Mark Walsh

Five minutes with…

Mark Walsh

UK Transport Manager

Astral Global Logistics

Tell us about your route into the world of logistics 

Well, I fell into the logistics sector by accident. When I left school, all I wanted to do was earn money. I started working for a local builder as a labourer and then went to college on a brick-laying course.

Unfortunately, after a couple of years, the builder hit some trouble and stopped paying me, so I was out.

Then I spotted an advert for an admin role at Sealand and secured the job. My first role in the industry officially started as a POD chaser and delivery note distributer, and the most crucial role was the chief coffee maker.

I eventually worked my way up onto the transport desk, running a sheet of charter vehicles based all over the UK.

The next stop up the ladder was with Loadwell Transport, which the Ingram family owned and with whom I’m still in contact. I don’t change jobs very often, and after Loadwell Transport, I worked for two other hauliers and then ended up at what is now one of the largest UK hauliers and spent the next 21 years, and finished my career there as general manager.

And now that you’re working once again with Daniel Dempsey, has AGL got itself the dream transport team?

I decided it was time for a change; I needed a new challenge to get stuck into, and that’s when AGL came along. They were growing at a steady rate, and they reached a stage where a stand-alone transport department would be a great solution within the business. That’s where I came in.

The transport department was official and a solo role for the first six months. Dan Dempsey, who I worked with in my previous position for 12 years, joined me, making this transport department a shared, exciting new opportunity. Some may say the dream team.

The last couple of years have been nothing if not challenging; what are your hopes for the industry generally?

Without a doubt, it’s been challenging, but it has also been a great learning curve. Many issues were thrown at us, making all of us work smarter and think outside of the box even more. Many lessons have been learnt over the past couple of years, some good and some bad. Still, we have both managed to bring these to the table at AGL, creating solutions and efficiencies for an ever-changing marketplace. Already having an experienced and dedicated team in place at AGL has also been a great help.

The challenges faced, and lessons learned have put us in a solid position to make the future of this industry a thriving and exciting sector to work in.

Also, it is great to see that driver’s overnight facilities are an issue being addressed. I have never had to stay over and use the overnight facilities, but I have stopped at plenty; all I can say is… interesting.

And with much noise currently about the fluctuating pay for drivers and subcontractors, is there any loyalty left in the industry?

Our ethos is loyalty, trust and honesty, all of which are vital for our future at AGL. AGL has a first-class team, demanding the best and delivering the best. I am excited to be a part of that mentality; having a passionate, hungry team working together heading in the same direction is refreshing and rewarding.

Tell us a secret about yourself that would surprise your colleagues.

As for a secret that would surprise…. not sure I could surprise my colleagues anymore, and some secrets should not be published. I guess being a fan of Peter Andre and playing the violin would surprise a few.

Image credit: Mike Bowden