Meet Pete Russell
Sales Manager Hydraquip Hose & Hydraulics Cannock
At a young age I really wanted to be a vet. I was dead set on this being my profession till the age of 13 or 14 at which point when I helped out with the lighting at a youth theatre group, I enjoyed it so much that I had decided to base my career on this. Not really having thought this out, this career path was short lived as at the age of eighteen, married with children, it did not prove to be a steady line of work.
Although not ideal, but proved to provide a steady income, I found my way into a sales assistant role within the retail industry, Woolworths. This was until I managed to secure a full time position at Office World which is now better known as Staples. Not feeling challenged by the job, working on a poor salary before the minimum wage was introduced, I knew I had to keep my options open. I shortly found myself working for a ground works company after a recommendation. Before I knew it I was block paving, laying concrete and digging holes for the following couple of years. Although the wage had improved, I didn’t really enjoy the job. So for this reason I then tried my hand as a labourer at Hewden Tool Hire. Finally after a promotion into their workshop I found a job which I did enjoy! Working on spanners, repairing and servicing small plant hire machinery, diggers and dumper trucks. This was my first taste of the industry and I did actually thoroughly enjoy the work. At that time I thought I knew quite a lot about hydraulics, but it wasn’t until I joined Pirtek York as a mobile hose engineer in 2001, I realised I knew very little. Whilst at Hewden Tool Hire, I had gone into Pirtek York for some parts and ended up walking out having been offered and accepting a new job as a mobile hose engineer. I had known quite a few of their fitters through Hewden, so the transition was quite easy, I fell straight into the job. I was well suited to this role as I thrive on a challenge, I enjoy the fact that each day is very different and the interaction with different people.
Following my two years with Pirtek York I worked at a plant hire company in Yorkshire for a short period of time before deciding to relocate to a new area, an area where I was surrounded by friends with positive influences. I had spoken with Bill Foster, licensee of Pirtek Wolverhampton, and began working as a mobile engineer again once I had relocated. The work was very different to Pirtek York as the industries they served differed. Whilst at Pirtek York I had worked with hydraulics on construction, farming and agricultural sites but with Pirtek Wolverhampton I found myself carrying out hydraulic work within factories. I saw many advantages of the relocation and one was building my knowledge within the hydraulics industry whilst working on various types of hydraulic machinery. In 2006 I was put into a situation where a back injury which I had suffered at the age of 14 was gradually getting worse which meant I had to leave manual work and as a result I left the industry. It was then I really had to think about what I wanted to do and how I would go about achieving it. Having always been keen on computers and good at maths, I decided to do a foundation computing degree at Staffordshire University. To pay for my studies I took a job at Bri-Stor Systems in Stafford, a vehicle racking company as a team leader running the night shift. It was here that I met John Toole an engineer who recently followed me to Hydraquip and ended up becoming one of my very good friends, in fact my best man at my wedding. Unfortunately, having to study whilst working a night shift to pay for this and general living expenses was a much harder mix than I had originally thought. I then took the hard decision of knocking uni on the head and concentrating on working my way up through hard work and experience.
At that point I really needed a fresh start, I decided to relocate to an area with more possibilities. My choice of relocation was Kent, this was influenced by my partner at the time living there. To ensure I could make ends meet I stuck to what I knew, I moved back into hydraulics. I had contacted Tracey Newman the licensee of Pirtek Medway and took a job as a mobile hose engineer. Pirtek Medway differed from the previous Pirtek branches I had worked at, Pirtek Medway’s customers covered a bigger variety of industries, which again broadened my knowledge. I saw this as an opportunity which I could take advantage of, which I did and ended up doubling the intake of the branch. Having worked at Pirtek Medway as a mobile fitter for 18 months, I progressed onto a part time sales rep for the branch. I initially found the transition quite difficult, keeping up with appointments whilst still going out on site to complete jobs, trying to remain presentable without getting hydraulic oil over me was very difficult. I was then promoted to a full time sales rep and it was then that I had my first conversation with Duncan, the Managing Director of Hydraquip. I nearly moved to Hydraquip at that point, but to be honest I was scared of being in a position of the grass being greener. Another concern was that I had just got John Toole my friend from uni a job as a mobile hose engineer at the branch and it just wouldn’t seem fair or right if I just left. I chose to remain at Pirtek Medway as I wasn’t quite convinced. My curiosity caused me to keep a close eye on Hydraquip’s progress.
I enjoyed the role of a full time sales rep more than I thought I would, meeting new people, every day being different and working on big projects. The great feeling of satisfaction you get when you acquire the big projects is great. It is such a competitive market, so it helps to know you have built good rapports with your customers, which I was able to achieve quite quickly.
Having kept an eye on Hydraquip, the proof of the company’s expansion was evident, they had opened quite a few new branches and supported a national coverage with engineers across the UK. Approximately 18 months after our initial conversation I decided to contact Duncan. We met soon after the phone call, I was offered the role of a Sales Manager with room for progression. For once I was delighted to see a company which could offer progression and not see me chasing carrots. For the first time in my working life I really felt involved with a company, I felt secure knowing I can grow with the company and at the same time can bring something good to the company. I still can not get over the number of people at Hydraquip, the number of products and services the company offers. Especially the staff, the staff all have their own expertise which clearly shows when you speak with them. The nice thing is to see that all the staff in the group work together as part of a team and never shy away from helping one another out. I was pleasantly surprised to see a dedicated repair centre at Hydraquip’s branch in Strood. It’s so well thought out to have your own facilities in a workshop which can build and repair rams and power packs. In the short amount of time that I have been working with the Hydraquip Group I have already been involved in a new branch opening. As part of Hydraquip’s expansion plans to increase their national coverage, plans for a new hose & hydraulics branch in Cannock began. I have really enjoyed being involved in the set up of the new branch, I am working as a Sales Manager at Hydraquip Hose & Hydraulics Cannock alongside Branch Manager Nathan Ward and Hydraulic Service Engineers Stuart Carter and Steven Nock to increase awareness of Hydraquip’s presence in the Midlands area and grow our customer base. I am very excited to watch the branch develop and grow supporting the rest of the Hydraquip Group and seeing more branches open in the Midlands area in the near future.
I am a keen skier, I am going to the Alps in March. My dad lived in the Alps for seven years, but trust me I am no expert, I fall over as much as I actually ski, though I still have a lot of fun. I enjoy the aspect of being outdoors and taking in the amazing scenery, which is the reason I love camping. I have been camping all across the country, the most remarkable place I have camped in is the Scottish Highlands, the scenery is incredible. I love travelling, I have nowhere near seen all the places I want to see. My dad who once was a scuba diver for the police force has promised to take me scuba diving in Egypt which I am really looking forward to. I am a true gamer, I own two PS4’s, well actually one is my wife’s. We are both really competitive so playing on a split screen is not an option, we have our separate screens to play against one another. I’m proud to say I have achieved my platinum trophy on Assassin’s Creed Unity, I have played all the Assassin’s Creed games. I do like to watch sci fi, Alien and Predator films in my cinema room which is equipped with a surround sound system. The Lords of the Rings and the Hobbit Films are also favourites of mine. These hold some sentimental valve as I remember the days my dad used to read the books to my brother and I when we were off on our camping trips. My wife and I cannot wait for the next series of Game of Thrones which is a real good watch, as are Hannibal and Dexter. I married my lovely wife two years ago whilst I still had my long hair. Though 18 months ago I made the harsh decision to have it chopped off, appearance is important if you want to achieve a successful career in sales. My wife was so fond of my hair, she now keeps my ponytail on a bookcase for show!
Friday 2nd October 2015
Meet The Team