Andy Cotton: One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to always invest in myself

Pearl Forecourts’ Andy Cotton

From his trusty comfy slippers to trips to Canada, Pearl Forecourts’ Andy Cotton shares what he enjoys doing when not working a typical 12-hour shift. It is lucky that he describes his role at the Bolton-based business as his dream job, despite, as he says, never really being off duty.

Name: Andy Cotton

Job title: Operations/area manager

Mancunian Andy Cotton started working for Hanif Mohmed in 2012, the year before Pearl Forecourts was formed. He was the first employee at the business which now operates 17 sites in the North West of England with Shell and Esso fuel and Spar and Nisa shops.

The pair met when Andy was working as a cashier at a site that both he and Hanif wanted to buy (his now boss ended up as the owner). They have proved a formidable team and are always on the look out to expand with new locations. 

01. Career history: After working for the family business within the antiques industry for 20 years I decided that a change was needed, but selling is in the blood!

02. Dream job: I have it already…Unless Formula 1 Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur fancies phoning me up and offering me his job.

03. What do you drive? A Toyota RAV4 premium plug-in hybrid. Trying to save the world one mile at a time!

04. Perfect day: Spending quality time with my wife and watching reruns of Downton Abbey. Got to love Dame Maggie Smith.

05. Best holiday: Caribbean cruise when I got married by the captain. I chose to get married on a ship because I knew nobody would be able to get hold of me on the phone. With my job I am on duty 24 hours and could get a call any time. I later found out that somebody did actually call me at the exact time I was geting married, but fortunately there was no reception. 

06. Holiday wish-list: I have family in Canada and would like to travel across the country on the Rocky Mountaineer train, and also to visit Borneo to see the orangutans.

07. Favourite read: The Shack by Canadian author William P Young. If you have never read it give it a go. The film doesn’t do it justice.

08. Three words to describe yourself: Authentic, helpful, odd.

09. Possessions you could not do without: My favourite comfy slippers!

10. What do you most admire? Anyone who makes changes for the better in the face of adversity. There is no such thing as can’t.

11. Favourite sports person: Don’t really have one.

12. Best news over the past 12 months: My son David receiving his first class honours masters degree. He’s 27 now and is a graphic designer.

13. Recent achievements: Seeing us rise to the 24th spot on Forecourt Trader’s Top 50 Indies was quite the highlight.

14. What’s your pet peeve: Would you believe, chocolate not being displayed correctly. It needs to be straight.

15. Biggest fear: Too happy go lucky to have one.

16. Most important qualities in the workplace: Critical thinking and problem solving. Teamwork and collaboration. Professionalism and strong work ethic.

17. What motivates you? Knowing every day is different and the challenges this brings.

18: Best thing about the job: The ever changing role. One day I’ll be coaching new starters, the next cleaning pumps in the fresh air.

19. Best bit of business advice you have ever received: Invest in yourself. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to always invest in myself. If you make time for yourself you will find time for others.

20. Most recent business achievement of note: To make a go of a failing forecourt, bringing it back from the brink of closure to becoming a very successful little site selling four million litres of fuel a year and turning over £20,000 a week in the shop, while also becoming the hub of the community. Being only 800sq ft, some people said that it couldn’t be done.