There is no such thing as a typical day for Thermal Road Repairs’ (TRR’s) national operations and delivery manager Dean Birchall.
“There’s always a lot going on at the same time. I thrive on that,” says Dean, talking from Bath where he is overseeing the start-up of a new contract. The same day he was also planning a contract for a key client on the M27 near Southampton and had called a fitter out to fix a piece of kit. And it was only 11 am. Another day he could be in Scotland, Ireland or even over the Channel in France or Belgium.
For many this would be a high adrenalin job. But for Dean, this is probably quite tame, when compared to his previous role with the Queen’s Royal Lancers in the Reconnaissance Regiment. Trained as a tank driver, his ability with a gun meant that he spent most of his time on top of a RWMIK (Revised Weapons Mounter Installation Kit) Landrover, including the seven months he spent on tour in Iraq, patrolling the border with Iran.
Dean joined TRR almost nine years ago and has seen the company grow more than ten-fold in that time. Dean has grown professionally too, starting as a crew member fixing potholes and then moving up to be a supervisor and now operations manager, training and gathering qualifications along the way.
“Because I have gone from being on the tools to supervisor to manager, I have a great understanding of what my teams are going through – because I have been through it all myself,” he says. “I think that makes me a better manager.”
Dean enjoyed his time in the army. There are happy memories alongside the sad ones, he says. And his time in the regiment helped him mature fast: “I joined the army when I was 18, and I absolutely loved it. But I had to grow up fast and that was a really useful life skill for when I started here.” Now 33, Dean has a six-year-old daughter and is looking forward to getting married next year.
It was luck that brought Dean to TRR. Working in demolition – for very long hours and on very low pay – he asked his friend’s mother, a shop worker, to quiz any people wearing high-vis who came in. Fate brought a TRR employee into the shop, who revealed that the small firm was looking to recruit.
With TRR continually expanding, Dean is working with director Aidan Conway to attract more ex-forces people into the company – this time in a more strategic way. There are a lot of overlapping skills, says Dean, not least driving the specialist vehicle that TRR’s pothole repair unit is based around.
As for Dean’s ambitions, he wants to keep doing the best job he can. “I know that I am valued and the job I do is valued,” he says. “That gives me even more pride in what I am doing. If someone looks after you, you want to give it back.”
Thermal Road Repairs is a green technology company which supplies systems to improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving – at a far lower environmental cost than traditional methods. We invest significantly in R&D, to create new technologies and to continuously improve our existing ones.
High output. Low emission. Permanent solution.