Staff from WJ Group have presented a vintage truck to directors Martin Webb and Wayne Johnston at this year’s Highways SIB (Seeing is Believing) event.
The presentation was carried out by Dave Wright, executive director of Kier Highways, today (Wednesday 9 November) as a tribute to the work of Martin (group operations director) and Wayne (WJ Group managing director).
Wright said: “WJ are our partner of choice for white lining. Their approach to safety and innovation is second to none. The first time I ever came across Wayne and Martin was when we delivered the Olympic Route Network in 2011. I’d never used you before and I can honestly say I wouldn’t use anyone else out of choice. This presentation demonstrates where you guys have come from and what you’ve brought to the company. But also the strength, commitment and appreciation that everyone has for you.”
Chief executive of the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE), Richard Hayes, added: “The culture that has been developed within WJ is a beacon of good management, reciprocal respect, trust and collaboration. If only we could get the whole of the highways maintenance industry subscribing to a similar ethos, then we would be moving forward.”
The initiative started with Scott Logan, WJ Group transport manager, following the firm’s recent South West depot open day, when Terry Trevelyan arranged a parade of vintage cars as part of the depot opening celebrations.
This sparked the idea, thinking it would be very apt to have a WJ vintage vehicle. Scott got together with Jason Craddock (WJ workshop manager) in Stoke and they solicited as much information from various employees and management regarding the history of the business and what the original vehicle/vehicles were like when Wayne and Martin started the business in 1987.
Nigel Gresty, general manager engineering at Stoke, came on board and they all searched the web to find the appropriate vehicle. They researched with discretion being careful not to raise suspicion’s as they wanted to carry this off as a surprise and fitting tribute to thank Wayne and Martin. They eventually found the old dear (see image) in some state of repair and underwent a secret mission of restoring the vehicle to its former glory within the road marking theme of that time.
The truck is as original and authentic as they could possibly get it and it has taken dedication and many hours of their own time, weekends and evenings to get it completed. The build has been completed by Knutton workshop and WJ Engineering at Holditch.
It was agreed that a public presentation was appropriate and Highways SIB (Seeing is Believing) would be an ideal time to present the vehicle to Martin and Wayne.
Of course, that final bit of extra effort to get the vehicle completed in time was needed. Parts have been difficult to source but with help from many people, all friends, colleagues and business associates they resourced the massive parts list identified. Parts have come from all over Europe and even as far as Australia.
Kim Yates, owner and group managing director of Chevron Traffic Management, and Grahame Beswick from HW Martin, were involved in the early days at WJ on the temporary road markings side of the business. They are testament to the goodwill and relationships that Wayne and Martin have built over the years, having maintained those relationships that are just as strong today.
Scott Logan, WJ Group transport manager, said: “Wayne and Martin have both worked very hard to get the company up there as the best in the road marking sector by some way and the tribute reflects the feelings of the whole WJ team.
“The presentation is a demonstration of the upmost loyalty, respect and gratitude for providing the opportunity to be part of an amazing company and developing careers in a supportive family atmosphere.”
Speaking at the event, WJ Group managing director Wayne Johnston said: “I don’t really know what to say. It’s quite emotional. I can’t believe they’ve done it. You’re only as good as your people. I’ve recognised that for a long time and I like to treat people how I want to be treated.
“People want to work for companies that treat them with respect. They respect you and don’t want to leave. We’ve had a very low staff turnover over the years and it’s part of that family culture that’s helped retain them.”
Revealing more about the vehicle, Johnston added: “It’s a Ford D Series. This is the first truck I ever had back in the 1980s and it’s an exact carbon copy of it. If you include this one we’ve now got 181 trucks in our fleet!”
Later today and as part of Highways SIB’s Road Worker Safety Showcase, visitors can witness how the ingenious design of the new WJ Group’s Guardian system allows the complete road stud installation process to take place, whilst protecting operatives within an integrated safety cell of an 18-ton truck. The demonstration will feature WJ’s new Allux prismatic road stud but the concept can be used for installation of all types of road studs.