Monday 19th January 2015
Today meet Barry Thompson
Branch Manager HYDRAQUIP Hose & Hydraulics
I was never a big fan of school despite doing well, I could not wait to leave and start my working life but was not really sure what I wanted to do, all I knew was I wanted to work, so as soon as I had taken my exams, I left.
My first job was working at the trade counter and warehouse at Ford Wholesale Electrical, it was a great start to working life and I thoroughly enjoyed dealing with the different tradesmen even if some of them did have a warped sense of humour!
After a year or so I decided I wanted to do something different I fancied the building trade and went to work for a sub-contractor for Marley Tile as a roofer, the work was hard but very well paid for someone not yet 18 and some of the antics roofers get up to are best left unsaid!!!
The roofing was a great experience and definitely character building but after a while I wanted to do something with a future and saw an advert for a hose company called Hi-Flex in Tunbridge Wells. I applied and got the job working on the trade counter, warehouse and phones, it was only a small depot and I soon learnt to run it while the Manager was on the road selling.
Whilst working at Hi-Flex I was approached by the Manager of Eastern Hose & Equipment in Maidstone and offered the position of Assistant Manager which gave me the opportunity of working with my own staff for the first time. It was a good learning curve but being a small company the options for the future were limited, so when I was offered a role back at Hi-Flex under a new Manager I decided working for a large group would give me better opportunities and prospects in the long term so decided to return.
It was whilst I was doing my second stint at Hi-Flex I was approached by Alan Scott, who at the time was a Director of Universal Hose & Couplings, to become the Branch Manager of his Ashford depot, so it was, I joined Universal and went on to become the Manager of the Strood head office and in time General Manager, with responsibilities of overseeing the day to day running of the 5 depots.
Unfortunately in 2003 Universal Hose & Couplings ran into problems having decided to venture into the PPE side of things which really did not go too well. It was at this point Duncan MacBain came to the rescue and took on the running of the business, there were some redundancies but the majority of the staff were retained and in subsequent years more have returned to the fold.
Now the Manager of Strood my role includes responsibility for the day to day running of the depot, supporting the sales staff, the on site engineers, purchasing and looking after many of the computer issues for the group something I have always enjoyed! If any one in the company has a I.T related problem I am the first point of call. Having had our bespoke combined sales, accounts and crm package installed a few years ago now, I am continuously looking at developing this further by instigating regular updates to the system, system developments for reporting on site jobs and new product developments.
The start of 2015 saw Hydraquip Strood move into a larger premises, being over twice the size of the previous Strood depot offering hydraulics in Medway, Kent and the surrounding areas. The move has enabled us to incorporate our Engineering (repair centre) department under one roof which will further strengthen our position in the market and with many new major products being introduced it promises to be a great new year for everyone at Hydraquip.
On a personal note I have to thank my wife and partner Carol for putting up with the long hours I do often working into the early hours, she has always been there and looked after our boys as they have grown up, Mark now 17 did his work experience at Hydraquip in Rochester and has gone on to become a Junior Web Designer for BP in Canary Wharf, whilst his younger brother Lee is enjoying his first year at the Maths Grammar School.
In my spare time I like to watch Lee play football, for the last 2 seasons he has played for Ditton Minors and it has become quite a family thing with Mark designing and creating the website for the club, Carol a natural organiser does a lot of work behind the scenes on the website and helping to raise funds for the club. Lee has done really well currently sharing the top goal scorers position for the under 12’s and this year for the first time has seen Hydraquip become a sponsor for our team!
Meet The Team