You’ve been at AVID for quite a while now, how would you say your career has grown since joining?
I started at AVID 8 years ago as an Installation Technician. At the time we were building electric 4x4s and city cars, and I worked on that side of the business for about two years and then progressed to working on the design side. AVID made a shift at that point towards fitting components to heavy-duty vehicles, in particular, the bus market. So I got involved with the designing of the Micro Hybrid System and I worked on that for about a year until I got promoted to Installation Manager. As an Installation Manager, I was in charge of running a small team of 6 or 8, and we travelled around the UK and Europe installing the MHS kits on busses. Then I was asked by AVID’s Managing Director and the Sales Director to move over to the commercial side of the business as a Sales Manager, and I have been working there ever since.
What was it that drew you to AVID originally? Has anything has changed since then?
I was working away from home and I saw an advertisement for a company in Cramlington working on electric vehicles. I thought that it looked like an exciting place to work, and I didn’t know much about EVs at the time or where it was planning on going, but working on big cars and electrical technology seemed cool, so that’s how I was initially drawn to it. I started my career as a forklift truck fitter, and I did plastering in London for a while, so when I went for an interview for AVID I thought there was no chance I’d get the job. But then AVID’s Managing Director phoned me and said that I had the job, and I thought if I lasted one day I’d be surprised. Then it was one week, one month, and then 8 years later I’m still here.
How has it changed? I’d say it’s been through various changes over the years, it started off very R&D, you didn’t know what was going to happen the next day, the projects we were working on were very last minute so we were doing 24-hour shifts to help get things out. I guess over the years it has changed to be a much more successful business. We’re still doing the exciting things but now there’s a huge manufacturing part of the business, there are lots of rules and regulations. So I’d say it’s changed from an exciting start-up to an exciting and successful manufacturing business.
When you’re not at AVID, what do you like to do, do you have any passions?
Well of course, apart from my 5-year-old daughter who I absolutely adore. I think one of my favourite pastimes and passions is canoe wild camping. What that basically is, is packing a load of camping equipment in a canoe, travelling down a river and finding a nice place in the wild to camp overnight. One of my favourite places to go is Derwent Water on the Lake District, I’ll find an island, canoe over, set up a camp and then pretend I’m Bear Grylls.
Finally, what would you say is your dream car?
I’d have to say my dream car is the one which I currently have. It’s a 12-year-old Land Rover Discovery 3, it’s not very fast and it’s expensive to run and maintain, so it sits on the drive for the majority of the time, but it’s the perfect vehicle for my hobbies of wild camping and that sort of thing. It’s a luxury car when I want it to be, so I can cruise down the motorway, but I can put the back seats down and put a double bed in the back and sleep in it overnight, which fits in perfectly with getting it out in the wild, I’d just love to have the time to electrify it at some point.