Vic Maynard, territory sales professional at Ernest Doe and Son Ltd, Ransomes Jacobsen’s dealer for the south-east of England, celebrated 50 years in the turf care industry when he celebrated his 65th birthday recently.
It was back in July 1960, when a young US senator John F Kennedy was being nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, that an even younger Victor Maynard from Crawley Down in West Sussex left school to join his local Ransomes grounds care dealer, Paice and Sons, as an apprentice fitter.
Initially he was put to work assembling the popular Ransomes Ajax and Antelope push mowers along with Junior gangmowers, then not long after his 17th birthday he passed his driving test in one of the company’s old Morris 1000 vans. This was a turning point and it enabled him get out of the workshop and into the territory delivering equipment to customers at various sports clubs and to many of the local authorities and councils in the area.
“I really enjoyed this part of the job, meeting and talking to different people and I found I had a sort of knack when it came to dealing with people. They would ask me questions about the equipment and I could usually answer them and I sort of morphed into a demonstration role,” he said.
In 1975, Paice were offered the Ransomes franchise for Kent and Vic was asked to take the sales role in the new area. This was the beginning of a 35 year association with the county, where he now lives with his wife Angie and where they brought up their sons, Simon now 32 and 29-year old Tim, a greenkeeper at The Wildernesse Club near Sevenoaks.
Ransomes introduced the Motor 180 tees mower in 1981, a joint venture between the Ipswich factory and Ransomes Inc, their newly acquired business based in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin. This was a popular mower and Vic sold 67 Motor 180s in 1984 and was the top salesman in the UK. In recognition of this he won a trip to Johnson Creek, where he was presented with a clock and an engraved tankard in front of the global dealer network.
In July 1997 Ransomes made the decision to reduce the number of dealers in the UK a new ‘super dealer’ Ernest Doe and Sons Ltd were appointed and given a large part of the south and southeast of England as their territory. Vic joined the company and managing director Colin Doe asked him to operate the fledgling grounds care business from a tired, run down agricultural depot near Dartford, with a promise that it would be rebuilt, if it became successful. Suffice to say that today a modern, purpose-built showroom with workshop facilities stands on the site of the old depot.
Vic is one of life’s characters; loud, jovial and a raconteur extraordinaire with a story for every occasion and an opinion on almost every facet of the industry. Summing up the past 50 years, he said,
“I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every day in this job. It’s a job I’m privileged to have, in a friendly industry where many customers have become friends. Who would have thought that grounds care would have allowed me to travel the world, but it has. The excitement of winning deals now is still the same as when I first began selling, all those years ago. Although I could be drawing a pension, with the support of my wife, Angie, I’m going to continue for the foreseeable future because it’s in my blood and I love it!”
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