Our ‘Rising Stars’ are some of the emerging lights and unsung heroes of the mobility equipment sector, who have risen to the challenges they have been set and taken them in their stride.
From servicing bays and shop floors all the way to management level, the Power List’s Rising Stars represent a diverse range of roles and personalities.
Each of them has shown exceptional initiative and drive to succeed in their own positions and help the companies they work for to advance and develop.
In an industry that generally struggles to attract new blood it is comforting to see the level of enthusiasm and expertise each of our Rising Stars has demonstrated in the last year.
Oscar Andrews, Technical Lead, Baron Medical
When it comes to customer service and business processes, attention to detail should never be underestimated. Few are as thorough in their work as Oscar Andrews, who is Baron Medical’s engineering whizz. His colleagues say they are yet to come across someone with such a broad knowledge and a willingness to share it with others.
Oscar’s flare for mobility has come into its own in the last year with his ‘seemingly unlimited knowledge’ enabling work to be carried out to the highest standard while remaining as cost-effective as possible for customers. Recently, an end-user found himself housebound due to a faulty motor on a discontinued scooter.
Where nobody else would help, other than to sell a new model, Oscar was able to identify common components from a different supplier and ultimately provide a solution to get the scooter going again. Oscar’s leadership and resourceful approach has meant the business has been able to maximise the number of people it keeps mobile, in spite of its limited funds compared to larger organisations.
Specialisms and dedication to customers’ every needs are vital if independents want to thrive in today’s market and in the last 12 months, Oscar has led by example and inspired his team members to do exactly that.
Barry Reeve, Product Specialist, Unique Mobility
The last 12 months have been packed with new developments for Unique Mobility, which seems to be evolving at breakneck speed and quickly becoming one of the retail market’s key players.
Leading and orchestrating a large portion of the efforts is Barry Reeve, who has dedicated countless hours to laying the foundations for Unique to become the South West’s leading mobility retailer and a key company that is highly sought after by top manufacturers as a distribution partner.
One of the most significant undertakings Barry has been involved in was Unique’s total rebrand last summer. This meant carrying out a complete overhaul of the website and branding on all company space and all of its products.
Barry was instrumental in Unique’s rebirth and has been tasked with keeping the momentum going, continually launching new initiatives, staying ahead of the curve and building for expansion and a sustainable future.
Having established a new site in Exeter and secured exclusive distribution deals with highly specialist suppliers, Unique is now the region’s most far-reaching dealer. And thanks in part to Barry’s proactivity, the business has fast become an exemplary model in the industry.
Darren Macey , Business Development Manager, Lifestyle & Mobility
It is widely agreed that the mobility retail sector generally lags behind other segments when it comes to brand image and marketing. One company bucking the trend however, is Lifestyle & Mobility.
The South Coast dealer has just reported its best year to date and it is no coincidence that in the last 12 months, business development manager, Darren Macey, has been one of the most proactive figures in the industry when it comes to marketing and brand development.
Attending events, running social media campaigns and drumming up a buzz for new launches, Darren has helped to ensure Lifestyle & Mobility is the first port of call for customers in its sphere of influence. Along with his team, Darren has helped to guide a programme of investment which has seen the retailer install ceilings, vibrant lighting and new work stations designed to give the showroom a modern look.
Darren has implemented lots of new company procedures which has improved productivity and made the firm work smarter. He has been instrumental in business development and thanks to the efforts of the management and its continual evolution, Lifestyle & Mobility is now regarded as one of the industry’s best retail models and a top choice for suppliers.
David Jordan, Showroom Manager, Yorkshire Care Equipment
Yorkshire Care Equipment is fast becoming a dominant player on Yorkshire’s competitive mobility retail scene. Despite a number of financial uncertainties and generally tough economic climate, the retailer has achieved its most profitable year to date.
At the helm of the retail operation is David Jordan, who in the last year has guided the company through challenges such as NHS cuts and other financial factors. A number of local dealers and suppliers have gone to the wall in the time that David has led his retail team to growth.
He believes a first class customer service and new product developments have been key to Yorkshire Care’s success in the trying climate. David has overseen a year of firsts for the distributor, including the release of its free seating eBook, updating its very own Lento care chair and entering the adapted bathroom and wetroom market, which is a significant string to the firm’s bow.
The company has also expanded its exclusive Raizer dealership under David. As a showroom leader, he has demonstrated a willingness to diversify the business and ensure it is involved in a range of markets so that it can cope with the changeable and unpredictable market.
Gavin Thompson, Commercial Director, Disability Trading Company
Gavin Thompson was introduced to the disability world as a young carer aged just 11. He started work at the Disability Trading Company (DTC) in 2012, running the Liverpool operation, and advanced to commercial director two years later.
He leads its retail operation and is one of the most proactive and figures in the sector, always eager to expand and importantly, share his knowledge. Gavin has been busy attending dozens of dealership and health and social care training events, while attending university to study occupational therapy.
In the last 12 months Gavin has assisted the DTC’s parent group in opening an innovative new retail concept and securing Motability accreditation. But his achievements extend outside of the core business and he is recognised as a leading figure in equipment safety in the local area and wider industry.
Expanding Warrington Disability Partnership’s (WDP) Scoota-Safe campaign in recent months and sharing his experience with other professionals, Gavin has flown the flag for its mantra of imparting information and guidance on disability. In the words of his father and CEO of WDP, Dave Thompson, Gavin really is an unsung hero of the mobility industry.
Lee Sonnex, Apprentice Mobility Engineer, Ability Plus
Most bosses know all too well the challenges of recruiting in the mobility sector and attracting young talent is a particular headache for a lot of management teams. In Lee Sonnex, Ability Plus have found a valuable and extremely promising engineer and team member. He joined the southern dealer’s store in Herne as an apprentice mobility engineer last year.
He has shown a great deal of maturity and is very keen to learn new things – an invaluable trait in any recent starter. Lee also brings fun and laughter to the work place and is very uplifting to work with, which is a quality that cannot be underestimated in small teams. He has a very good work ethic, is always on time, polite and willing to help.
Customers have consistently praised Lee for his service and ability to communicate above his years. Managing director, Graham Johnson, says Ability Plus is very proud to have Lee in its ranks and describes him as inspirational and influential to the future of the business. Outside of the showroom, Lee has a competitive nature and is always setting goals for himself, notably winning the company’s go karting evening and beating the CEO.
Scott Everard , Senior Sales Manager, Companion Stairlifts
While Scott Everard only recently took on his senior sales role at Companion, he has already played his part in a number of key achievements at the stairlift specialist, not least the dealer’s various accreditations.
In the last 12 months Companion retained a Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award and became a member of Trading Standards’ Buy With Confidence scheme. It goes without saying that Companion’s sales staff have had to be on the ball where trusted trader guidelines are concerned and Scott’s leadership has been an important part of keeping staff focused on these principles.
Scott communicates with senior management daily to ensure his team are updated constantly and know exactly what is needed of them. In recent months, he has been working more closely with his colleagues at Handicare – Companion’s parent group – which means he increasingly spends time sharing best practice with the market’s other distributors.
Scott has helped Companion to usher in its first homelift product, which marks a major step-change in the dealer’s potential for growth and diversity. Ever ambitious, Scott hopes to get a lot further than he already has.