21 Sep Built from scratch in 48 years: Alex Ritchie
Alex Ritchie is leaving Gray & Adams after 48 years of service. We caught up with him to reflect on his time with us.
How long have you been working for Gray & Adams and what is your role?
I have been working here for 48 years, a lifetime! I have had various roles. When I started as an apprentice, I worked in teams building a whole trailer from scratch. We did everything from start to finish. Now we have departments handling each part of the process. It was a completely different job to any role available now, and one I found hugely satisfying. I took huge pride in saying I built that – all of that! My final and current job is working within the repairs team. This has been another amazing job. Every day is unique, and no two projects are never the same. The repair tasks are always different as are the vehicles. We will take in anyone’s vehicle; I have repaired fire engines and competitors’ trailers alongside our own vehicles. I have enjoyed the variety. I have also enjoyed the problem solving – working with the incident or problem to find a solution that works for each individual situation.
What attracted you to the company initially?
I followed my friends, as a lot of my closest friends worked for Gray & Adams. I am a local boy to Fraserburgh, and I wanted to stay here. The main industry in our local area is fishing and I didn’t fancy that, so it had to be Gray & Adams!
Tell us about your greatest achievements whilst working for Gray & Adams?
It would have to be building timber frame trailers from start to finish. These were small vans, like a butcher’s delivery van. I did everything except the painting and could walk away saying I built that van.
If you could do someone else’s job (at Gray & Adams) for the day, whose would it be and why?
I’d be our Repairs Manager. I’d like to experience what happens before the vehicles get to the workshop – A new angle on a job I have been doing for many years!
What is the best thing about working for Gray & Adams?
The type of firm it is. They care for people. As a business they invest time and effort into each member of staff. They have time for your personal life and development. They are very supportive of staff, that is for sure.
What are your retirement plans?
Holidays, time with my grandchildren and golf.
What advice would you give to someone joining Gray & Adams today?
Show your ambition, there are opportunities here for you. If you are prepared to work hard, you will have no problems. You can also move up the ladder quickly -show your promise and you will progress in this company.
Sum Gray & Adams up in one word?
Reliable. We do it right at Gray & Adams and are very particular about the finished product. We always like things to be right – No question about that.
Across your time at the company what things have changed the most?
It is a massive business now. The volume of work and staff have increased an incredible amount compared to when I started. The process is also different. We used to make each trailer from start to finish, we now have departments doing small parts of the build, as part of a bigger production line. The scale and efficiency of our work has been the biggest change I’ve seen.