MEET THE MD: GARY SULLIVAN, CIBES

MEET THE MD: GARY SULLIVAN, CIBES

Sales and marketing director for Cibes, Gary Sullivan, provides an insight into the challenges of being a leader and how to deal with negative people in a team.

What is it the company does?

We manufacture a wide range of high-quality platform lifts and goods lifts from 400Kg up to 2000Kg.

We provide an individual, fully customised solution for each customer, as well as an excellent after-sales service, maintaining and providing technical assistance to ensure safe and reliable operation.

We are part of CIBES Lift Group, the largest platform lift company in Europe.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I'm responsible for sales and marketing, not only do I manage a well-established sales team that works across the whole of the UK, but it is ultimately my role to keep our varied portfolio of clients happy and supported.

At the moment, my time is focused on our new website and updating our BIM objects for all of our products.

The marketing aspect of the role is a new one to me but I'm really enjoying it, it's giving me a great opportunity to get out there and meet new people.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started my career in construction as a joiner working across the UK and spent two and a half years working in Germany.

After that, I moved into an operations role and worked at Void Security for five years as an operations manager. When the sales manager left, I asked if I could get involved, so I was in charge of sales and operations at the same time and quickly discovered that I wasn’t too bad at it!

I was then headhunted for a few different sales jobs, including area sales manager for ThyssenKrupp Accessibility covering the Midlands and soon doubled the area's growth within the first year.

I do think my background in construction and operations has been useful as it's given me a good understanding of the challenges and pitfalls that lie within manufacturing.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Someone who is prepared to listen and can understand the point of view of other people.

We were all young once and started out at the bottom, and I think some people in leadership roles tend to forget that.

We are all human and make mistakes, it’s learning from the mistakes that is important.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Getting the CIBES brand out there. We've only been known as CIBES Lift UK for just over a year but the brand has been out there since 1947.

With products like lifts, people just see the lift, they don't tend to see the company that designed and installed it, so that has been the challenge for me and the team.

Not a lot of people are aware that we supply to the end user, not just trade, so that is something we have been focusing on too.

However, the hard work is now paying off, we've all been working hard to visit potential new customers and attending exhibitions and people are starting to ask for our brand by name.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I'm a big fan of Lambretta scooters and recently started restoring them, something I haven’t done for a few years. I have a circle of good friends with the same interests.

When the weather is good I ride my scooter to work, and I travel to rallies across the UK. Mods over Rockers any day of the week!

I also dabble in DIY when I'm at home, it's a great stress reliever. I'm not too bad at it either, at least that's what my wife says.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Most kids go through different phases of what they want to be when they were older, but for me, there was only one thing I wanted to be... a footballer for Newcastle United!

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

My pet hates are people who don't listen and are lazy. A team is only as strong as the weakest link and a negative person can quickly bring everyone else down. Thankfully we have a great team in place and I am lucky to work with some very gifted individuals.

Over the years, I've found the best thing to do is to keep people in the loop, I think people lash out and make bad decisions when they believe they are kept in the dark about things. Our sales team is based all over the UK but we keep in contact daily even if it's just to have a quick chat about the football results.

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

I want us to retain our current customer base as well as expand into new industry sectors.

I also want us to become a voice of authority on smart cities, advising people across the country about inclusion and accessibility in this new and exciting marketplace.

The grand aim is a simple one though; I want to see CIBES Lift UK grow to become the number one lift supplier in the UK.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Never give up.

There will be times when things are tough and you're working long hours daily.

But things do get better when you’re part of a good team.

What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

Don't dwell on the negative, and focus on the positive.

There’s always a light shining no matter what.