My life at innergy Group and where it all started…
I came from a planning background working in a tannery in Leeds which supplied all the major leather goods to sportswear manufacturers. The tannery moved locations to Ethiopia and closed their Leeds site so I had to find another job.
In March 2006, I saw a job advertisement for innergy as a Business Response Supervisor so applied for the role. I went for an interview and got the job! So innergy now had its first employee… Me.
I had no knowledge of the gas cylinder business or selling and was thrown in at the deep end. When I first started with innergy we were located on a small site in Rothwell with just a single trailer of gas cylinders from a company called Macgas, we had a new van but no customers. There were two company directors and me. This soon changed and we grew very rapidly to a point that Calor Gas wanted us to sell their products and be a part of their network.
We moved to a site on Whitehall Road which is where Calor use to run out of in Leeds, and again we started to grow. Another person was employed to help with the rapid growth and we became the number one distributor of Calor Gas in the country.
This site was very spacious and had extra room in the yard for other opportunities. We then became agents for the industrial gas company called Air Liquide; not long after this, innergy bought their first acquisition a company called IC Greens, a family-run company which distributed both Calor Gas and agents for Air Liquide in the North Yorkshire area. I ran the operation in the North Yorkshire area. My first run would come from Leeds and then I had to call into our new site in North Yorkshire and load up for the second run and then finish back in Leeds.
In 2011, innergy wanted to promote and sell more products but had no room to do this at the Whitehall Road site so we moved premises to Gelderd Road, which is where we are now with our head office and a great showroom. I coordinated the removal of all our industrial gases and equipment from Whitehall Road to our new Gelderd Road site. This yard is a lot smaller than we had previously so it was quickly filled with all the stock we required. The showroom has an excellent range of Gas and Charcoal BBQ’s ranging from Napoleon to Campingaz, Char Broil and many more, we also sell Patio Heaters, Portable Gas Heaters and Welding equipment from recognisable manufacturers such as SWP and Weldfast.
The next acquisition we made was a company called SK Gas in Dewsbury. I stayed at the new Dewsbury site for six months to bring the depot up to the standards that were expected of innergy. I also trained the already knowledgeable staff that were previously employed by SK Gas who are now part of the innergy family. My role involved training the staff in the software that innergy used and I ensured that all of the same processes and procedures were adopted so all of our depot sites ran the same and our customers received the same high level of service that innergy promises to deliver.
I moved back to the Leeds office where due to a Management restructure I took over the full role of Operations Manager. innergy then closed the North Yorkshire depot because we were able to fulfil deliveries run from our Gelderd Road and Dewsbury sites to our customers around west Yorkshire.
A couple of years down the gas line, innergy had the opportunity to purchase another family run business in the centre of Harrogate Called H B Dobson. At the same time, innergy also purchased a company called Castle Energy in Castleford. This company was a little different from the others because along with Calor Gas they also supplied hundreds of filling stations with Solid Fuels and summer charcoal products. I again left the Leeds site and went to Castleford to help transform the company to be run the innergy way. I had help from the previous owner because Solid Fuels were new to me so I had to learn too. Together the takeover was a success for both companies, we had more staff join our innergy family and most importantly our customers continued to be happy.
As the biggest and fastest-growing distributor of Calor Gas in the country, innergy headed by the MD Gez Walsh, did not stop looking for new opportunities and very soon two more businesses were coming into the innergy family; Express Gas in Knottingley, Goole Gas and Welding Supplies, and yes, it is in Goole. I went across to Knottingley to bring the depot up to the Innergy standard and train our Steve, who was a computer dinosaur so he could run the depot on his own, which he now does really well.
I moved back to Leeds to do more of a ‘cover role’ for holidays and sickness, driving and to cover depots.
We had a vacancy for someone to run our Dewsbury depot, I stayed in Dewsbury and ensured that innergy standards were still being met but I also rearranged the yard and made it more efficient, we then employed our new man Dave who I trained and he is now running the Dewsbury depot.
I have been with the company for 13 years and now there are positive and exciting changes ahead again for me and the company. innergy were Calor Gases largest supplier but now to ensure that our customers always get the best deal, we now are the largest supplier of supply Flogas cylinders because of the competitive prices and Flogas’s customer ethos is in line with innergy.
So now and after running the Operations and looking after the innergy drivers (who do a great job for us) the time has come for me to change my role again and go into a more Compliance role based on my previous experience at innergy. This will ensure that all our depots are uniform and operating to the highest standards that innergy expect. Our customers will be able to go to any depot and be assured they will receive the same high standards of customer delight set by innergy.
This is a slightly different role and I am very much looking forward to this new role and the challenges ahead of me.