From Valeter to Area Operations Manager – a successful career with Dawsongroup truck and trailer

For James Bradshaw, his passion for all things mechanical and transport began when he was about six years old. He grew up on a farm and his family had a haulage business.

James remembers spending a lot of time with his dad, Paul, in the passenger seat of his lorries and how, during their travels together, Paul taught him all about trucks and how transport worked all over the country.

James remembers his father fondly; they were always very close, and Paul was a true inspiration to James throughout his life.

He started his working life as a car mechanic but, after a year, James decided that repairing and maintaining cars wasn’t what he wanted to do. So, he turned to his father for advice. Paul suggested trucks and James did an apprenticeship with MAN in Bristol before working in steel fabrication for three years, where he qualified as a welder.

After his post was made redundant, he saw a Valeter job advertised at our Peterborough branch. Again, he asked his dad for guidance. Paul advised him to go for it - work hard, show enthusiasm and be positive, he said. He was confident that, with his upbringing and the right attitude and determination, James could kick-start his career and get promotion within 12-16 months. He was right. James worked hard and was successful. Sixteen months later, he got a job in the branch office as our Rental Controller and his career took off from there.

In 2016, James moved on to take on the role of Trainee Operations Manager. He made such a good impression on his work colleagues that, when he decided to leave Dawsongroup, many tried to persuade him to stay.

As it turned out, he didn’t stay away for long. After a short period working as a Transport Planner, James was brought back into the business as Network Support Manager after Nick McGowan gave him a surprise phone call while he was driving a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van on the M1!

James’ new job supporting the branch network was busy, varied and very demanding – solving problems, organising training, dealing with admin, filling gaps and liaising with colleagues at the highest level.

It often meant early starts and long periods away from home, in places all over the country – 16 weeks at our Leeds branch, four months at Maidstone and time at Exeter and Cardiff, for example.

In October 2020, James’ hard work was rewarded with a promotion into the newly created post of Area Operations Manager. Based in Peterborough, he now covers the whole of East Anglia through our branches in Peterborough, Ipswich and Norwich, and is responsible for support and day-to-day management of the area.

To get where he is today, James has had to make some sacrifices in his home life. However, he’s been fully supported by his partner, Michelle, who knows how important it is for him to follow his passion, be fulfilled in his work and realise his dreams.

James’ love for life extends to his family. He appreciates the value of spending quality time with Michelle and Harvey, his twelve-year-old son and his two stepsons, Ryan and Jack. They enjoy going on days out and having fun. James also loves to watch Harvey play football every weekend with his local football team Orton Rangers.  

Now 33, James is still as positive, ambitious, and as outgoing as ever. He’s loving his new role and is full of praise for the way Dawsongroup has treated him well and has recognised his potential. He’s happy to share his story as an example of what passion, determination and hard work can achieve in an organisation like ours.

Sadly, James’ father passed away in 2019 after a heart attack but, as James said: “I was very close to my dad. He was – and always will be - a true inspiration. He was keen to share his knowledge and always gave me such sound and motivating advice.

“I’ve taken on his enthusiasm and positive approach to life. He would be 100% proud, and I’m very proud that I’ve achieved the success and happiness he always wanted for me. I hope I can pass on the same qualities to my son, and that he’ll be successful and enjoy his work as much as I do.”

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Dawsongroup Truck and Trailer Limited.

Delaware Drive, Tongwell,

Milton Keynes MK15 8JH

Dawsongroup Truck and Trailer Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Financial Conduct Authority Register number: 725515