Fleet News

The last word: Larry Bannon

Larry Bannon, national fleet services manager, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)

Away from the office, I love de-stressing by carrying out DIY. Fortunately, I live in a 450-year-old house which needs endless work. We call it the money pit.

My first car was a 1963 Hillman Imp and I cherished it. It used to overheat in the summer and I would freeze in the winter due to the poor heating system, but each time I see an Imp now I have fond memories.

The three vehicles I would like in my garage would be a 1952 Jaguar XK 120 tourer, a Mercedes SLK 200 and a Bentley GT Continental.

I’d like to be remembered as someone who takes their job seriously, but doesn’t take themselves too seriously. If by being remembered I bring a smile to someone’s face, then job done.

First fleet role: I emigrated to Canada at the age of 21 as an HGV mechanic and by the age of 23 I was running a local authority fleet of 700 vehicles. I am now 57 and have been in senior fleet/transport management ever since.

Biggest career influence: My mother, who despite struggling to raise four kids alone, was still able to instil virtues and core values of honesty, a work ethic and determination. She allowed us four kids to believe we could achieve against the odds.

Fleet management style: I like to think my management style allows individuals to develop, even if there are setbacks. Honest mistakes can be made by the best of people, but the important thing is how people respond to rectify the error. Experience allows good people to flourish.

Fleet goals at NHSBT: We are looking to introduce a transport management system this year. It will greatly improve the efficiency of the operational side of the business because much of the dispatch, collection and reconciliation work is paper-based at present.

Most memorable driver moment: Overhearing drivers talking about the standard of the fleet. I take great pride in knowing that, although they may not be aware of all the background work, they appreciate the end product.

Biggest mistake in business: Probably being over-ambitious when I joined NHSBT 13 years ago. Coming from the private sector, I had to learn the culture and bureaucracy of public sector ways and to realise that patience will still achieve the objectives. You just need stamina and determination.

Childhood ambition: Like most young boys, I had ambitions to be a professional footballer. I achieved a decent level and played semi-professional in Canada, but work commitments and promotions overtook my football ambitions – and paid better too.

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