Personal views and experiences

Born in Watford, England, 3rd October 1967.  I grew up in Abbott’s Langley until October 1974 when my parents decided to immigrate to New Zealand. What a beautiful country full of wonderful sights and experiences.

When we arrived in New Zealand my parents quickly set about making us a comfortable home.  But I struggled fitting in at school.  It was decided that I should join the local Scout group as a Cub.  Aged 7 I went for my first meeting and never looked back.  Progressing as quickly as my age would allow I acquired as many activity badges as I could fit on my sleeve.  The team spirit within tha pack was great and I soon developed into a leader within my patrol.

School life seemed less difficult as I had made friends within the local Scout group.  Eventually we had to do a camping exercise with school and as I had already done many of these within the cubs and scouts I was familiar with all the skills required to cope.  I had a great time and was able to help others with the chores and activities we had to perform.

In December 1980 the family returned to the UK.  Much to my brothers and my annoyance.  We settled in Milton Keynes and joined the local schools.  Again the struggle to fit in with a strange accent and differing ways of doing things at school.  Fortunately for me it was the Rugby season and having trained in New Zealand some of my skills were recognized and I started playing for the School team.

Whilst in my last year of school I completed my Chief Scouts Award.

After completing my secondary education I joined Milton Keynes college and studied Business.  I really enjoyed my time at the college and successfully completed my course.  I had intended to continue my studies but pressures at home caused me to move to live with my Mother.  Her new partner was not very supportive of us kids and forced me to leave college and find a job.  I regret this still today.  Especially when I see how successful some of my peers from college have become.

My working life began for Barratts Shoes as a trainee manager.  I had spent the last 4 years working for Peter Lord (Clarks Shoes) as a sales assistant.  So making the move into management was a natural progression.  It was not long before I was given my own store to manage in North Finchley, London.  Within 3 months I had turned the store around.  I did this by following the company literature and using some of my own skills as a salesman to develop the skills of my staff.  My efforts were rewarded after the Christmas sales (85% up on budget), with a move to a newly refitted store in Watford.  It was like coming home!!

Again my stay here was short-lived and I was promoted to the Factory Shop in Northampton.  After successfully relaunching this store I was again promoted to manager of the Oxford Street branch aged 21.  I quickly grew bored here.  There were so many staff and I was more of a hands on operator at this time.  I coped with the admin but needed the interaction with the customers on the shop floor.

I decided to leave and went to work with my father.  He had set up a small catering business in Buckingham.  Near Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.  Over the course of 6 months we expanded to 2 shops and 3 catering trailers.  We provided on site catering to Paintball Games UK and built a reputation of quality food at good prices and our business kept growing.  After about 5 years I felt I had out grown the business and without some capital investment could expand no further.  Disagreements between family members resulted in my departure.

Whilst working for the family I had met my wife and we started our family, 3 daughters.  Obviously I couldn’t afford to be without work for very long.  I noticed and advertisement for drivers with a local company and applied.  I started work the day after my interview and found it very enjoyable.  Some days I would drive alone and other days myself and a drivers mate would do 22 or more deliveries of Washing machines and other white goods, direct to the customer’s home(fitting if required).

On a couple of occasions I was asked to move one of the bigger vehicles in the yard and this was the beginning of my Heavy Goods Vehicle interest.  After passing my test in 1997 I started working for Wincanton on the Carlsberg contract.  The work was interesting and soon I was doing general haulage all over the UK.  Unfortunately this didn’t fit to well with family life and I decided to leave and work for and agency.  Lucky for me the agency sent me to Tesco, and this is where a 9 year relationship with distribution begins.

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