We sat down with Operations Director Gary Danson to learn more about his time at Plastic Surgeon and what's next for the business
Gary Danson is operations director here at Plastic Surgeon and has been at the company for over 16 years, joining in 2002 as a finisher. He’s enjoyed a varied and highly successful career with us, seeing many changes along the way.
Earlier this week we sat down with Gary to learn more about his journey with us so far and how our emerging insurance and domestic markets look set to boost future growth.
I started as a finisher in the South West region, in 2002 – which at the time was the smallest region in the country. I loved the variety and challenge of the role and learning a real craft. I was promoted to team leader and then eventually manager of the South West region, where we grew from Plastic Surgeon’s smallest to its largest region. From here I became national operations manager and last year I was promoted to operations director – what a journey it’s been.
I oversee our team of operations managers and 200 finishers across the country. I also supervise our research and development team (R&D) and the wonderful work that they do. R&D is a big thing for us at Plastic Surgeon, we’ve always been innovative and are constantly looking at new products and areas of repair.
We have recently established a leather repair system which has been in development for the past few months and will be rolled out nationwide by October. We’re really proud of the work that we have achieved. The product is the very best in the market and couple that with the expertise of our finishers, we think that this will be incredibly popular and assist insurers in further driving down costs and reducing their impact on the environment.
Definitely! Being a finisher, you understand the challenges that are faced on the ground, the varying areas of repair, dealing with customers etc. This really gives me that rapport with the team. In fact, during the intense training that our finishers undertake in the first few weeks at Plastic Surgeon, I always go into the sessions on the first day to build that relationship, they really appreciate that I talk from experience and not from my ivory tower, so to speak…
The insurance market is incredibly different from many sectors of our work, for example the construction industry where you are on a building site, working alongside other tradespeople and not dealing with the general public. In the insurance sector you are dealing directly with the customer. The biggest hurdle is educating customers on the benefits of repair. Many are under the impression that their damaged item is going to be replaced. We have to explain the process involved, and the fantastic benefits of the repair option – the reduction in time to get things sorted and the lessened impact on their insurance premiums. The sustainability benefits are always a fantastic talking point. We have found over the last few years that customers are becoming even more interested in the fact that they are doing their bit to help the environment.
We have created a dedicated insurance team – field and office staff who have the experience and people skills required to work in this sector – they are passionate about our approach and ethos and can transfer this passion to our customers and insurers.
Our head of insurance Chris Edwards – whom we employed two years ago – comes directly from one of the UK’s leading insurers, another accolade for our insurance team, which is growing all of the time. Our insurance team leader Leanne Clifford and her excellent team of claim handlers, bring many years of insurance sector expertise, ensuring our insurance clients customers, always receive an efficient and effective service.
Becoming a director was such a personal achievement. When I joined as a finisher all those years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day be operations director.
Another stand out achievement is the tremendous growth we’ve achieved. When I joined the business there were around 60 staff working for the company. We have experienced significant growth, especially within the last few years – we’re now up to 250 staff and growing rapidly. I’m particularly excited about how the emerging markets of the business (insurance and domestic works) are developing rapidly and forming an ever-larger part of the business. The future certainly looks very bright.
Our people though are what makes us. Our finishers are the best in the industry, the work that they produce is outstanding. We develop the very best processes and technical facilities. Our claims management system ‘visibility’ is a leader in the market and was developed by our very talented IT team. We continue to innovate, always investigating new areas of repair and new sectors to expand into, there is always something happening, and long may it continue.