Ogilvie Fleet's Nick Hardy answers Barker's Dozen
27 October 2008
BusinessCar deputy editor Paul Barker puts 13 testing questions to Nick Hardy, sales and marketing director at Ogilvie Fleet
1. What was your first job?
My first real job was collecting trolleys at the local Hillards store here at "Lane Top" in Sheffield. Anyone from Sheffield who remembers that store will know that it had a very long and very steep car park and ramp leading up to the store entrance. It was my job to collect the trolleys and take them to the top of the ramp for customers to use. You can imagine how grateful I was to those 'special' customers who deliberately left their trolleys at the very bottom end of the car park!
2. What was your first company car?
It was a doom blue 3-year old Fiesta 1.1L 3dr back in 1989. It had a sunroof though!
3. What did you listen to on your last car journey?
My ipod was on shuffle so it was a variety of different music. It centered around tracks from Ben Folds, Sara McLachlan, Howard Jones and Talk Talk. I'm also trying to learn a bit of Spanish so listened to a Michael Thomas 'Learn Spanish' on it at parts too. It was a four-hour drive from Stirling to Sheffield so had plenty of time to listen.
4. What one thing do you wish you could do better?
Be more patient. I always want to change the world tomorrow.but need to realise I can't!
5. What's your biggest achievement?
Being made a board director at Ogilvie Fleet.
6. Who are your role models?
My Grandfather ran one of the largest steelworks in Sheffield and also travelled the world helping to revitalise other parts of the company that were failing. Whilst I was growing up he would recount story after story of how he dealt with issues and turned bad into good. He was a tough character but extremely fair and had high morals. I learned an awful lot from him when I was growing up and use much of it in my life now. In terms of more recent times, I worked for the late Derek Wright for over 12 years and he taught me everything I know about the leasing industry.
7. What's the stupidest thing you've done?
When I was a student in Hull, some pals and I thought it would be good fun to take a water-based fire extinguisher into the city centre and spray other students on their drunken Friday night out. We duly took one of the extinguishers from our halls of residence, jumped into one of our cars and drove into the city. After some water based fun, we noticed a car was following us and as I had the control of the extinguisher at that time, thought it would be clever to spray the car behind. Little did I know it was an unmarked police car who had been following us around the city watching what we were up to. They pulled us over and despite my rather comical effort at trying to hide a fire extinguisher under the front passenger seat carpet mat, we were well and truly caught out. Fortunately, the local police thought it was reasonably funny and opted for a severe admonishment as opposed to arrest. I don't recall every doing something like this since!
8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting?
How we should get our client quotations to handle the taxation changes that are being introduced in April next year. We already have taxation and whole-life cost information on our new quotes but desperately want to include the lease rental disallowance within the whole-life cost. The challenge is doing so by incorporating each client's own corporation tax percentage. Quite a challenge but we think we have found a solution and reckon we will have fully featured quotations in the next month or so.
9. What's in your garage?
A Range Rover Sport right now. It might not be there too much longer though as it is certainly not the kind of car I want to be driving in the future. From a personal and company taxation perspective, it's too costly and although I do very few miles in it, it's too fuel-hungry also. I did pay to offset the carbon emissions for the first 45,000 miles though.
10. What's the worst thing about your job?
Getting stuck in traffic when travelling between Sheffield and pretty much anywhere south of us here.
11. What one law would you make or change?
Introduce more stringent drink-driving regulations.
12. What keeps you awake at night?
Actually, the only thing that keeps me awake is night is a bad hotel bed or room with no air. Other than that, I can rest my head on my pillow each night with a clear conscience and enjoy a good night's sleep.
13. Who is your ideal celebrity date?
Well, I have a very good friend called Mike O'Connor who's an ex-pro ice hockey player and whenever we go out he calls it a "date". If I didn't say he was my favourite 'celebrity' date therefore I'd be in trouble with him. Other than that, it would have to be [actress] Phoebe Cates.