GDT Driver Case Study – Chris Cooper

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GDT Driver Case Study – Chris Cooper

July 10, 2023     

You might not associate life-saving qualities with our GDT drivers, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the incredible team that keep the turf deliveries running like clockwork and work tirelessly to ensure our customers receive the best possible service.

After a chance sighting of a George Davies Truck and a speculative follow up call about a job in 2022, Chris Cooper instantly charmed the team with his confidence and professionalism and has been working with GDT ever since.

Chris said, “I was in between jobs at the time and was delivering skips to development sites when I saw one of the George Davies trucks. I remember it catching my eye with its bright red colour and bold logo and I just thought – they look like a nice company to work for and so I contacted the office in Olney and it all escalated from there.”

Despite there being no vacancies at that time, Chris made an instant impression on the phone and was invited over to meet George and the team in person.

“We sat outside the office on a picnic-style bench and just had a general conversation, it was quite unlike anything I’d ever experienced before and we discussed the opportunity of having a hybrid role that would include both office support and being a hands-on delivery driver. I was very excited, but also nervous as I’d never worked in an office before. It struck me as daunting at first to think about learning new computer systems and as a previous butcher and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), I’d always been a very hands-on person – but I was ready for the challenge.”

George Davies said, “Chris is one of those people that is instantly likeable, the way he presented himself over the phone and in person really impressed us and we liked how he was able to adapt to different people – a fantastic attribute to have and someone we knew would fit in with the GDT family perfectly and prove extremely valuable.”

After receiving on the job training both shadowing other drivers and getting used to the different equipment and how to operate it, Chris also spent time in the office completing online training videos and quizzes to get up to speed with the different systems and also received his forklift truck licence.

Chris said, “When I first joined GDT, I was aware that turf went into gardens but that was about it – it’s been phenomenal to learn more about the industry and the processes involved and appreciate George’s keen passion.”

 

 

A’ typical’ day for Chris

For a 6am start time, Chris is normally in the yard by 5.45am where he performs his daily vehicle checks on the truck he’s operating, this will include things such as checking tyre treads and lightbulbs. Chris says, “commercial vehicles carry a lot of scrutiny and significant penalties if they are not properly maintained or safety checked, and so these rigorous daily inspections are really important.

“Once I’ve checked everything is as it should be I work with the other drivers to break down the pallets into the correct quantities – it’s a real team effort. We then load the trucks, plan our journey and get in touch with the customers to keep them updated on our arrival time. As a general rule we always let the customer know when we’re 20 minutes away although I like to give even more advanced notice and will also get in touch should any traffic issues risk causing delays. There is nothing worse than waiting for a delivery and having no idea when it’s going to arrive. I think it’s very important to keep this mentality and process up and give customers what they want and provide great customer service – this is one of our main strengths and values at GDT after all.

“After I’ve worked through the list and if everything goes to plan I will end my day around 4pm.

“Obviously this isn’t always the case and we are used to being adaptable and flexible with any challenges that come our way – it’s what makes us a great team and a great company to work for. One such challenge happened earlier in the year when a truck delivering turf got stuck in a field and had a double blow out, this delayed us by four hours and meant many of us did not return to the yard until well after 8pm. These things happen though and during this time George was in regular contact checking that all drivers got back safely.

“This is one of the things I love most about working here, it’s a real family business and you feel genuinely appreciated and cared about. George is in contact with every aspect of the company and makes you feel valued.”

 

 

Saving a motorcyclist’s life

In March 2023 Chris’ usual routine took an unexpected turn when a motorcyclist went into the back of a van right in front of his truck. Thinking on his feet and using his EMT and driver training, Chris was able to stop very quickly and use the truck to block the whole motorway, stopping the risk of additional danger or injury to the rider. With his medical background Chris was also able to assist in treating the patient prior to the ambulances (both air and land) turning up and was on site for over 3 hours as the paramedics fought to keep him alive.

Despite obtaining significant spinal injuries, the motorcyclist was taken to hospital where he spent months in intensive care and rehabilitation. He is very slowly recovering with life-changing injuries between the treatment centre and home.

On Sunday 25th June, Jay came up with his family to see Chris on the farm, joined by George Davies and his family.

George Davies said, “What I witnessed was something I had never experienced in my 46 years before. Jay sitting in his wheelchair with Chris kneeling down in front of him with Jay saying Chris “Thank you for my life”.

Jay’s attitude to life is amazing, he is fighting to regain his mobility with all his strength so he can look after his family, and that is only possible because Chris was in the right place at the right time doing all he could until help arrived.

 

 

Jay’s wife Sara said, “We are having to adapt to a new life now as a family, but we owe everything to Chris and his quick thinking on the day. He’s one of life’s good guys and he went over and above what was expected of him – he represented the company in the most incredible way. I am sure without his quick intervention that we would have had a very different outcome.”

When Chris isn’t delivering turf and using his EMT training to save lives, he loves to do clay pigeon shooting with his Dad and dress up in full armour re-enacting medieval battles across the country.

His talents don’t end there however, if you ever pop into the GDT offices in Olney you might be lucky enough to also see his passion and skill for Lego building and design and particularly his impressive replica of the entire GDT fleet of trucks.

So, if you ever get a delivery from Chris, be sure to ask him about his hobbies and interests as he’ll no doubt have a great story to tell. 

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