“Focused,” best sums up my impression having just met Zac Tullet, winner of the first Reigate and Banstead Business Award for Employee of the Year. Not, I hasten to add, in the sense that he would steamroller over you, but as someone you feel you could trust to know where we need to go and how to get there. “Our business,” he says, “As a freight management company, is to deliver a service that is so simple anyone can use it, and the fact that we have complete transparency in fee structure, with no hidden costs, makes us the ideal choice for startups and small companies.”
He knows the business well. In the three years he has been there he has moved from apprentice to senior executive with responsibility for sales and development of internal projects. “Bearing in mind the amount of resources people have invested in their product, they need a service that works for them,” he says, “So I’m looking at: how ‘human’ does our digital service feel?” Clearly it is something he does well; so adept with the human touch, in fact, that he recently had a client invite him to their child’s Christening. “We can,” he adds earnestly, “Answer questions clients don’t even know they need to ask.” Sometimes this leads to novel solutions. One client who wanted to buy their wedding wings from America were advised the cheapest and safest way would be to buy a return ticket to America and wear them home.
I ask him about the Award. He had just come back from a holiday in Italy when he found his name had been submitted. He appeared genuinely surprised, and not entirely comfortable with finding himself the centre of attention. A theme that comes up again when I ask him about the Awards ceremony itself, which sounds a tremendous event – perfectly pitched in a resplendent venue, with plenty to fill the stomach and a belly full of laughs. Until… his eyes widen in recollection, he hears his name and has to go on stage to receive the Award. He shakes his head in disbelief: lots of questions fired at him under the glare of lights, and then back to the safety of friends and well-wishers at the table. Judging from the way he is fielding my questions, I’m fairly sure he did admirably, but an Award like this, one suspects, is won on the basis of more business ability than courting publicity.
I asked him what happened after the Awards. In my initial email I had expressed the opinion that as I had never heard of Shippo before he won this award and now I had, I sincerely hoped he at least got a cake from the marketing department. He smiles knowingly when I ask him and agrees that they have had an increase of local business since the award. “But,” he admits, giving a small shake of the head that suggests I would not believe the scope of the truth he is about to tell me: “There is so much cake where I work.” Indeed, the more he tells me of Shippo it seems they could be strong candidates for Employer of the Year next time round. The office is based on the Holmethorpe Estate in a shared space with several other companies. It sounds a dynamic, diverse, supportive and social place to work. And it has cake.
I ask him about his impressions of Redhill as a place to live and work and Zac was encouraged by the plans for the town, but recognised there was a lot to do still. As a Guild it is impressing the important changes and opportunities in Redhill to people like Zac that we continue to prioritise. At our last meeting we were fortunate to have several Council members and a representative from the Harlequin thrashing out some ideas. One advantage we have as a Guild over similar organisations is that we do more than business networking, we want to hear about and get involved in projects that are going to improve the town. So I thank him for his frankness which serves only as a reminder there is still much to do.
It’s a great achievement for Zac though. I asked Simon Bland who gave him the Award what made Zac the outstanding employee in the area. He pointed me to the list of what the judges were impressed by:
“The winner demonstrated:
- how they embody the organisational values
- how they provide excellent customer service
- how they support their colleagues and work as a team
- commitment to their own personal development
- a significant contribution to their workplace or outstanding progress in their role”
So reads the Winners Brochure from the evening, and what more need be said? “Well done, Zac. Very well earned.”
After all that busyness in the business, I ask him what he’ll be doing to relax. He tells me he has two Huskies and a Labrador and enjoys taking them on long walks with his partner Kate, a Primary School Teacher. It is a comfortable and we deserved scene.