Less than 5 years later, aged just 23, I got my first job working for the Smyth family; I was appointed as a Sales Exec at RRGBolton Toyota and I learnt more in my first months at RRG then I had in 5 years of my previous role.
My sales numbers were flying and I became a Senior Sales Exec where I continued to be a top-selling salesperson for 5 years until 2001 when I was promoted to my first Sales Manager role at one of the Smyth’s Peugeot dealerships, Elton Manchester.
The site had been a problem, having never made profit; within 3 years Peter and I had put in the ‘people and process’ ethos and the site was making money. By 2006 as was General Manager and was there for another two years.
RRG was sold in 2000, but I’d always kept in touch with Peter and when Swansway purchased Wrexham Volkswagen in 2007, the Smyth family asked if I would come in as a consultant General Sales Manager to assist Ben Gilbert, the Head of Business, in turning the site around.
I was commuting to Wrexham from Leeds! Despite this I took on the role permanently in February 2009 and by the end of that year the sales department had gone from being ranked 210 in the UK to 9th and I won a Sales Manager of Excellence Award from VW.
Then came the ultimate opportunity to start a dealership from scratch; it was a phenomenal challenge and I won’t pretend it’s been an easy journey; from 2010 to now has been a hard journey, but we’ve definitely had some highs along the way:
To add to the fun in 2013 Hartwell Citroen/FIAT became part of Swansway Group and was added to the Chester Division. A brand new site was built on Bumpers Lane, opposite the Swansway Chester FC stadium and the site now retails not just Citroen and FIAT, but also, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, DS and Jeep, indeed winning the best new Jeep dealer award in 2015.
Throughout all this my beautiful wife Bonita, who has put up with me for 28 years, has been supporting me every step of the way along with my sons, Andrew and Jordan.
I love all motorsports, especially Formula 1 and have a new found passion for cycling and there’s less of me this year, as I’ve lost 5 stone!
I will always be massively grateful to the whole Smyth family for the opportunities I’ve been given and I’ll be a Swansway man ‘til I retire.