Jason Chamberlain of Venson's Client Management answers Barker's Dozen
08 November 2010
BusinessCar's Paul Barker puts 13 testing questions to another victim
1. What was your first job?
An administrator for an independent finance company in Coventry, specialising in providing consumer finance for replacement windows/home improvements. It was a real eye opener to the world of point-of-sale credit in a market synonymous with tricky double-glazing salesmen!
2. What was your first company car?
My beloved 1995 Ford Fiesta 3 door 1.2. It was 12 months old and what can only be described as 'dull blue' in colour. The severe accident damage to the offside when I picked it up wasn't an issue to me at the time, because to me it was amazing, my first company car!
3. What did you listen to on your last car journey?
I'm a keen Talk Sport listener, much to my partner's annoyance.
4. What one thing do you wish you could do better?
Dance - I am awful! Despite every effort I knowingly look completely out of place on the dance floor. Apart from that, I'm generally perfect - I wish!
5. What's your biggest achievement?
My team maintaining our client-retention rate. Particularly over the last three years with many clients under their own internal pressures, which often results in a complete review of all suppliers.
6. Who are your role models?
When it comes to well-known business people I admire Bill Gates, Jack Welch (former chairman and CEO of General Electric), Richard Branson, and when I'm pretending to know how to cook, Gordon Ramsay. Each one seems to be an 'out of the box' independent thinker and each has forged an identity and brand for themselves.
7. What's the stupidest thing you've done?
London to Brighton bike ride. It was the best thing from a team effort and raising money for the British Heart Foundation but the stupidest as I hadn't trained hard enough for the day. I had muscle ache in the most unusual places!
8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting?
Electric vehicles and what the future holds for the technology, as part of a company's fleet policy. We believe that there is a role for the EV in many fleets but at the moment there are still challenges with suitable infrastructure, battery life and the overall cost of the vehicle compared to its petrol/diesel equivalent.
9. What's in your garage?
Bikes, bikes and more bikes - I'm a keen cyclist.
10. What's the worst thing about your job?
Managing client expectations with regard to vehicle manufacturer lead times. A company vehicle is an emotive subject and as soon as a driver has selected their new vehicle they want it. Of late, many manufacturers are quoting lead times of up to 24 weeks. Explaining to a driver why they may have to wait up to six months for their new vehicle is always going to be a challenge.
11. What one law would you make or change?
To have any ambiguity over what is safe to drink, dependant on weight, sex, diet etc., is crazy. There should be a zero drink-drive limit, therefore removing any question about whether a driver is safe to get behind the wheel or not.
12. What keeps you awake at night?
My partner is expecting our third child, and the reality of sleepless nights is with me already.
13. Who is your ideal celebrity date?
Kylie Minogue - for her personality, of course.