People news: September 201805 September 2018

A monthly round-up of comings and goings in the commercial vehicle world.

‘MC Hammers’, a four-strong team of truck technicians from MC Truck & Bus in Thurrock, Essex, recently finished in a very creditable sixth place at the Volvo International Service Training Awards (VISTA), held recently in Curitiba, Brazil. As Volvo Trucks’ UK representative at this global competition, the MC Hammers team were one of 40 teams from across the Volvo Truck and Volvo Bus global networks taking part in this biennial event. This year’s competition was eventually won by Estonian representatives, Viies Ratas. “To finish sixth in the world is an absolutely fantastic achievement for the MC team from Thurrock, bearing in mind the strength of the competition. Over 4,800 teams, comprising of more than 19,700 participants, originally entered the global event. The team’s success in Brazil means that they have been recognised as being in the top 1% of Volvo technicians worldwide,” said Nigel Brooks, aftermarket director at MC Truck & Bus. Under the watchful eye of MC Truck & Bus Thurrock general manager Eric Millar, the MC Hammers team consisted of team captain Ryan Garrett assisted by Stuart Hall, Darren Sladden and John Walker. Whilst in Brazil, the MC Hammer’s team also visited a children’s home in Curitiba that is sponsored by Volvo Trucks. At the school, the team spent the day working with staff to improve facilities on site. “Without doubt, this has been a tremendous experience for all the team members from Thurrock and has allowed them to successfully pitch their skills against the very best in the world, demonstrating the quality of technical support that is available from the UK,” concluded Nigel Brooks

Leyland Trucks is reaping the benefits of a unique employee training scheme designed to harness the talents and enthusiasm of existing employees and encourage them into engineering. The Career Pathway scheme was first introduced at the company’s Lancashire manufacturing facility in 2015, offering employees full-time training across a broad range of roles, to improve their skillset and widen career options. The scheme initially focussed on engineering but is now expanding to provide opportunities in other business areas. The two-year scheme allows employees to dedicate 100% of their time to learning, leaving their current role, and embarking on structured rotations in assembly engineering, supplier quality assurance and design engineering. In addition, participants are encouraged to complete further education in engineering related courses, to expand the applied learning gained on each rotation. Now, the first employees to complete the scheme are one year into their new roles. Josh Little (30) started work at Leyland Trucks as an apprentice 11 years ago, and is now a commodity manager in purchasing. He said: “My background was electrical engineering, and I had worked on different production and manufacturing engineering functions. I saw the ECP route as a way to progress these skills further, but I didn’t realise just how much we would learn.” Sean Winstanley (27) from Chorley has also just completed his first year as a Design Engineer after completing the ECP, designing chassis and suspension systems. Sean stared work at Leyland eight years ago as a prototype fabrication apprentice, spending four years as an apprentice and one year as full fabricator. Now in its fourth year, there are currently five employees on rotation in engineering, with a new Finance Career Pathway set up in 2017, on the strength of the engineering route.

Volvo Bus has appointed Craig Connolly as the new retail bus and coach sales manager for Scotland and Outer Isles. Connolly is no stranger to Volvo having previously worked at Volvo Truck and Bus for 17 years, holding positions such as area service manager, service controller, technician and more recently at wood group as a construction focal point. Talking about his new role, Craig said: “I started my career through Volvo’s apprenticeship scheme which began at Volvo Truck’s original distributor, Ailsa. I’m really looking forward to bringing my industry knowledge to my new role, as well as renewing relationships I established while working for the company. Retail sales director for Volvo Bus, James Hyde, added: “Our aim is to increase our market share in Scotland and the Outer Isles and Craig’s appointment is key to this development.

MWheels has appointed Neil Hitchen to the newly-created role of technical manager. Hitchen, a CPC-qualified transport manager and experienced operations manager, will be responsible for the upkeep of the company’s in-depth technical library, as well as special projects including the introduction of new steel, Xlite and Xbrite forged aluminium wheels from global manufacturer, Wheels India. Hitchen, who has previously held operational roles at Stockport Truck Centre, The AA and Biffa, all of whom ran fleets from 10-70 HGVs, will report to Mike Cornwell, European supply chain manager for MWheels.

Richard Austin has joined the bus & coach team at Scania (Great Britain) Limited as regional account manager covering the North and North West of the UK. In previous roles, he was joint managing director at a coach operator and has been a fleet service manager for the last four years. Both are positions which provided him with a high level of knowledge of operations and experience of the everyday running of the Scania product.

