Andy Preston – Tees Lifestyle

Middlesbrough-born businessman Andy Preston is the founder and driving force behind local charities, Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and CEO Sleepout.

Through the latter, he also launched The Fork in the Road charity restaurant on Linthorpe Road.

Teesside Life

The restaurants I love to eat in are…
The world’s greatest – The Fork in the Road in Middlesbrough but I also love Muse in Yarm and Café Lilli in Norton. For rustic appeal and an open fire, it has to be The Blue Lion in Wensleydale.

The meal I order most of all is…
steak and chips with peppercorn sauce – always with a good red wine.

The stores I love to shop in are…
I hate shopping and order my suits online from Austin Read but I do enjoy a five-minute browse around Psyche. My wife buys my socks, pants and most other things!

The things I spend too much money are…
I’m not a big spender but I love tech gadgets. I adore my new Apple Watch – I can go anywhere without my phone and can still make and receive calls and texts. Holidays are my biggest single expense – every year I spend time skiing, visiting European cities and have weeks in Mallorca.

For a day out I…
cycle four miles in the sun with my wife and two boys from our holiday home in Majorca to the old town of Pollensa for breakfast, a wander around the town and then ride back to watch a film.

One place on Teesside I’d like to visit is…
Saltburn for surfing. I’ve never tried it but I know I’d love it.

In my downtime, I like nothing better than…
Browsing Spotify to explore new music – I’ll often discover jazz artists and music that’s off my radar. I also run a marathon every year and the training helps me to clear my head.

My perfect night out involves…
My wife, friends, good food and great wine.

My perfect night in involves…
The kids in bed, the fire on and watching a good box set.

Life’s Loves

A book I love is…
Fooled by Ramdomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Taleb, which I’m just rereading and I’d massively recommend. He’s a scientist and financier who writes about how the frailties of the human brain cause us to make terrible judgemental errors. I used to read a lot of fiction – my favourite novel is A Clergyman’s Daughter, one of George Orwell’s lesser-known works. I read it in four hours and was completely absorbed the story.

A film I love is…
One I watched the other week called American Made – Tom Cruise plays a TWA airline pilot who becomes involved with the CIA and then other less reputable groups. It’s a biopic – a fascinating story and a great film.

A TV programme I love is…
McMafia. I don’t watch a lot of telly but I’m really enjoying the acting and the terrifying, gripping storyline of this series.

A song I love is…
Vida Loca by Spanish artist Francisco Cespedes – it brings back memories of a family holiday in Palma back in 1998.

People in Life

I most I like to spend time with…
My family and friends – especially in Mallorca.

The biggest influence on my career…
Is fearing being poor.  I’m genuinely frightened of not having enough money and this prompts me not to be reckless with investments. I’m currently looking at some big new investments. I think they’ll work out very well – but everything carries a bit of risk.

The person who make me laugh is…
My youngest son, Buster. He just comes up with unique one-liners and all of his teachers say he says really funny things. When Lizzie and I were having a bit of an argument recently and as she was storming out to the shops she said to me “So you’re not even going to say ‘Goodbye’?” Buster immediately sat on the floor with his head in his hands and said “This is the saddest love story ever!”

The people who inspire me…
I’ve never had a hero or idol, though I do sometimes wish I had the compassion of Jesus but I also wish I had the mental focus, and money, of Elon Musk.

The people who make me angry are…
Those who think the world owes them a living. Everyone has the right to be protected by society but there are some people who don’t want to offer anything in return. I also think most politicians are a dreadful bunch – they’re so obsessed with their careers that they genuinely can’t see how stupid they are.

Working Life

My greatest achievement was…
I don’t ever feel like I’ve achieved much – but it did feel like a relief when I become financially independent in my 30s. I’m very happy to have created Teesside Philanthropic Foundation from an idea. With the support of an incredibly strong group of trustees and patrons, the Foundation pretty much runs itself and continues to change lives and make Teesside a better place. I also opened The Fork in the Road as a not-for-profit restaurant, got it going, helped it win a strong reputation and even made a small profit – that was pretty difficult!

My biggest disappointment was…
Losing the 2015 Middlesbrough mayoral election by a couple of hundred votes – not for me personally but for my friends, family and supporters who helped to create a fantastic campaign. So many people who don’t get credit put so much of their own time and energy into it, so I felt disappointed for them and a little embarrassed to lose because I feel like I let them down.

My greatest regret was…
Not having the chance to carry through what I’d planned to if I’d been elected Middlesbrough’s mayor. I think I’d have been far from perfect but I’d have had a completely new way of doing things. I’d have challenged bureaucracy, fought against politicians and empowered people to make change in their communities, workplace and in their own life. I genuinely believe I could have made a real break from the past and energised people. Also I frequently think of people who’ve been kind to me in the past – some of them no longer around – and wish I’d let them know how grateful I was and what a difference that made.

My business mantra is…
Work harder than other people. It’s not a mantra but it is what I teach. You don’t have to be a genius, but you’re guaranteed to prosper – so long as you work harder than everyone else.

The alternative career I might have had is…
Not something I can imagine because I don’t know what my career is now! I like that I’ve got a huge range of interests and enough energy to put a lot into all of them. I don’t think I could have had a 9-to-5 job. I don’t think I could conform and deliver results for whoever was hiring me. I need big challenges and a big picture.

My remaining ambitions are…
To see my charity CEO Sleepout become a phenomenon that makes millions of pounds and changes hundreds of lives. I don’t want to cease helping and growing charities but, after a few years focusing on charity, I now have an ambition to make some money for myself and my family over the next few years.

The advice I would pass on to my children is…
Be ambitious with everything you do – your sport, your education and financially too but it’s really important to look after people who aren’t as fortunate, both with some of your time and with some of your money.