Don't take no for an answer!
Nicky Simpson is Commercial Director for Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and joined following the acquisition of SHB. Sarah Williams interviewed her to find out more about what her role involves and the skills she has developed.
"I keep in touch with many ex-colleagues who are now friends and we are able to support and mentor each other in different ways"
What is your career story?
I started working as a horse-riding instructor living in Ireland and New Zealand. When I moved back to the UK, I began working for Amey in the fleet team, learning the business through a variety of roles including invoicing, hire controller, recharge damage agent and maintenance control.
I also headed up Amey’s health, safety, quality and environmental management, managed large rail and highways bids and completed my Certificate in Professional Competence (CPC).
Acquiring this broad business knowledge led to securing the role of fleet director. After 13 years with Amey I moved to Enterprise PLC where I was their fleet operations director and I learned a lot about waste and utilities markets.
I moved to SHB when Enterprise PLC was due to be acquired by Amey. It was a new challenge to take on the role of supplier and partner, rather than fleet customer and operator.
I’ve worked for SHB and now Enterprise for seven years, starting as head of fleet solutions. My brief was to develop a fleet management business.
Everyone knew SHB as a 4x4 provider and the business wanted to be seen as a wider vehicle hire and management company. We achieved great growth, gained high-profile customers and were recognised by the industry, winning numerous fleet awards and making Fleet News Top 50 list.
Nicky says, “Don’t take no for an answer. If you don’t understand, always say so. Keep asking until you get the information you need. Find a good mentor and support structure. It’s important you surround yourself with people who motivate you and help you succeed.”
What is your current role?
My role as Enterprise commercial director is very varied. I manage Acklea, our specialist traffic management business and the vehicle pricing team and work closely with the sales team to support larger customers and develop technical solutions and new opportunities through the tender process. I work with the sales and account management team to ensure we create new opportunities and build strong solution based customer relationships.
What do you consider to be your key skills?
I have the ability to challenge situations and I like detail. I’m able to think laterally about solutions. It definitely helps that I’ve been the customer and have run operational fleets. This means I understand what the customer wants and needs and how they like to negotiate.
I have always had good managers, who have pushed me to succeed beyond them or have taken me with them. I keep in touch with many ex-colleagues who are now friends and we are able to support and mentor each other in different ways. I am confident in my own knowledge and experience, and this helps me to be strong and tenacious. You always have to believe you can do something!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I’m very interested in being fit and healthy. I compete in rowing events across the UK and enjoy other sports such as Tough Mudders, cycling or anything that’s a physical challenge.
I’m Captain of Abingdon Rowing Club and have raised over £40k in funding for the club since I started. It is immensely gratifying when you see the money invested in equipment that develops our squads to race and win nationally.