In the spotlight this week is Alan Thompson, head of business at Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover
What was your first job?
I had a paper round when I was 11 years old, then not long after, I worked in Crazy Prices stacking shelves. I was their first ever student employee of the month. I was very dedicated and hard working from a young age and all the grannies seemed to love me!
What qualifications do you have?
I graduated from Queen’s University in 1996 with a BSc in computer science with business. I came top of my class and won the Unibol Award for top graduate in that degree. I also went on to gain a certificate in management accounts.
What do you attribute your success to?
Dedication and hard work. That being said, I’ve been lucky to have a very encouraging and supportive family, and I’ve surrounded myself with positive mentors and teams alike as well. I think it’s important to surround yourself with positive energy and people who can bring out the best in you.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I’m fun and outgoing. Fair and hard working. Very approachable. Maybe impatient at times, but it’s important to be self-aware!
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
It’s important to always listen and appreciate the variety of personalities and perspectives of those around you. I always try to lead by example and encourage humour when at all possible! It’s important that those around me enjoy what they do.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
Clearly Brexit is an issue which is affecting consumer confidence. It’s frustrating in Northern Ireland that the industry currently lacks leadership, direction and support from a government space. I’d also change the weather (I’d like to do business in my shorts and flip flops).
What website or app could you not do without?
BBC Weather and Everton FC.com
What was the last book you read?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
What car do you drive?
I’m currently driving a Jaguar F-Type, and not because I’m going through a chronic mid-life crisis! I love how the brand is currently evolving and refreshing itself to reach a younger market. I feel the brand is becoming more and more vibrant and we’re starting to see this here in Charles Hurst Jaguar. Also, in my opinion, it is the ultimate driving experience, the engineering and technology applied is outstanding.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I ran my first ever marathon this year in Belfast in 3 hours and 49 mins! For me, that’s one off the bucket list. I’ve applied for a ballot place in the London Marathon for next year, so it seems I’ve caught the running bug. I like to work out every morning before I go to work to brush away the cobwebs, but I also like to run with my wife when I go home in the evening.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family
Football and food! I’ve supported Everton FC since I was a boy, there’s something in me that believes in the underdog. I take considerable abuse from my work colleagues for my loyalty. And if I had to pick, my desert island meal would be an Indian takeaway washed down with a nice Malbec.