Allan Booth retirement Q&A
The Smith Brothers family is sad to be waving goodbye to maintenance manager Allan Booth this month, as he prepares to retire from his much-respected role within of our services and infrastructure division.
Following knee replacement surgery 12 months ago, and a part-time return to work upon recovery, Allan had always planned to work right up to his 66th birthday which, conveniently, is the first official day of his retirement.
As a ‘thank you’ for all his hard work over the last 12 years, we wanted to make a bit of a fuss…
We know we’re looking towards your final day as a working man, but do you still remember your first day at Smith Brothers?
I do! It will always stick in my mind, because I had my interview with John Smith and Craig Collinson and was surprised at how laid-back it was – so much so, we could have done it in the pub! On my first day I was busying myself with this and that – there’s never much to do on day one – and this fella came in, who I thought was John…
I cheerily waved ‘good morning’, feeling sure he’d remember me from my interview, but he looked at me in confusion. It was only after he’d gone that I realised it was Richard Smith – John’s twin brother!
How do you think that’s going to compare to your final day in the office?
It will be difficult, because even now I still struggle with whether or not I’m making the right decision! I’ve had very little time off since I was 16, but while the idea of not working doesn’t scare me – although it does ‘the wife’ – it will be tough because I have a lot of friends here and enjoy the daily chat we have together.
What has been your greatest memory?
The way the company treats its staff. It’s easy to see other organisations lose their values as they grow, but Smith Brothers really does go the extra mile to retain and show appreciation for the entire team. Not only is there a big Christmas party once per year, but we have a staff away every summer – some of which have been top class. We do nothing but laugh all day.
Also, the skilled team members are able to think on their feet – and that’s a real driver for growth. 99% of the time, we go to a job and if there’s a hurdle, we’ll sort out any issues while we’re there and won’t leave until we find a solution.
It true that we’ve won jobs due to the skillsets we have in-house, and since I’ve started, the internal expertise has increased massively. A few years ago, one of the lads on site – who didn’t work for us –said: “The job will get done now the Smiths are here!” and those kind of comments stay with you for life – and make you incredibly proud to get in the van with our name on the side.
If you could give an award to one of your colleagues on your final day, who would it be – and why?
Probably Paul Atkinson – he’s been here for years and worked with me at Schneider too. He’s a fantastic bloke and has always been my ‘phone a friend’.
What are your hopes for Smith Brothers for the coming years?
To go from strength to strength! It all seems to be going in the right direction, but I want them to keep picking up the small jobs alongside the big wins too.
Would you like to send a special message to your colleagues?
I’ve left – I haven’t died! I’ll always answer the phone if you need anything – and don’t forget my birthday/retirement drinks in Leeds on the 22nd!
What do you plan to do with all this spare time?
Well, I am sure I’ll fill it quickly – and wonder how I ever made time to work! I’ll mainly be found walking my dog, playing golf and fishing. We’re also in the process of buying a house with a garden – which I haven’t had before – so I’m looking forward to that, and I’d like to do a bit more reading and cooking too.