There’s a new hand on the tiller at leading commercial vehicle accident repair and refurbishment specialist A&R Vehicle Services. Gary Lay has joined the West Midlands-based business as Managing Director, 40 years after he began his career as an apprentice truck technician.
A&R Vehicle Services is a supplier to many of the UK’s best-known operators of trucks, trailers, buses and vans. Its six-acre site in Darlaston boasts an impressive 40,000 sq ft of workshop space – including a recycled shot blast bay, specialist chassis straightening equipment, paint preparation booths and three low bake ovens – plus a fully-stocked parts store, allowing A&R to undertake a comprehensive range of assignments.
Gary spent the previous six years on the Board of DX (Group) plc, a major provider of delivery solutions covering parcel freight, secure, courier and logistics services, as its Support Services Director.
His career also includes a 20-year stint with Swift Transport Services, and others with Tibbett & Britten, Excel Logistics, NYK Logistics, and Yaxley Coachworks, in Peterborough. Gary brings a broad range of experience to his new position with A&R Vehicle Services – in addition to his operational roles, he has also had direct responsibilities for everything from procurement and property services, to insurance.
His appointment brings Gary back into direct contact with the multi-faceted Bevan Group, a company for whose award-winning truck and van bodybuilding services he was a customer while at both DX and NYK Logistics. Bevan acquired an initial stake in A&R in 2013, then completed the acquisition of its Black Country neighbour 18 months ago.
Gary is relishing the challenge of his first top job, and determined to make the most of the opportunity. “Fundamentally, A&R is a great business,” he enthused. “We have the backing of a financially strong and supportive parent in the Bevan Group, and we’re ideally located at the heart of the country, close to motorway links.
“We also have some fantastic facilities, with scope to expand when we need to. Most importantly, though, I’m inheriting a very loyal, experienced and highly skilled team. All they’ve been lacking is the right direction and motivation, which is where I come in.”
He continued: “We’ll certainly be marketing ourselves more aggressively than we’ve done in the past, because I’m convinced there is significant potential for growth at a company which has been something of a ‘sleeping giant’.
“Not only will we be working to attract orders from operators with which we’ve never worked before, but we’ll also be endeavouring to win new and extended business from established customers.”
A&R Vehicle Services provides employment for 58 colleagues, who work in a variety of operational and administrative roles. Gary has already begun implementing new work regimes to minimise ‘bottlenecks’ and introduce efficiencies.
“Change is not always easy,” he observed. “It may take a little of time before the full benefits are seen, but this is work we need to do in order to ensure we’re best placed to meet future challenges and grasp the opportunities that come our way.”
Bevan Group Managing Director Anthony Bevan commented: “A&R was crying out for the right leadership and we were keen to attract a strategically-focused industry professional who could see the tremendous potential of this business, and has the enthusiasm and skill set to make the most of it.
“Having been a supplier to Gary for a number of years, I had no doubt that he was the right man for the job. I’m delighted that we were able to secure his services and very much looking forward to working with him again.”
To provide continuity for established customers, Ron Rushworth, a co-founder of A&R Vehicle Services in 1989, remains with the business.