Julie Grey celebrates 35 years at OGL
A huge congratulations to Julie Grey who reaches her 35-year anniversary in May. As a special celebration of such a significant milestone, the Directors took Julie, and other long serving staff, out for lunch this week but here is Julie’s story…
“Some Oliquip staff, as were known back in 1988, were having a pub night out where I happened to be on the same evening. I was introduced to some of the staff by a friend who worked at Oliquip at the time; a lively, friendly bunch. I was already working for a software company as a trainer on electrical estimating software so I wasn’t looking to change my job but as Oliquip were local they suggested that I should send my CV to Paul Byrne; which I did.
“I got the call: “I want you to come in and see me”, so one evening a very proud PB interviewed me giving me a grand tour of the Hartlebury site which was very impressive. He did a very good selling job on me as I left thinking I really want to work here.
“The company was already a reseller of Multisoft software and was venturing on becoming a Pegasus reseller and although I had no ERP experience PB offered me the position of Software Trainer and I haven’t looked back.
“I rocked up on my first day with my new briefcase, new suit and my 1980’s perm, and I knew there were exciting times ahead but did not expect 35 years of them!!!
“The role became quite varied and often, if I was carrying out training with customers in the morning and had nothing in the afternoon, I would go back to the office and help with support calls, or even assisting salesman by demonstrating Pegasus software to potential prospects. So all in all a varied role which was challenging at times, in particular the dreaded payroll updates which, no doubt, Phil Hawkes remembers well! In the days before modems and remote logins, the updates were all on floppy disks so we had to either post or turn up on site praying that the upgrade disk did not get corrupted (you were not allowed to put them on the window ledges in the heat or even put them by the telephone in case the magnetic media corrupted the data).
“Debbie Barton, Sharon Moreno and I spent quite a few weekends getting ready for the April tax year payroll changes and we had a production line copying info onto blank disks ready to send. We always had to have a backup plan in case the disk got corrupted in transit but we always got the job done; it was a total team effort. Eventually modems were introduced so we could dial up do any updates.
“Due to our amazing Phil Hawkes, Andrew Davies, Sue Bullock and the rest of the software development team our own ERP software was becoming very successful, so it was decided to stop selling Pegasus software and promote our own software. I then went on to train customers on what was then known as Neptune which later was renamed to Prof.IT.
“Travelling all around the country had its moments back then as there was no mobile phones and no Satnav so I had a car boot full of UK A-Z’s (email and the internet were not yet a thing). I always carried change in case I needed to find a phone box to ring a customer if I was delayed.
Back then we used to do a lot of cold calling; visiting trading estates ‘happy tapping‘ as we used to call it even PB and Neil Morris came along and we were all rewarded with a bacon sandwich or burger at one of those food caravans at the end of an industrial estate.
“Over the next 13 years I had a number of roles including Training Manager, Software Account Manager and even Web Sales and a stint of selling Prof.IT!
“I didn’t smoke but smoking was allowed in some rooms so there was often a cloud of smoke as you walked in but thankfully the Government eventually changed the law.
“I remember when one of our prospects who visited the Stourport office for a demonstration of Pegasus; he was running late so he randomly parked but not outside reception. After the meeting I walked outside and said farewell. 10 minutes later he came back in and was in a right panic saying, “my car isn’t there, it has been stolen”. So I calmly went back outside with him and he described what car it was and we went up and down the car park when he suddenly realised he had his wife’s car, so we had been looking for the wrong car and not far off phoning the police. He was so embarrassed - I think he had been sniffing too many grape vines!
“For one of our Christmas lunches, Debbie booked the whole software department to have Christmas lunch at a local hotel and it was fancy dress themed. After the lunch one of our colleagues suggested it would be a good idea for Adrian James and myself to go with her to Stourport Primary School to pick her 5-year-old son up so Adrian James, who was in full length gorilla fancy dress, and me, in a full length very round black /yellow bumble bee outfit, went with her. I cringe now at the thought that we went and peered through the classroom windows and ran around the school building to the dismay/delight or even horror of the children. We would probably be arrested for that now adays!!!
“After having my first born Neil Morris who, alongside his many other roles within the company, managed the Systems Team. He created a brand new role for me as Systems Appointment Maker so I could be local to home. How could I refuse when I would be working alongside the wonderful Kevin Crowe who I had, and still have, so much respect for.
“I’ve been in this role for 20 years and probably made zillions of phone calls over that time. Chances are, if it was a Kevin Crowe sale back then (and there have been many) then I was probably the Appointment Maker who got our foot in the door in the first instance.
“It’s a little different now as all the Appointment Makers (Helen Hyrons, Dani Rapson, Jacob Gollings and myself) book for Richard Meredith, Dominic Keegan and James Shelley on a rotational basis. We have a great team nowadays and we also have our talented marketing team who work alongside us in helping us find our prospects which we are very thankful for.
Most of the meetings and demonstrations of Profit4 take place on Microsoft Teams so very rarely does anyone go out onsite; technology has moved on so much since back in the day.
I am so lucky to be part of such an amazing team of people. With the wonderful Claire Jones at the helm it’s a little family unit with lots of banter yet everyone is so hard working and enthusiastic all striving for the same goal of making a success of Profit4.”
Claire Jones, Julie's manager had this to say about her: “Working with Julie has been an absolute pleasure. She is one of the most hardworking and dedicated members of staff and was kind enough to show me the ropes some 20 odd years ago, when she was an Account Manager and I used to get her contracts and letters typed up in my admin days, to the mammoth annual payroll run, where we’d all stay late to copy the hundreds of discs and print the guides! Julie always got her contracts signed and when I took on that role, I was determined to keep her track record in place. Moving on to the roles we are both now doing I can’t thank her enough not only for her professional contribution; she is incredible on the phone with our prospects and plays a huge role in the success of the new business team, with marketing ideas and 100% commitment in all areas but also personally for being so supportive and helping me when needed over all that time.
"Congratulations on your 35-year anniversary Julie, it is certainly an achievement to be proud of and your vast experience and determination have made us the sales team we are now.”
Debbie Barton commented: "In the early days Julie and I regularly worked together visiting customers up and down the country trying to secure their software support contracts; we certainly had some fun! In the days of no satnav or mobile phone you relied on an atlas and a phone box. We were invariably got lost and on one occasion Jules was lost in Harpenden, I was moments away from calling the police but with the help of a few lorry drivers they pointed her in the right direction. As Julie was our Pegasus trainer back in the early 90s, each year we had the task of doing the yearly payroll upgrades and invariably had to travel up to Pegasus HQ in Kettering to wait for bags of floppy disks so that we could get the updates out on time.
"After having her son Elliot in 1998, not long after I had my twins, Julie came back and soon started working in systems with Kevin Crowe, and what a successful pairing that has been over the past 20 years!
"Julie is not only fantastic at what she does, but she is such a lovely kind person, always positive and happy even in the face of adversity. Thank you, Jules, for your 35 years' service, you have made an amazing contribution, you really are a star!"