Roadgas, a supplier of natural gas and bio-methane vehicle refuelling station infrastructure and Scania’s UK partner based in Nottingham, has recently appointed David Rix as its new Managing Director. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the high-pressure gas cylinder industry. Founding director of Roadgas Richard Barski announced his decision to retire following 37 years in the industry. Roadgas designs, manufactures and installs state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for companies to operate with both compressed and liquified bio-methane, natural gas and other alternative vehicle fuels.

Mellor has appointed Tom Morrison as its new overseas sales manager as part of the company’s international expansion plans and ambitions. Morrison brings more than 22 years’ bus industry and international experience to Mellor. That experience includes six years with Alexander Dennis (ADL), where he was senior product manager covering a wide range of countries and regions such as Switzerland, Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the UK. He also ran his own business for five years, which involved the sourcing of a wide range of components from overseas for the bus industry. In 2017 Mellor established a European distributor network throughout Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and the Benelux countries.


A team of intrepid cyclists have raised over £10,000 in an epic 105 mile ride across Lancashire – all to raise money for local charities. One of the team, elite cyclist and former British Hill-climb champion Jim Henderson, gave himself an even bigger challenge, completing the course twice and covering over 200 miles. To make things even harder, he did it all on a fixed-wheel bike, with no gears. The cyclists - all colleagues at Leyland Trucks and Lancashire DAF – completed the cycling extravaganza in a bid to raise cash for Leyland Trucks’ Helping Hand charity, which supports good causes in the region. The Factory to Forecourt event saw the team cycle 105 miles, from the Leyland Trucks facility in Leyland early in the morning of Saturday 14th July, to the Lancashire DAF dealership in Preston, where they were welcomed home with a family festival later that day. Peter Jukes, Leyland Trucks Operations Director, said: “It was certainly a tough challenge, but we really wanted to do something meaningful and ride as a team.”

DAF Trucks and its dealer network are backing Team BRIT with the donation of a top-of-the-range New XF 530 FT 4x2 tractor with Super Space Cab and race trailer. Team BRIT is a competitive motor racing team made up of disabled drivers – many of whom are ex- or serving-military troops – who compete on a level playing field against able-bodied drivers. Team BRIT aims to be the first all-disabled team to race at the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race, having already competed in the Aston Martin Le Mans Festival at the La Sarthe circuit earlier this year. The trailer – a collaborative donation by DAF Trucks and its UK network of DAF sales dealerships – was unveiled at Silverstone, where Team BRIT competed in the Fun Cup Championship. The vehicle is decked in Team BRIT livery, featuring the team’s Aston Martin racing car which, together with its Fun Cup cars, will be transported to events in the UK and overseas.

For the fifth year running, and celebrating TIP’s 50th anniversary year, TIP Trailer Services has supported a 50-strong cycling team from the UK and Irish transport industries to raise monies for the Stoke-based charity Donna Louise Trust. Having previously raised almost £150,000 from previous events, this year’s target was a further £50,000. After its three-day Spanish charity bike ride, the TIP team has smashed its target with the total of money raised currently standing at £67,100. On Wednesday 16th May 2018, the 50 cyclists began a gruelling 3-day cycle challenge starting from Barcelona and finishing in Valencia. The journey covered more than 400kms and as usual, the team was an eclectic mix of TIP employees, loyal customers and supportive partners.

Scorching sunshine could not prevent a big-hearted Mercedes-Benz Vans team of more than 100 riders and supporters from completing a gruelling sponsored cycle and smashing their £20,000 fund-raising target. Temperatures approached 30ºC on Sunday 8 July, as colleagues representing the manufacturer and its dealer network, as well as customers, suppliers and friends, pedalled the 62 miles from Manchester to Blackpool. It was the second year running that Mercedes-Benz Vans has taken part in the annual event, which is organised by The Christie cancer charity. In 2017 the Mercedes-Benz contingent raised £13,500 for Parkinson’s UK. This year they rode in support of Cancer Research as well as Parkinson’s UK, and the total raised has now reached nearly £22,500. Mercedes-Benz Vans is supporting both charities through its Give Back Programme in 2018. Front of mind for many as they racked up the miles was Martyn Donnelly, a former van sales manager who worked for two Mercedes-Benz Dealers in the North-East. A keen cyclist, Martyn passed away last October, aged just 55, after losing his two-year battle with stomach cancer.

William Dalrymple

Related Companies
DAF Trucks Ltd
Leyland Trucks Ltd
Mellor Coachcraft
Scania (Great Britain) Ltd
TIP Trailer Services UK Ltd
Volvo Group UK Ltd

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