Forklifts, firefighting and family – Meet Andy Parker
From roaring diesel forklifts to the quiet hum of an electric one, and from stacks of paperwork to the sleek efficiency of an iPad, Andy Parker has been there through it all. His journey at Russwood mirrors the technological evolution of our production facilities. Beyond the machinery, Andy's story is one of transitions, from coach driver to forklift operator, and from the hustle of Essex to the tranquil Highlands. Find out more about Andy in our latest ‘meet the team’ blog.
From Essex to the Highlands
Originally hailing from Essex, Andy’s journey to Newtonmore – the location of Russwood’s headquarters – was initially as a coach driver, shuttling passengers from London to the scenic Highlands. His stops in Newtonmore left such an impression that he decided to trade the hustle and bustle for a “different way of life” in the Highlands, taking up work driving the local school bus.
In 2010, Andy transitioned from coach driver to Production Operative, swapping his steering wheel for a forklift. Now, as Production Operative & Internal Logistics Lead, Andy oversees the flow of materials throughout our production facility; raw materials arriving from our suppliers are unloaded, checked in to our inventory system and stored by Andy until our team are ready to process them. Andy then locates and delivers stock to the sawmill, planing and paint teams as required, quite literally keeping the Russwood cogs turning. Always willing to help whatever the task, Andy is known for his signature phrase, “You’re on my list”.
Andy enthusiastically shares the perks of his electric forklift, a welcome shift from the clunky diesel ones we used to have. Powered by our photovoltaic panels, it not only reduces environmental impact but also spares Andy the hassle of starting a frozen diesel engine on chilly days! Paper has made way for an iPad, as Andy embraces technology, being one of the first to trial our new inventory system.
Beyond Russwood, Andy has been a dedicated on-call firefighter in the Newtonmore Fire Service for an impressive 23 years. Andy’s commitment to the fire service is evident in his long service as well as his meticulous cleaning at the fire station. A fire service colleague recalls a story of just how much Andy is devoted to his responsibilities – the story goes that Andy was patiently waiting in the car while partner Anne shopped in Kingussie. When the pager suddenly sounded, signaling a fire emergency, Andy swiftly departed, leaving Anne to return to the car laden with shopping, only to find him gone! Andy says he is very grateful to Russwood for allowing him to leave when a fire emergency requires his immediate attention. His Royal Warrant for Fire and Rescue long service and good conduct medal in 2023 stands as a well-deserved acknowledgment of two decades of exceptional service.
Life in Newtonmore
Andy’s love for driving extends beyond work hours. With an Audi S3 as his pride and joy, weekends are dedicated to meticulous car cleaning sessions. According to Andy, “no muddy shoes and certainly no kids are allowed in the car!” His preferred commute, however, often involves riding to work on his (exceptionally clean) bike. In Newtonmore, Andy shares his home with partner Anne, and their furry companions Labradoodle Collie Millie and Labradoodle puppy Frankie. Anne’s children Annette and Kenneth, along with son-in-law Dougie also work at Russwood – truly making it a family affair. In Andy’s words working together at Russwood feels like having “a family within a family”.
We are always keen to hear from people who are interested in working at Russwood both in our yard and office teams. Available positions and details of how to apply speculatively can be found on our careers page.