Finnish sugar cane farmer, and others, and a drive across the magical loneliness of the Nullabor Plain.
KotiPosti then had Paul and Britta visit the Expo70 Fair being held that year in Osaka, Japan before asking if he and his wife might come to Helsinki to be paid! Again, a tough decision! Partly sweetened by Paul observing that the shortest route from Japan to Finland was via the Russian Trans-Siberian Express train. Thus a ferry trip from Kyoto in Japan to Nakhodka in Eastern Russia, some fifty miles east of Vladivostok, subsequently had them boarding the ‘foreigners’ carriage of the daily train service to Moscow at the railway station in Nakhodka. A journey of five thousand, eight hundred miles, the longest railway line in the world crossing eight time zones, awaited them.
But to spend those eight days journeying from Nakhodka to Moscow without experiencing a little bit of the Russian hinterland seemed daft. So Paul and Britta took a day out visiting Novosibirsk, some three thousand, seven hundred miles west of Nakhodka.
Once arrived in Moscow a few days were spent visiting this incredibly interesting city before the relatively short journey to St. Petersburg and through to Helsinki and the pleasure of being paid for Paul’s stories of the past year.
Then it was a case of getting one’s head around the long trip all the way back to Sydney but not without spending a little time in London catching up with family and friends.
But returning to Sydney didn’t happen. For Paul saw a job vacancy being advertised in the London Evening Standard newspaper by IBM’s UK Office Products Division. The vacancy was for a typewriter salesman to sell the IBM ‘Golfball’ Selectric typewriter. The lure of selling was too much even without the memory of the wonderful reception that Paul and Britta had received on the IBM stand at Expo70. So Paul attended an interview with IBM and was offered the job. After training, Paul joined the sales team at IBM’s London North branch.
IBM’s office product range was extending and, in time, Paul was selling the early IBM Word Processing machines. He spent eight very happy years with IBM.
However, once again chance rolled the dice and in 1978 Paul left IBM to start his own company: Dataview Ltd. Dataview, based in Colchester, Essex, became the eighth Commodore UK PC dealer and, later, when IBM released their own personal computer, the eighth IBM PC dealer. Yet it was word processing that became the star in Dataview’s crown for that roll of the dice brought Paul into contact with Peter Dowson who had written a word-processing software program for the Commodore ‘PET’. Dataview took on world rights for the software, Wordcraft, and over the next few years appointed Wordcraft distributors in many countries right across the world.
During this period Paul became much more aware of the importance of marketing strategy, becoming a Chartered Member of the British Institute of Marketing, and the raft of competencies that deliver entrepreneurial success. In 1986, Paul accepted an offer to sell the Dataview group of companies. (Regrettably, this period also saw the failure of Paul’s marriage to Britta and their subsequent divorce.)
Again, chance intervened in that an Autumn vacation in 1986 to Larnaca in Cyprus resulted in Paul meeting a couple who wanted to sell their yacht, a Tradewind 33, and return to England. Thus very early in 1987, Paul left Essex and became a full-time ‘yachtie’ living on that Tradewind Songbird of Kent in Larnaca marina. Paul was then exposed to the life of an ocean-going sailor returning to Plymouth, Devon via The Azores onboard Songbird of Kent in 1992.
Once settled down in Devon, Paul used his life experiences in selling and business ownership to act successfully as a sales and marketing consultant for organisations including coaching and mentoring to entrepreneurs both sides of the ‘pond’. He became a volunteer coach for Prince Charles’ Princes Youth Business Trust (PYBT) and was a visiting teacher at both an English and French business school.
An invitation to spend Christmas 2007 with the sister of Paul’s previous USA West Coast Wordcraft distributor, at her home in San Carlos, Mexico, gave the dice another roll across Paul’s life. For in San Carlos he met Jean who had been living there for a number of years passionately involved in rescuing dogs from the Mexican streets and finding good, loving homes for them in the USA.
Jean, also born a Londoner, and Paul fell in love with each other and Paul travelled out to Mexico with his German Shepherd dog, Pharaoh, in 2008. In 2010, Paul and Jean were married in Arizona and moved to their present rural Oregonian home in 2012.
Paul started writing his blog Learning from Dogs in 2009 and published his first book of the same name in December, 2015.
Paul has a son, Alex, a daughter, Maija, and a grandson, Morten.