Meet Roy Heaton
Business Development Manager – North West of England
I was educated in the Preston area and left school at the age of 16 with reasonable secondary school qualifications, but certainly not exceptional. I was the youngest of 5 children and all my siblings had previously completed their education at that age and moved into the world of employment. So, I felt obliged to follow the same family path.
During my school years I always believed I wanted to become an engineer or vehicle mechanic, but it was 1983, the year before the miners strike and unemployment in the country was very high and to find a traditional style apprenticeship was almost impossible.
I am not sure where the initial idea came from. Possibly from desperation, but the thought of joining the military became a real option. The Royal Air Force appealed the most, so off to the recruitment office I went. I can still clearly remember sitting in the office and the recruitment officer asking me which trade I would like to join as. I quickly scanned the hundreds of options and selected Aircraft Propulsion Mechanic. After completing the initial entrance exams, interviews and medical examinations, to my own surprise, I was accepted.
At the age of 17, full of nervousness mixed with excitement I got on a train at Preston Station and set off to undertake my basic training. To cut a very long story short, I completed a 12 year service in the Royal Air Force. During that period I undertook further training to progress to an Aircraft Technician and worked on several types of military aircraft and engine systems. It also provided me with the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world. Some nice, such as 6 weeks in Cyprus during the summer and some not so nice, such as the Falkland Islands in the depth of their winter.
During that 12 year period I got married and was fortunate enough to have 2 children, Robert and Louise. My children were approaching school age and not wanting to drag them from school to school as I moved around, I felt it was a sensible decision to bring my RAF career to a close and set down some firm roots. In 1996 we moved back to the North West of England and I began the search for civilian employment.
A friend of mine knew someone who had recently joined a company called Pirtek and he was aware they were recruiting further technicians. I applied for the role of Mobile Sales and Service Technician at the Preston branch and was successful in gaining the position. I was assigned to the Blackburn and Burnley regions and set about servicing existing customers and attempting to generate additional business in the area. This was my first experience in any sales capacity and to my own surprise I discovered I enjoyed the challenge and somehow had some reasonable success.
After a period of approximately 18 months I was asked to take on a full time sales position within the business, which I accepted. Over the next 2 years, through the combined efforts of the entire team, the turnover at Pirtek Preston grew dramatically. As a result of this success I was fortunate enough to be offered a role at Pirtek UK, the Franchisor.
The position was Regional Executive and the role was multifunctional, providing support to the franchised network from Oxford to the Scottish border on all matters including sales, operations and training. This was a massive step up for myself and I am not ashamed to say that during the very early days I was a little out of my depth. I worked hard, learnt quickly and over a short period I grew into the role.
In 2001 Pirtek continued its expansion in the North West opening new branches. Through the support of Pirtek UK I took one of those opportunities, opening a new franchise on the East side of Manchester based in Oldham. We opened the new branch, Pirtek Oldham, in June 2001 and the early months were very bumpy, but after a period of approximately 6 months the business started to develop quickly and over the coming years we increased the number of mobile service units and created a strong business presence in the area. In 2007, I received an offer to acquire the business and after consideration I accepted and sold the Limited company along with all its assets.
After a short break and holiday in Australia, I was eager to become productive again and opened a small retail shop in my local town to quickly discover my strengths are definitely not in the retail industry! During that period I also did some short term consultancy work for a local franchise organisation.
It wasn’t too long before the appeal of our industry drew me back and after contacting an old colleague I resumed my career with Pirtek UK. The role quickly developed and my key responsibilities were to develop a new concept of introducing a professional sales team to work closely with the franchised network with the aim of significantly increasing local, regional and national business. My responsibilities included selling the concept to the franchisees, recruitment, training and the ongoing management of the sales team. The concept and sales team grew much faster than anyone had ever anticipated and after a couple of years the sales team had grown to approximately 17 personnel. The role was enjoyable but also exceptionally challenging and tested all the life lessons I had learnt throughout my career.
After a period of approximately 3 years and due to personal reasons I felt that I needed to be working closer to home and accepted an opportunity back at Pirtek Preston to become the Branch Manager, responsible for the entire operational side of the business. As a team we had some good success, grew the turnover of the business significantly and also added an additional mobile service unit to create a dominant presence in the area.
Although I enjoyed my time in the role, I always knew in my heart that I needed a new and more sales focused challenge. After weighing up all my options and reflecting on my career experience I knew my next role would still be within the on site hose replacement industry. I felt I still had a strong passion for business development and wanted to join a business with the same aspirations. It was pretty obvious that there was only one company in the UK that could achieve that match.
After initial meetings with Duncan, Jay and Fintan it became even more obvious that Hydraquip was the company that I needed to be working with. Their passion for the business mixed with the desire and ambition to continue to grow and develop the business matched exactly what I was looking for.
As you can imagine I was delighted when I received the offer for the role of Business Development Manager for the North West of England. I am excited by the challenge and I look forward to working with the entire team at Hydraquip and assisting to develop business with all the branches and personnel in the North West over the coming years.
Monday 22nd May 2017
Meet The Team