Staff Spotlight: Liam Jay, Parts Supervisor, Cardiff
Liam Jay, Parts Supervisor at Cardiff volunteered to step into the spotlight and be interviewed by Janet Birkmyre.
Liam Jay is the Parts Supervisor working out of our Cardiff depot and although he has only been with the company nine months, he has hit the ground running with the parts team achieving record parts sales in two months already. We are grateful to Liam for making time to step into the spotlight, I hope you will agree that it proved to be a fascinating interview.
Let's not beat about the bush, working in the motor industry is not Liam's first career choice but his military ambitions were cruelly ended when his parachute failed to open properly during a routine parachute jump, “The plan was to do the full 20 years as a soldier and retire with a pension. I wanted to progress from the Paras to the SAS and then Military Intelligence but I fractured a vertebrae in my spine and that put an end to that. I spent weeks in hospital and then several months in a wheel chair, during which time I weighed up my options. I guess I was a bit arrogant, I had passed P company (the selection course for the Parachute Regiment) five years before that, I had done the marksman course and had an attachment to special forces, joining the Royal Logistics was not what I wanted to do, so I decided to take a medical discharge.”
Such a dramatic change of fortunes would challenge even the most resilient of us and Liam does not sugar coat it, “Coming out of the Army was the hardest things I had ever done. I was homeless for about six months but I had a trade as a technician, which I gained during downtime in the barracks, so I stayed with a friend and I got a job at KGM, servicing motor cycles.” Alongside his work as a technician, Liam also worked in parts and soon he found himself back in his home town of Merthyr Tydfil working for VW as a Parts Advisor and then Parts Supervisor.
Liam joined WG Davies in October 2021, following roles with Mercedes and Mazda and he is relishing the culture and the opportunity. He instantly saw what makes WG Davies a great place to work “I got on with Roger instantly. And it is quite rare to find but I liked the fact that when we were walking around people were nice and polite, and there was a great team spirit across parts and service.”
The ambition and drive that saw him pass P company to join the Parachute Regiment before his 18th birthday (in his class of 30 he was one of just four who passed) is now being poured into developing the parts business at Cardiff. He clearly works well with Alun, “He took over as manager at about the same time as I joined WG Davies and we just clicked. We both want to motivate the parts team to exceed targets but we also want them to enjoy being here – a culture of work hard, play hard.”
So what is driving the parts sales success? “The biggest thing, and it is what I have always done, is to get parts out as quickly possible. I know that if we cannot do that there is a danger customers will go somewhere else. So if the parts van is already on the road, I will find a way and that might mean jumping in a van myself.”
The relentless focus on availability is backed up with honest open communication, “We need to keep customers informed, they know things are difficult just now and they will forgive us a bit of a delay if we keep them up to date - communication is a big part of the process”.
When he's not working he joins members of his local motorbike club who travel all over the country, enjoying music and more than a few beers. Clearly the work hard play hard ethos spills over into his personal time and no one would begrudge him that.
His life today is a far cry from his original ambitions but Liam is more than stoic, he is optimistic, ambitious and inspiring; “I’ve got no complaints, I would not be me now if none of that happened. I am happy with where I am now, so I cannot regret anything which has gone before.”