Procurement Manager, Owain James, is celebrating a decade of service with us. Owain began working for Premier Forecourts and Construction (formerly The Premier Group) in 2013 as a Storeman and has held several key roles within the company over the intervening years.
To mark his tenth work anniversary, we caught up with him to ask about his work background, his time with the company (how it’s grown, changed and developed over the years), his proudest work achievements, what he enjoys most about work, and where he sees the industry going in the future.
When did you start with Premier Forecourts and Construction?
Owain: I started with ‘The Premier Group’, as it was known then, back on the 7th of January 2013.
How has your role within the company evolved over time?
Owain: I was initially employed as a Storeman, looking after the warehouse and the company’s fleet of vehicles – this was whilst we were based in Cross Hands.
The following year, a part-time role within the Procurement Department became available, and I joined the team placing orders one day a week. From there, I was employed full-time in a Buyer’s role, and after a period of training and mentoring from the Commercial Manager, Ray Jones, I took over my current role of Procurement Manager.
What did you do before you joined the company?
Owain: After leaving school, I worked at Yates Wine Lodge for a number of years, and this was where I met my good friend and colleague Nicky Screen – he’s followed me from job to job ever since.
From there, I went into retail, working for a local independent tile supplier, this is where I first became aware of Premier, as we supplied tiles and sanitaryware for Shell Garages to Steve Evans and his team.
Unfortunately, after 10 great years, the shop was closed due to a downturn in trading. Luckily, the link with Steve Evans and Premier was enough to get me an interview with the company, and my career with Premier began.
What do you like most about the job?
Owain: It may sound cheesy, but its genuinely the people I work with, the office environment, the open relationship between management and the rest of the team, and the boys on site.
I’d like to think we are all working towards the same goal, making the company successful and delivering high quality work in a safe manner.
What recent projects are you particularly proud of?
Owain: As you can imagine, I’ve worked on many projects along my 10 years with the company. The ones that stand out are: helping to deliver the Jamie Oliver Shell Kale project for Shell; being involved with the Synergy rebrand for Esso, in which we upgraded hundreds of forecourts across the UK; purchasing our new fleet of vehicles; assisting with the new design for van graphics; and sourcing state of the art racking and security and safety equipment.
Anything that particularly sticks out in your memory from your time at the company?
Owain: The family fun day sticks with me as a great day to look back on. The day was a huge success, we hired in bouncy castles, ball pits, and activities for all staff members children. We also had a free bar and an ice cream van booked. Great memories.
Would you recommend this profession? If so, why?
Owain: No, no, don’t do it. I like my job and don’t want anyone else trying to take it from me! Ha-ha.
How do you see the industry evolving?
Owain: Even in the 10 years I’ve been with the company, fuel stations have evolved so much and continue to do so.
They are becoming a shopping experience with an opportunity to grab a coffee or hot snack whilst filling up your vehicle with fuel. With the increasing introduction of electrical charging points – and the slightly longer duration needed for recharging as opposed to petrol or diesel re-fuelling – this shopping experience is only going to become an even more important part of it.