We Talk with Dave Lyon - Wolf's Sales Manager for Scotland
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and previous roles before joining Wolf
A: I’ve always been heavily involved with selling safety solutions, mainly into the Energy sector. My career’s covered everything from Business Development, Account and Sales Management to Product Specialist. As a safety specialist selling into the oil and gas sector, I was very familiar with Hazardous Area equipment and ATEX lighting products and manufacturers, so when the job at Wolf came up it was the perfect opportunity for me!
Q: Tell us about your current role and what you enjoy most
A: Well, it’s about helping people working in potentially dangerous areas stay safe by helping them find the best possible lighting solution. So, I’ll spend time with our partners and customers to see what works best for them, discussing their needs and finding the best practical and technical solution. No two customers are the same, and no two situations are the same - and that makes it very interesting. It’ll often involve liaising with Wolf’s technical and customer service team – and by the way, the support I get is fantastic – and we work together to do what’s best for the customer.
I love the interaction with our customers, they come to us with a need or a problem, and trust us to find a solution – which we do. We tell them what we can do, and then deliver it, and everybody’s happy.
I love the variety, too. One day I can be working with customers who need help lighting a North Sea oil rig, and the next a distillery on an island off the West coast. We have customers in many sectors – aviation, defence, petro-chemical and so many others – it’s never dull!
Q: What makes Wolf stand out in the UK market
A: One of the first things that springs to mind is the quality of the Wolf products. Not only in terms of design, features and the materials used, but they’re reliable and long lasting, offering great whole of life value – and customers know this. And the breadth of the range – from the smallest pocket torch to full tank lighting kits – means that we can always find a solution, no matter what the customer needs. And the recent addition of ATEX fans to the range opens up a lot of new opportunities.
When customers take Wolf products, they know they’re going to get a product that works out of the box and carries on working until the job’s done, and way beyond – whether that’s half a shift, six months, or years. And this is one of the reasons I was so happy to join Wolf; being in the industry, I knew the brand and know you can trust and believe in the products, and that’s important to me. Add to that the support we can give, and it’s a great overall package.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve seen in the ATEX / EX-lighting sector and how does Wolf overcome it?
A: One of them is certainly cheap imports – it’s tempting not to think beyond a relatively cheap purchase cost and then worry about the consequences later. People see a cost saving, but is it really? Probably not when you consider whole of life costs. And if you buy cheap and cheerful and it breaks after 3 months and there’s no manufacturer support… it won’t be long before you fall off the nominated suppliers list. People will look at cost, but quality in our market supersedes cost – and that’s a definite advantage to Wolf!
Q: How has Covid affected business and what are you doing to overcome it?
A: As for everybody, it’s been a difficult and frustrating time. Even now, at the start of September, it can still be difficult seeing people – most companies have put in place their own regulations regarding face to face meetings. My role is face to face, helping our partners and customers, and getting on-site to help assess the situation – so we’ve all had to adapt to the situation and technology such as Skype and Zoom certainly helps.
Happily, I do see some relaxation of restrictions now – people are going back to work, and meetings are being allowed in nominated areas that are deemed to be Covid safe. We’re finding ways and things are looking better, though it will take some time of course.
Q: What’s the most nerve-wracking thing you’ve had to do in your life?
A: I once took penalties in front of over 13,000 people during the interval at a Scotland Under 18 International played at Pittodrie [Aberdeen’s football stadium]. Very scary! I wasn’t a bad footballer when I was younger, and played for Aberdeen juniors and reserves. A car crash left me with an eye injury that meant I couldn’t get professional sports insurance, so I couldn’t take it up full time, but I’m passionate about it to this day.
Q: What do you like doing while not working?
A: Well, I like cars, but my passion is sport! I played semi-professional football until I was 36, and then a one-off game for my village team turned into 3 and a half seasons! When I got to 40, I decided to call it a day, and began to take my golf more seriously [when pushed Dave admitted to playing off a 6 handicap]. I play tennis and badminton with my two boys and do a bit of running: I run twice a week to keep fit and have run a 10k in 42 minutes and 52 seconds – which isn’t too bad, especially for an older geezer!
Q: Now a subject dear to all our hearts, what’s your favourite food and drink?
A: Oh, it’s got to be a curry and a beer! Something spicy, and probably a Peroni. It’s not that I dislike other foods, say Chinese, or whatever, but given the choice you can’t beat a curry!
Q: If you had to choose your top 3 films, books and places visited, what would they be?
A: Ok, for films my favourite would have to be Aliens; I remember when it came out, it was so scary! And then the next one came out it was even scarier! Then I’d say Skyfall, I’m a big Bond fan. Thirdly, I’d say Endgame – my boys have got me into the Marvel films, and this one’s just tremendous.
As for books, I’d say anything by David Baldacci – I’ve got them all. Also the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, and anything by James Patterson. They’re just great, easy reading but gripping and thrilling.
My favourite places? Abroad it would be Orlando, where we’ve been many times; and Cancun, which is pretty special too. Staying at home, I’d say St Andrews – not just for the golf, we’ve had so many happy family holidays there over the years. And Sunning Hill, down in Berkshire next to Legoland, is a lovely part of the world
Q: Do you have a secret talent?
A: Well, as you know, people say I do a pretty good Sean Connery as James Bond [pretty good is an understatement, as everyone in the Wolf office will testify – Ed.] And people up here in the North East of Scotland say I do a pretty good Dennis Law, too.
I’m also a pretty decent DIYer, or handyman: when we moved into our house, I spent some 5 weeks helping plumbers, builders and electricians renovating it. I’m also pretty good in the garden; I can lay a patio, and such like. So, if all else failed, I could probably be a handy man, a man with a van!
Thank you, Dave, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.