A 3.15am alarm signals the start of my day as I aim to be through the gates of the Grangemouth depot by 4am. To avoid the queues that build towards Ineos Grangemouth, all of us tanker drivers arrive before 4.45am and, as we start our day, one thing is guaranteed; no two days will ever be the same.
Certas Energy has its own fleet and drivers and that is a very big ’positive’ for the company and its customers and ensures that we drivers feel a real sense of pride in the role we play in the business. My time is divided between delivering for Retail and Aviation, but given a choice it would be Retail every time. You can always be sure of a smile and friendly welcome when you deliver to a Gulf forecourt and that makes it pleasurable. There’s always a coffee and the offer of a Kit Kat, although I sometimes reluctantly refuse as I am doing my bit to stay healthy.
I started with Esso Retail over 20 years ago and that proved to be a fantastic apprenticeship. Remarkably, even with a greater emphasis today on Health & Safety, the training back then and everything I learnt from those Esso days still holds me in good stead from procedures and good habits, to Ripple Loading and the Smith System of defensive driving.
Certas Energy invests significant time and money in driver training for its artic and rigid fleet. That is important for customers and also for drivers, providing a solid platform from which they are able to develop their careers as a result of being well trained.
Due to the size, reach and appeal of Certas Energy, I can find myself delivering the length and breadth of Scotland and the North of England. We are part of a progressive and growing organisation; the customer base is expanding year-on-year and as tanker drivers we are always on the front line. No matter where I am delivering, I never forget the importance of first impressions and always try to be spick and span with polished shoes and tidy hair (what’s left of it!). We are judged by the customer on our ability to deliver fuel and it’s essential that we adhere to the highest standards in every aspect of our job. There is no room for compromise we do it by the manual and know that we are only as good as our last delivery. For every Certas tanker driver, the customer is our number one priority and we never lose sight of the fact that without them we would be out of work. An important part of our role is to reassure customers by our confidence in the role and our knowledge. Maintaining a level of professionalism extends beyond the delivery to include the journey to and from the depot. It’s just as important to make the right impressions from behind the wheel of the artic. Who knows? The person in the car behind might be a potential customer.
I’ve been married to Susan for 21 years and we have three boys Glen, Kieran and Callum and a Golden Retriever, Brodie. Although my wife might disagree, the advantage of three boys is that a discussion about football is never far away. My youngest two are involved in local football so weekends are invariably spent on the side of a pitch. If I am not cheering on Calli then I’m probably coaching Kieran and the Boys’ Club under-15s. That can sometimes mean more grief than from the banter that comes my way as a Driver Trainer for Certas Energy.
I’m not a big drinker but I do enjoy socialising with friends and family and also occupy my spare time by going to my local gym in Stirling, three or four times a week. Hopefully, by staying in reasonable shape me and not the government will enjoy my hard-earned pension when I retire. That’s in the future, now it’s back to matters in hand; a round-the-clock taxi service, smelly sportswear and muddy plug holes.
Name: George Watson
Name: Tanker driver and driver trainer
Career history/biog: 20 years retail experience with Esso, Shell and now Certas Energy
Greatest achievement: Marrying Susan and the birth of our three boys
Most likely to say: "Respect everyone and be polite"
Least likely to say: "We can do that later"
Other interests: Listening to ’80s music and going to the cinema