Remember the story we shared back in November, about our annual ‘Long Service’ dinner? (Click here to read it). We were making the point that the number of Coinadrink staff, who are entitled to attend the ‘do’, (because they’ve been with us for at least twenty-five years), now stands at fourteen. Add to that partners and, of course, Roger and Yvonne and it’s quite a get-together; which is, we’re sure you’ll agree, a pretty amazing fact in this day and age.
So here’s another pretty amazing fact for you: it’s about Stuart Westwood, our popular Service Manager. When he joined our long-service legends in 2013, he was the youngest of the lot. In fact, it’s not possible to be any younger and be a club member…
Allow us to explain: Stuart was born on the 27th of August, 1972. He joined us straight from Willenhall Comprehensive, starting on 26th of July, 1988, aged 15 years, 11 months. So, add 25 to that, and you have it. Achieving 25 years of service at Coinadrink, aged 40 years and 11 months, is a record that’s never going to be broken. You see, since Stuart’s day, the school-leaving age has been raised…
Not that Stuart thinks it’s a big deal: he sees himself as ‘just a team member.’
His first duties at Coinadrink involved ‘helping with installations as an extra pair of hands and running up machines in the workshop’, he remembers. It was a foot in the door, but Stuart was ambitious. ‘I always wanted to be out on the road, I couldn’t stand the idea of being stuck in an office all day, I liked the idea of being out and about’, he says.
Having sailed ‘first time’ through his driving test in October 1989, the allure of the open road became irresistible: it’s no wonder that Stuart was ‘really pleased’ when he was promoted to the position of Field Engineer.
However much he enjoyed the freedom that came with the job, a worrying development back at HQ meant that Stuart had to be recalled to Walsall. ‘Rich Braxton was our Technical Manager at the time and he fell ill’, Stuart recalls. ‘It was serious and he was on long-term sick leave, so I was asked to come back in house to cover for him in a technical support capacity. Rich was a real mentor to me; he was a good listener and he gave me a lot of good advice that allowed me to do my job better.’
By the way, you’ll be pleased to know that Rich eventually recovered and returned to work.
The circumstances of Stuart’s appointment at that time could hardly have been more solemn: nevertheless, his career in management had begun.
The good news for us and for our customers is that Stuart’s not planning to leave Coinadrink any time soon. It makes you wonder how many more employment records he’ll set along the way…