Interview With Stuart Raikes, Alliance Transport Technologies Director
What was your first fleet or automotive role? And what makes you want to stay in fleet?
As an engineer, I have been loosely involved in fleet management for most of my career, but my first real fleet role was to generate an Asset Management Plan for a tender bid for the operation of a large fleet of buses in the UAE.
What are your career (or fleet) goals in your current role?
Having been involved in fleet management for the majority of my career, I’ve come across the extremes when it comes to customer service and meeting a client’s requirements.
This experience has led to me becoming dedicated to providing the best service in the industry – having witnessed terrible instances of fleet management support, my goal is to always exceed a customer’s expectations when it comes to providing fleet care to operators.
My role at Alliance Transport Technologies means I’m in the ideal position to understand the needs of a fleet business, ensuring I’m best placed to provide some of the most superior support in the industry, whether it be technical field support, parts and general resourcing, emission control solutions or the refurbishment of AdBlue pumps and electronic hardware.
What has been your biggest achievement so far in business?
I am right in the middle of what will be my biggest achievement. 😊
Who has had the most influence on your career?
I have a number of role models and influencers, each of them is responsible for giving me the right push at just the right time – from workshop to office, from the office to the corporate world and the boardroom, and from there to where I am now.
I wont name them, but they know who they are.
What was your biggest mistake in business – and what did you learn from it?
Hahaha, I have a few! It’s how we grow, however, my biggest mistake was failing to properly realise the amazing talents of one of my team in a previous role, this person would have made my life so much easier.
I can say at this point, however, that I have since redeemed this and the person is now my fellow director.
How would you describe your fleet management/leadership style?
Some would argue the ‘sleeves rolled up’ approach detracts from good time management. Although I’m no micro-manager, I definitely believe in the value of keeping it real, especially where the team and our customers are involved.
If you could work in another profession what would it be?
Wow, I do love the bus and coach world, it genuinely is like a family, but if I could start again, I’d be an estate manager or work for the forestry commission – anything that keeps me outdoors.
What was your childhood ambition and why?
Aside from the usual superhero thing, it’s much too distant to recall in any detail.
What has been your most memorable driver moment?
The birth of my first child, Jess. Becoming a parent really does give you the kick to shape up and look at your future properly.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Get on the property ladder, which I actually did at 18.
Although it was easier back then, it still proves to be the best decision I made when younger.
What is the first thing you would do if you were made Prime Minister for the day?
Could anyone make a real difference in a single day!? I would call or visit as many influential leaders as I could and attempt to build relationships that I could call upon on my return to being a civilian the next day, sort of a platonic speed dating!
What was your first memory associated with a car?
A photograph of me, at one-month-old, sat on the bonnet of my parents’ Ford Corsair. My arrival resulted in them having to get rid of a Triumph Spitfire, a story I’m reminded of frequently.
What three vehicles would you like in your garage?
- A high-spec Land Rover Defender with all the off road toys
- An Aston Martin DB5
- The 1973 burnt orange Mini sold to me by my parents on passing my test, in a restored condition of course
What is your favourite film and why?
Blade Runner, the original. It’s atmospheric and the questions it raised are really relevant today.
What book would you recommend others read?
Thinking Fast and Slow by Thomas Kahneman – an insightful study into how our brains actual operate.
What are your hobbies/interests?
Bushcraft, camping and canoes and messing with anything made out of wood.
What is your pet hate?
Ignorance, intolerance and clichés – an easy answer but it’s true.
What was the pivotal moment in your life – and why?
As mentioned earlier, the birth of your children is quite an event.
How do you want to be remembered?
With a fondness and a slight smile.