I started with Boots Pure Drug Co. in Beeston Nottingham as a Pharmaceutical Trainee, and attended their college for 5 years. In September 1961 I became a Trainee Technician with the G.P.O. (General Post Office), however, I had to leave after I fell off a telegraph wire in 1963! I had a short stint as a postman, then 4 years as a mechanic for Singer Sewing Machines before I joined Brian Smith Plumbing for a year, then bakery sales from 1965 until I arrived at Evode on 16th September 1968 where I was taken on as a retail representative, along with 6 other people. My first venture for Evode was in the retail sector of the market, I was just given a map and they said 'Off you go'!! My region covered Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Humberside, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, and at one stage also included Birmingham.
It was a very successful venture, after a while there were 48 sales people, including managers covering 4 regions, North South, Midlands and Scotland. In 1974 I was promoted to Wholesale Representative, then in 1977 I was promoted to Builders Merchant Representative. 1980 saw another sideways promotion as the Division amalgamated Builders Merchant and Wholesale business into one, this being very successful. In 1984 came my biggest promotion, and, what I felt was my biggest challenge - Regional Manager Midlands Region, I was told by my Sales Manager, Grieg Ferguson, that it was 'make or break', - no turning back. I also knew that he was told that it was probably the biggest gamble of his career, to promote me due to my outspokenness!!
Call it luck, or call it skill, I did make a very good success of it, and what I feel I enjoyed most of all was the Man Management. Then came another promotion in 1990. Because of redundancies, I was made Northern Region Sales Manager as the Division had been split into two regions. In October 1996 my National Sales Manager had to retire because of ill health, and due to further changes I was then made National Sales Manager, Wholesale and D.I.Y. Independents in January 1997.
All in all I have been very lucky to have been happy in my employment over the thirty years.
Alan Talbots Amusing incidents:
After being with the Company for some 12 weeks, a vacancy came up for a Regional Manager. I attended the interview with Barrie Liss, Alan Cooper and I cannot remember the other persons name.
At the end of the interview I was asked why I should be considered for the position, my reply was somewhat flippant, I said 'From what I have seen since being employed here, was that I was the best man for the job'!!
I called on a customer in Sheffield when I was a retail representative, who lost his temper with me and threw my briefcase into the middle of the road outside his shop, and also slapped my face for upsetting his wife. I must say it was a case of mistaken identity, but he did not apologise until I had hung him on a pegboard in his shop, then he knew I meant business!! We got on really well after this confrontation, but I did have to tell my Regional Manager, Robbie Robson, what had happened. Another time that I called on a customer I slipped outside and split my trousers from the fly right to the waistband, I went into the customers who asked what do you want today?, my reply was 'A needle and cotton for a start!!'
Another instance I can recall was when we attended a sales meeting, and afterwards during the night we had a few too many drinks and I finished up at my Regional Managers house. I woke up in the early hours in a panic with these pains in my chest, only to find that his overweight cat had slept on my chest all night as it was cold! Another time John Short and I got drunk on port and brandies, and he lost his teeth. It took us two hours to find them - he had put them on the back of the toilet system in the hotel!!
‘Dancing’ with John short (on the right) !