A former Royal Marine from Angus who set up his own business after being made redundant twice now wants to inspire other veterans.
Graeme Ogg is a former Royal Marines sergeant who saw conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan but now runs his own tree surgery business.
During the first Covid lockdown, in 2020, he was made redundant for the second time in five years.
At his lowest point, he decided to turn to tree surgery work – something he’d done with his late uncle.
Funding of £6,500 from Poppy Scotland allowed Graeme to take his place on a residential training camp in Cornwall.
From redundancy lows to business success
And 18 months on, he is a different man – happy and with a business going from strength to strength.
He credits Poppy Scotland for their part in his turnaround in fortunes and now wants to inspire other former serviceman.
Last weekend he gave a talk to encourage others to follow the same path.
Graeme said: “I did a half-hour talk at Poppy Scotland.
“It went down very well. I started at the redundancy and went through to where we are now.
“It was great for me to give back to all the people who have helped me.”
Graeme left the Royal Marines in 2013 and took on jobs in the oil and gas industry.
But after being made redundant for the second time in five years during the first Covid lockdown, he set up Timber Tree Surgery in late 2020
He’s pleased with the success of the business so far.
Graeme said: “We’ve had a lot of success.
“We now have a full-time member of staff, Scott Cameron, and he’s absolutely fantastic.
“He’s just done chainsaw tickets and he’s booked in to do his climbing tickets, so he’ll be able to do exactly what I can do.
“That’s turned the business from a one-man band and we’ve got real traction now.”
Weathering storms and future plans
Work has come flooding in for the duo, with Storm Arwen making for a busy time.
Graeme added: “There were a lot of domestic jobs, such as removing trees from people’s driveways.
“We did some work for Scottish Water as well and we’re booked in to do more work for them.
Initially I just wanted to make enough money to go from month to month and pay the bills.”
“Now we’ve invested in back into the business with new equipment – a chipper, a new truck and our ninth chainsaw.
“In 18 months, we’ve grown fairly quickly but steadily too.
“I just want to surpass this year with next year, and the same for the year after that.”
He described feeling “very low” after being made redundant two years ago.
Graeme says he is in a much better place now.
Special praise was reserved for the support he’s been given from wife Lynne and sons Ryan and Spencer.
“My wife and I are really happy with how the business is going,” the dad-of-two said.
He added: “It’s hard graft, at the end of the day, but I enjoy it. I’ve never been happier.
“Mentally I am in a very good place – I feel happy, and I couldn’t have done that without the support of my wife, my sons and the wider family.”