Phil has been working on a wide range of VLT equipment, including the famous VLT Brake Testers. As Senior Installation Engineer, Phil gave his unique perspective about his years of service at V L Test Systems.
How long have you been working for V L Test Systems?
In my 19th year so 1999 I started, can’t remember the month though.
What bit of your job do you not like so much?
Being in the office. I love being out and about on site.
What is your favourite part about your job?
Travelling, seeing all the places, meeting really lovely down to earth people.
Which is your favourite area to travel to?
I love Scotland and Wales. But Scotland is so dramatic and makes us feel so small and no matter what the weather is like, you still got to do the job. On one occasion I’ve seen it white-out and then they close the snow gates. The furthest north in Scotland I’ve been is near John O’Groats, just a few miles from the edge of the mainland, after the job, I managed to go and view the wild sea breaking against the rocks.
Working in Nairobi, Kenya was good, after we finished the job one of the customers took us for a quick tour of the National Park.
What’s the worst conditions you’ve had to work in?
Many years ago, we had a call that Taunton Test facility was flooded and they needed to get the Roller Brake Tester (RBT) up and running. It was Christmas eve and Brian drove the Lorry, when we got there the place had been flooded, but luckily it was just the stuff in the Roller Pit that needed sorting out. Unluckily the flood had also gone into the sewage waste system and that was all over our rollers, motors, brakes and electrics in the roller pit. We managed to get it up and running just after lunch time and the customer was really grateful to us and we managed to get home for Christmas.
What’s the worst location you’ve had to stay in, whilst at V L Test Systems?
The Falkland islands. well over ten years ago. The travelling was epic, there was only one flight a week at that time and we had to stop at Ascension Island for an hour and a half. They reported a motor needed replacing but in the end it was just the brake. That side of the job was fairly simple and the people were great, I was looking forward to seeing the place, but just after I arrived the whole camp was put on alert, so I had to stay put and could not go anywhere for the duration of my stay.
If you could give one piece of advice to our existing RBT customers, what would it be?
Look after the RBT properly, don’t change oil and antifreeze over it, because it just goes on the motor, gearbox and electrics. Look after it better and it will last longer.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you at work?
Recently we had a job next to a swingers club, well that’s what they advertised it as. The area out back next to where we were working had a nudes smoking shelter and there were two naked ladies standing there smoking.
What would you say are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry since you started?
The impact that VOSA has had and how it’s power appears to have changed. At one time they were big and powerful and now they seem to have less influence.
If someone was starting their career in our industry, what guidance would you give them?
Absorb all of the training you can get, ask for help when you need it and take every opportunity to travel and experience what ever you can.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new prospective RBT customer, what would it be?
Buy cheap and you buy twice. Sometimes I get to meet customer’s at shows and exhibitions and a lot of them say they wished they’d bought our equipment.