We had a coffee with Carl, our Purchasing Manager. We chatted about life at A.D., his relationship with suppliers, greenify and his motivation for being so awesome (his son!)
Carl works with lots of suppliers that he has developed great relationships with, in and out of the workplace. He says, by building genuine relationships, the whole experience is better for both parties, as there is a mutual understanding of the goals A.D. are working towards.
Carl is all about the supply chain and is excellent at educating customers whenever he can. Suppliers frequently ask Carl how they can increase sales with us. “Service, price, and quality aligns with what we’re trying to pass forward to our customers.”
Here’s what else he has to say.
First up Carl – Tea or coffee? Or both?
I could live without tea. I probably couldn’t live without coffee.
So, what motivates you?
My two year old son. Making the right choices when trying to source ethically and sustainably is always easier when realising it will impact the planet he’ll be inheriting.
What three traits define you?
Adaptable. Curious. Optimistic.
Those are great traits to have! Do you have any business/life rituals that are non-negotiable?
Putting my son to bed at night, and eating dinner with my wife. They provide the perfect punctuation to any day that enables me to either gain perspective on a bad day, or celebrate a good one.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“If you give me 10 hours to cut down a tree, I would spend the first seven sharpening the axe.” This quote is often incorrectly attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but whoever said it, the message is preparation, preparation, preparation. Despite being in such a fast-paced industry where decisions have to be made on the fly, or at the 11th hour, I think it’s important to control all of the things you can, so you’re prepared for the things you can’t.
Inspiring stuff! Who is your biggest inspiration?
I do tend to think that comparison is the thief of joy, so as opposed to looking to anyone else for inspiration, I just always try to be a little bit better than I was yesterday. (Not always successfully!)
What’s your favourite time of day?
The morning. I drop my son at nursery, hop on my bike with a cycle to work down the canal, and have a coffee first thing. I’m much more productive in the morning and have never been a night owl!
We’re guessing it’s crucial to be a morning person, given the importance of your role! I bet you have lots to do throughout the day! So, how do you start most mornings?
Coffee, and making eggs with my son.
And, what was the last thing you bought?
Some running trainers.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you?
In a previous life I was pretty strong. I once deadlifted 250kg.
I used to do Olympic Weightlifting to quite a high level, but since gyms were shut in lockdown, I have tried to shift my focus. I’d like to do a triathlon, with the eventual goal being a full distance Iron Man one day!
The image above is a mockup. Sorry Carl, we couldn’t resist!
Wow! Impressive! So, If you weren’t doing this as a job, what would you be doing? Olympic Weightlifting Champ?!
To be honest, I’d have to say something outside in as much green space as possible. Maybe a tree surgeon, park ranger, or football stadium groundsman would all be up there.
From what you have just said I think we already know the answer to this question but…Countryside or city?
Countryside. Good for the soul.
Whilst we’re on the topic of the outdoors and our planet, what’s the best thing about being a Planet Positive Person?
I love the quantifiable aspect. The visual of being able to see just how many bottles have been saved, trees have been planted, and the amount of carbon that’s been offset. Seeing those numbers grow is amazing.
What is your passion outside of work?
I love cinema. I’m guilty of rewatching classic favourites over choosing a new experience at times, but I’ve a great knack for choosing a film to suit the mood.
Do you like to read too?
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
I’m going to cheat and say two.
Living on the Volcano – which is all about the volatility and merry go round in football management. It’s amazing the stress, pressure and scrutiny managers are under in a job with a very short average lifespan. Especially in the lower leagues. As a (relatively) young manager, I found all the aspects of different man management approaches really interesting to read.
Then, Into Thin Air. I’ve read all of John Krakeur’s books, but this was the best. It’s about the 1995 Everest climbing season. The most fatal ever. I’ve had a fascination with Everest for a long time, but the experience in this book is the best I’ve ever read. It was made into a pretty good film a few years ago too.
If you had an extra week’s holiday each year, what would you do? Climb Everest?!
Well, I used to travel a lot. I’ve been to 42 countries and seen lots of the world – but still not enough! I’d like to dedicate a week every year specifically to seeing a new country. If I can get my bike out there to travel it on two wheels, even better!
When you’re not out on your bike, travelling the world or visiting the cinema, we want to know… Are you a crammer or a planner?
Both! It all depends on the situation.
What does your desk look like?
I work better with a clean and minimalist environment. Although this is hard to achieve with endless samples dropping on my desk!
When do you feel most fulfilled?
I like to know that everyone in the team has achieved what they’ve set out to do. I think I gain the most satisfaction from seeing the members of my own team grow.
We can tell how passionate you are about your job and team! What makes a great team for you?
I like the story of JFK approaching a janitor at NASA before Apollo 11 was launched to go to the moon for the first time. He asked a man sweeping the floor; “What exactly do you do here?” the man instantly replies, “…Putting a man on the moon.” For me, great teamwork is everyone having a thorough understanding of the goal at hand and pointing in the right direction to be successful at this, and understanding their role is just as important as what anyone else in the team is doing.
It’s nice to know how motivated you all are by seeing each other succeed!
BUT, how do you support and inspire customers?
I’m all about the supply chain and trying to educate customers whenever I can. There’s lots of misconceptions about what a sustainable product or supply chain actually involves. It’s often the boring bits of the job – lead times, product compliance, best route to market etc. While my colleagues get the fun of what products to choose! They’re the boxes that need to be ticked, given the clients we work with, and I like to think I’m the Yin to the creative Yang.
So, in your own words, how would you define Creative Connections?
For me, creative connections is all about experience. Primarily, this is the customer experience of receiving the end product. Beyond that, it’s the experience of the supplier being entrusted with a brief and using their expertise to create the best possible experience for A.D. and our customers. It’s about our teams internally coming together to support each other to make our working lives the best experience possible, and the feeling of satisfaction created by making all of these connections once a project is complete.
OK time for some fun questions! If you could be any Game of Thrones character, which one would you be?
Tyrion – Planner. Thinker. Full of sarcasm.
Where do you hang out online? Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin?
I’m on LinkedIn for all things business and work, but in an increasingly digital world, I’ll try to stay away from screens outside of that when not necessary.
How many apps do you have on your phone?
Only a few. Mainly my bank (typical purchaser looking after the pennies) Strava (so I can see exactly how slow I’ve been cycling) and Fantasy Football (I take it a bit too seriously, but don’t mind saying I’m pretty good at it!).
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?
Invisibility. Endless possibilities, most related to my curiosity!
What’s the one thing you could not live without?
Where is your favourite place to be?
At home, on a Saturday morning, making and eating breakfast with my family.
Sounds like a perfect Saturday morning!
You’ve impressed us a lot throughout this interview already but the final question, which we’re guessing will impress us even more…
How many languages can you speak?
I once travelled Mexico for four weeks and was surprised at how far my Spanish took me.
Thanks Carl! Some impressive things covered there, we know you will continue to impress throughout your career too! We enjoyed our coffee with you.
Would you like to work with Carl and the rest of our fantastic team?
Let’s make something awesome together. Start a project.