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From telephone sales to operations director: Steve Bareham tells us how he did it

06 Nov

Steve Bareham is one of Travis Perkins’ great success stories, joining the company in 1994 and enjoying 24 happy years with the group. His journey from a telephone sales assistant all those years ago to where he is today – Operations Director for Benchmarx – is testament to his commitment not only to Travis Perkins, but also to his own development and growth throughout his career.

“I started at Travis Perkins working in telephone sales, and have been working my way up ever since”

Before Steve joined Travis Perkins plc, he had worked at another builder’s merchant where he did everything from vehicle and forklift driving through to tool hire, turning his hand to most jobs within the merchant. Taking up a telephone sales position with Travis Perkins in 1994, he soon progressed to Assistant Branch Manager in three branches before becoming Branch Manager for 10 years.

Next up was Regional Manager and then Regional Director, where Steve led a team of 20 Branch Managers across the Suffolk, Essex, North and East London and Hertfordshire areas.

An opportunity then arose for Steve to take on the role of Category Management Director, before taking another step up to Customer Experience Director. At the end of 2015, Steve decided to return to the operations side of the business and ultimately joined Benchmarx as Operations Director, a role he is thriving in.

“I left school at 16 not knowing what I wanted to do”

Though Steve is now working in a high-level, high profile role within Travis Perkins, he didn’t always know what he wanted to do. Leaving school at 16 and joining a builder’s merchant, he then put his hand up for a management trainee scheme that left him wanting more in his career. His operational background meant he could try a range of roles within Travis Perkins, a company he says has always been supportive of his ambition and growth. Picking up skills in communications, project management, branch format and change management, and collaboration, Steve combined his operational knowledge of the industry with business skills that have helped him advance over time.

“I’ve worked with really strong leaders over the years”

Steve has always been motivated to achieve more and says this has been enhanced by the support of strong, driven leaders throughout the Travis Perkins Group. The confidence and trust placed in him has seen him feel able to put his hand up for new opportunities – something Steve is still doing today as he completes a 12-month course with the aim to develop to an even higher level within the business.

In his current role he oversees 94 Benchmarx branches and showrooms in the south. With 500 colleagues, four regional directors and four sales managers, Steve’s team is a large one, and he works hard to ensure all branches have everything they need to support their customers and be successful. He says the key is to surround yourself with good people, and in doing so he has learnt a lot from people at all levels of the business.

“I’ve always grown in every role I’ve taken on”

Steve’s success comes from years of hard work and his drive to always do more and better. He maintains that he’s never felt completely qualified for a job he’s applied for, but knows that his ambition, abilities and the company support will help him adapt to and excel in any new role. He pushes himself and is pushed by others in the business, and says being a self-starter has allowed him to take advantage of all that Travis Perkins can offer. He’s been able to grow in the role based on the support he’s had from various colleagues within the business, and says he’s always found Travis Perkins to be a very collaborative business across all brands within the group.

“The culture at Benchmarx sets us apart”

There’s a family feel across all the Travis Perkins businesses, and in particular Benchmarx has a very close-knit, friendly atmosphere. There’s an ethos of 'playing for both club and country', where colleagues are passionate about both their brands and the wider Travis Perkins organisation. The business has five cornerstones that are uphold in everything it does: Working for Our Customer, Upholding Family Values, Making Decent Returns, Keeping People Safe, and Being the Best. People who fit into this culture, want to make a difference and want to grab new opportunities are the types of people who do well at Benchmarx.

“Every day is a school day”

Despite so much experience and expertise within the business world, Steve says every day is another opportunity for him to learn and do more. He’s looking forward to continued progression within Travis Perkins and show how far you can go with the right attitude, work ethic and ambition. He believes attitude and emotional intelligence can be more beneficial than academic excellence, and his experience is certainly testament to that.

Are you interested in starting – or continuing – your career at Travis Perkins? Take a look at our latest vacancies.

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