Giving up on something doesn’t necessarily have to mean failure. In David Richards’ case, giving up on wanting to work in banking while at school, led to his current role at Agility, one of the world’s leading providers of integrated logistics.
“Living relatively close to the NEC, I was attracted to a job advert in a local careers centre for a freight forwarding company based onsite, and in the summer of 1985, I joined as an operations junior - which basically meant tea making,” he tells EN.
Thirty years, later, he’s still there – “just with a bit more responsibility”.
“I have seen too much change and innovation in my thirty years in our industry but I love the fact that, ultimately, it’s still down to people to make things happen.”
Agility has a presence in over 100 countries worldwide, operating from more than 500 offices, with 22,000 employees. The firm builds durable, efficient supply chains that power businesses and drive trade.
“Here in the UK, we are based at Excel London and at the NEC in Birmingham, and currently employ 25 people. We may be global in size but are still able to offer a highly personalised service.”
As part of this global giant of a company, its Fairs and Events group, which consists of 46 offices, is an amalgamation of four highly specialised, global exhibition logistics companies.
The EN Elite List winner also has a significant amount of business from non-logistics areas, mainly in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, including real estate, aviation services, IT services and software – including the provision of customs software – recycling, and services to international organisations and governments around the world. Client facing
Agility works with some of the world’s largest and well known organisers in the form of Reed Exhibitions, Clarion Events, dmg::events, Montgomery Exhibitions, PennWell, FESPA, and Mack Brooks.
“One week it’s heavy lifting of machinery and cars and the next week its managing baby-related products in a crèche at a baby show,” says Richards.
“Every time you believe you have seen and experienced just about everything in terms of logistics, a new challenge comes along.”
In the summer of 2014, the team signed a contract to operate as Excel’s exclusive logistics partner and now has a team of 15, permanently based personnel at the venue.
The global logistics provider was also awarded the contract to provide freight and onsite handling services for a series of leading international building and construction shows organised by dmg::events Middle East.Teamwork
Richards believes Agility has the best team in the business. Members of staff are driven by the job they do, the company they work for, the industry they operate in and the personal pride they have in the service they offer.
“They need very little motivation, as we are lucky enough to work in a fast moving ever-changing environment. They are a team in every sense of the word.”
On top of delivering its busy exhibition schedule for 2015, Agility has some self created goals in areas such as health and safety, sustainability and IT development – all of which when in place, will aim to enhance the firm’s overall product.
Establishing a holistic approach to logistics, Agility’s focus on key industry initiatives around the world as well as its people and services will keep up its 2015 momentum. Richards is banking on it.
This article was first published in the May issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne