Meet the Team – Steve Allison: Out of Africa
Meet Steve Allison – one of Portable Offices’ team of amazingly skilled drivers along with Chris Kendall and David Thomas – on his way to deliver a 20 x 10 unit to Africa Alive:
At the time of his interview Steve was heading for the ‘Lions Den’ – a wildlife park called Africa Alive where visitors discover lions, giraffes, meerkats, hunting dogs and many more animals from the African continent.
It’s easy to say that every day is an adventure for Steve, Chris and David – on any given day they could be delivering portable buildings to a school in Leicestershire or heading to a quarry on an isolated island or a distillery in the Scottish Highlands.
All 3 drivers are the backbone of Portable Offices’ delivery service and each one is a ‘hero of the road’ clocking up hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles every week to deliver portable buildings to their new home on time with as little hassle as possible.
Steve has been in haulage for over 30 years, originally running his own hauliers and providing subcontract services to Portable Offices for over 20 years ago and more recently as an employee.
He has known, managing director, Adrian Witty for all of those years and before, so this dedication to the industry is most definitely enduring.
The dedicated team can often work away for multiple nights each week, creating a job that the job is highly pressurised, not just dealing with the congested British road network and the vagaries of other less professional road users, as well as the complications they may meet at the cabin drop off points.
Steve provides more insight into his experiences:
“With the best will in the world, there are often unforeseen issues – overhead wires are a common problem which can literally add hours onto a delivery. Clients may not have fully appreciated the size or height of the lorry and these are added complications.
“I will always try to find a solution, as the last thing any of us want is for us to have to return with the building.”
When it comes to transport, size matters and it’s not unusual for the team to require a police escort on several occasions when a load is abnormally large. All drivers have established a strong relationship with the constabularies around the country and set this up like a well-oiled machine as and when the need arises.
On one occasion there was an impromptu escort when Portable Offices vehicles ended up mid-way in a royal convoy. He said: “I suddenly found myself caught up in the middle of several black Range Rovers transporting members of the Royal Family. There was nowhere for me to pull over and so we kept going and I was called through at every island for quite a few miles. It certainly made my journey easier that day.”
When the team was sent to the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye, they had a police escort and certain roads were closed especially to allow the vehicles easy passage.
Over the years the team has seen pretty much everything, from police chases to major weather events where their heroes of the road titles have involved them in helping out other drivers.
Although the job is far from glamorous, the team maintain rigid professionalism which covers their own appearance and that of their lorries.
“I always like to keep a clean lorry and insist that both my vehicle and myself are clean and tidy – I always have shiny boots!” He said.
The long hours away from home are shrugged off by Steve who says it has become ‘a way of life’ to him. He travels the breadth of the UK and his lorry is his home from home.
So, if on your travels, you see the distinctive Portable Offices’ blue liveried lorries give the team a friendly wave.
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