“I think the industry needed a shake-up, and we certainly did that” - Mark Rodman.
Founded in 2010, Pitchmark has come a long way from its humble beginnings. In order to get things started, the pair started their business as a small operation selling a limited range of line marking products from their hometown, Bristol.
“The seeds were sown a few years prior, and we started with virtually nothing,” Sue said. “The business was created in the middle of a recession, and we had no access to external funding or support.
“It certainly wasn’t easy!”
However, with their commitment to innovation, quality, and customer service, Pitchmark has grown to become a global leader in the industry, boasting a vast range of products and services to meet the demanding needs of sports pitches around the world. Mark and Sue managed to turn their initial struggles into a significant coup for the company in February 2011, when they appointed their first overseas customer for 100 machines and paint.
Sons Tim and Darren joined the business shortly thereafter, and 12 years later the pair now oversee the company’s long-term planning and day-to-day operations, along with family friend Jon Griffiths (Operations Director) and long-serving Pitchmark employee Lynne Collins (Finance Director).
“The first time we saw our paint on the TV was at a bar in Las Ramblas in Barcelona!” Sue expressed.
“That feeling of seeing our products in use at Camp Nou was amazing, and I can tell you that sense of pride never goes away when we still see our products in use across the globe. We’ve certainly made a difference!”
In 2012, the soon-to-be popular Eco Club and Eco Pro spray markers were successfully launched to the market, and the following 12 months certainly marked the beginning of something special at Pitchmark. Mark and Sue built strong relationships across the Atlantic Ocean and provided line marking paint and machines to all stadia for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil – their first major tournament since the pair started the company.
One tournament quickly became two just a year later. Pitchmark returned to Brazil to supply all stadia once more as the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil took centre stage.
“During the time we’ve been in business, and since we started Pitchmark, I’ve seen the industry change and had the chance to take part in it,” said Mark.
“The 30 years prior to Pitchmark’s inception, the sports turf industry was an incredibly stagnant one. Nothing had changed for that prolonged period of time, and I think the industry needed a shake-up, and we certainly did that.”
One of Pitchmark’s key strengths is its dedication to research and development. The company invests heavily in developing new products and systems to help grounds staff achieve the pitch-perfect playing surfaces that are seen across the globe each week.
Pitchmark officially launched the industry’s first line marking mobile app for grounds staff to access sports pitch dimensions and ‘how to’ guides. With over two and a half thousand downloads on both the Apple and Google Play Stores, the app continues to be a great success with it still being put to good use today. In addition to the environmentally conscious paints and machines, Mark spent time working with Ex-Arsenal Football Club Head Groundsman, Reece Watson, to develop and launch the iconic three-wheeled Hybrid spray marker in 2017.
At the time of release, Pitchmark is enjoying fantastic success under The Pitchmark Group’s umbrella, along with sister divisions Turfix and Total Amenity Supplies, and now has over 25 members of staff across the UK and Europe.
The team offers a comprehensive training program for customers, ensuring that they have the knowledge and skills to use Pitchmark’s products and equipment safely and effectively. This is backed up by ongoing technical support, ensuring that customers have access to the help and advice they need when they need it.
The company was awarded the Queen’s Award For Enterprise in 2019 for demonstrating excellent growth internationally, and Mark believes that the company’s dedication to ‘making the lives of grounds staff easier’ is why the brand continues to grow from strength to strength.
“As a groundsman, I felt that the systems in place, and lack of support, negatively impacted how grounds people went about their business,” Mark said. “Over the years we’ve given the industry a boost, and everyone else has had to up their game because of it.
“The industry is in a really fortunate position because we are handing over the reins to Tim, Darren, Jon and Lynne to continue pushing the company forward and achieving our goals.
“It was our passion to make the working lives of grounds staff easier, and we’ve achieved that. And the board of Directors and the fantastic team of employees will continue to achieve that,” Mark proclaimed.
For more information about the company, including Director profiles and history timeline, please head across to our About Us page.