David Fox, Regional Manager South East, Hirebase
Elected to the HAE Tools, Plant and Equipment Board 2023
I started my career as an apprentice mechanic after leaving school in 2002. I worked in the automotive industry for 12 years. During this time I developed my skills specialising in diesel engineering and auto electronics. Safe to say I have work on most types of vehicles from cars to boats, lorries and even plant!
In 2014 a position in Hirebase became available as a tool hire supervisor for a brand new hire depot in Whittlesey (Peterborough). I applied for the job with no experience in the hire industry, never the less I was offered the job and I started with Hirebase on the 1st December 2014. I was nervous about changing careers but an old manager gave me two pieces of advice before I left my job as an auto electrician. They were, “People deal with People” and “Know the feature and benefits of what you are selling”. Armed with this advice, I grabbed the bull by the horns and threw myself into the role. It goes without saying I was well and truly hooked. I had caught the tool and plant hire bug!
After 18 months at my new depot I had started to see business grow, but I was hungry for more. A Managers position became available at our Sleaford Depot. The branch was under performing, the staff were disengaged and the standards where far from ideal. I was awarded the promotion and moved to Sleaford depot in 2016. After settling in for 6 months getting to know the customers and learning a different way of working I created a stable team and began to build the business. Remembering the advice that served me well in first position, I built Sleaford to one of the top performing branches in Hirebase. With progression always in my mind, I was offered some additional training to develop my managerial skills. I was placed on an ILM level 3 course in management and leadership, this was fantastic. I learnt several new skills to help me develop myself and the skills of my team. I passed this with distinction and put the skills to use every day.
On the back of the additional training I was promoted to regional support manager. This gave me my first taste of multi-site management. My day to day tasks would involve supporting my Regional Manager with operational support across the region (along with running my branch). Working with different teams, understanding how other people work was a breath of fresh air. This role started to pave my way to becoming a Regional Manager.
In January 2020 my MD, Adrian Watts awarded me Hirebase Colleague of the Year, I was blown away. I was so happy my hard work had been recognised and rewarded. During this meeting he told me that the Regional Manager for the South East was leaving the business, and he would like me to apply for the role. So after applying and going through the interview process, I was told I was unsuccessful. This was a blow to my confidence, but I took the feedback on board and spent the next 10 months work hard and honing my skills. My line manager was giving me more and more tasks, allowing me to gain more experience in high level management.
In December 2020 Adrian came to visit me, and informed me that the Regional Manager for the South East had left and asked me to take over the role. With that, I accepted the role and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Nervous but excited, I was about to be in control of the largest region in Hirebase. Fast forward 2½ years to now, and we have a stable, engaged team! We have overachieved our targets year on year though some very difficult trading times, and we are working hard to improve the standards in branches to provide a fantastic service to our customers.
My ambitions as being a member of the board:
- Safety - Ensure the members are up to date with latest H&S advice regard new technologies, for example battery technology
- Standards - Keep the members safe with ongoing safe hire audits, making sure the actions are reasonable and actioned by the member in a timely manor
- Security - the hire is always targeted by thieve and fraudsters, help member protect their businesses, with advice and support with security
- Sustainability - the world is changing, there are so many new green alternatives to fossil fuels. Promote eco-friendly products to make the hire industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly