Dennis West has worked in the commercial refuelling market for 26 years and what he does not know…is not worth knowing!
He is the Special Projects manager for Cameron Forecourt and has worked with the worlds leading manufacturers, engineers and production companies on engineering projects including engine test cells for Bentley Motors, Installations at the leading UK tech universities and Off Shore Windfarm’s DONG Energy to name but a few.
Whilst Dennis is office based he spends a lot of his time meeting clients to discuss projects, consider design options and provide estimates for the more specialist areas of the business including engine test facilities and marinas.
“I always like to give 100% and if it means travelling to the far ends of the country or getting up at 5am, I can be trusted to do what’s needed and get on with the job. Ultimately meeting different people makes the role for me.”
He is very much an old-fashioned people person and the role allows him this.
So lets ask Dennis a few question and get some insights…
Changes over the years? Dennis reflects,
“It has got a lot different because of computers and email communications. For me, a few years back, you could shake hands with someone and get on with the job and any issues along the line were resolved with a conversation.” He adds, “I prefer to talk, so emails and computers can be my weak point. Everything now is very formal and all done by email and has to be documented. Luckily I have the girls in the office who can handle the administration for me and ensure I cross the i’s and dot the t’s, so to speak.”
Dennis worked 24 years for the local coal board as an engineer building structures. He even worked underground where the work was particularly dangerous. It was a tough time and he earned just £13 a week! Towards the end of his career with the Coal Board, he experienced 12 months on strike. but returned to the mines for another 5 years before being offered redundancy.
Jobs were posted in the porta cabins at the mine and his employers provided him a CV so he applied for positions at ICI and Cameron Engineering. He worked for ICI for two weeks and in the meantime got an interview at Cameron’s.
Prior to the interview, he went to his local petrol station and spoke to the owner for an afternoon picking his brains about all things forecourt. So, in the interview with Cameron Engineering, when asked what he knew, he reeled off what his friend at the local petrol station had told him. Quite swiftly the then engineering manager, Jim Beven, threw a set of keys at him and said, “the job’s, yours. Start immediately!” Many men from the mines followed Dennis to work for Cameron Forecourt and they forged a strong team building the reputation of the company’s technical services bringing with them their mining engineering skills, hard-working ethic and inbred comradery.
“If someone struggles, it’s good to all help each other. Every day, we used to finish up at each other’s sites and get the work finished together”, Dennis recalls.
Dennis and a few others later went on to buy shares in Cameron 2000 before it was then bought out by Forecourt Engineering to form Cameron Forecourt Limited. He has continued to work for the company to this very day.
Favourite aspects of the role?
His favourite aspects of the role….All of it! He has always enjoyed the office for the team within it and meeting people in the industry. He confesses he can talk for England. And on a more serious note states,
“I feel very healthy and genuinely enjoy the family run company that is Cameron Forecourt; you just get more appreciation than you would in a large corporation, I feel looked after here,” he adds.
He also enjoys different projects and the challenges that arise, commenting, “once you stop learning that’s a bad thing.”
On asking which projects he enjoys the most, Dennis quickly confirms it’s the marinas. He loves to work near the water and enjoys seeing the boats and ships and such.
People you work closely with on day to day? Darren West, the installation manager and Martyn Roper the operations manager. Gail and Bev also help hugely with the computer side of things and Bev types up his quotes.
Spare time? In his spare time, he claims to not get up to much really enjoying the simple things in life such as being in the garden and spending time with his beloved rescue dog Alfie. Dennis laughs,
“if you asked my wife she would say I loved the dog more than I loved her!”
Currently reading? He tries to read the newspaper every day but confesses he talks too much and never reads it properly, favouring to chat with the staff on his breaks instead. If he does focus for a minute, he normally flicks straight to the back pages to follow the local football teams including Barnsley, Sheffield and Rotherham and of course Portsmouth and Southampton due to his father originating from that neck of the woods.
If you see me out buy me a…..pint of John Smith’s bitter please.
A quote to sign off with? Key Sera Sera, what will be will be.
Time goes by too quickly sometimes.
call 01226 742 441 to speak with Dennis, he is more than happy to help you with any special projects on fuel installations or modifications.