Get to Know the People at DBD – Half a Century at DBD!

Mike Taylor and Tony O’Mahony are longstanding employees: they’ve both worked with us for approximately 25 years, that’s half a century at DBD! We caught up with them to find out a little more about their careers and the wisdom they’ve picked up along the way…

Mike and Tony 1

So Gents, you have both been here about 25 years, can you tell us when exactly you started?
Mike: November 28th 1991 when I was Slim!
Tony: April 4th 2017 1992 when I had hair!

Tell us a little bit about your job roles?
Mike: I was first brought in to organize the Sales office and type up the delivery notes, totally ridiculous, as I can’t type! Then after time that developed into Buying and there we are really. (See more details on our DBD Insite Featured page-July.)
Tony: I came from a Franke sink distributor Galley Matrix where I used to manage the Sales Team, when I  started at DBD I was asked to promote Retail sales, that’s why I was taken on to support David (one of the co-founders) as we had worked together at Galley Matrix. We did half a million in the first year!
Mike: Some suppliers from the early days were – ‘Top Set’ and the ‘Pipe Man’, ‘Wing commander’, ‘Shredded wheat head’. (The list goes on, including the Craven Boys, a right pair of Charlatans apparently, imagine two Mutley’s laughing constantly as they reminisced!)
Tony: I was then asked to become Sales director, then I followed on from Bob (Robert Barnard another co-founder, still going strong) as Installation Director.
Mike: I was made Office manager downstairs about that time to.
Tony: We’re now into mid 90’s. After Buncefield, I came back and proceeded to set up a new division selling and installing kitchen furniture. Then Luke Barnard joined me a little bit later followed by Simon Banks as our installer. After a few years of building the business I was asked to become Key Accounts Director and that’s what I’m doing today.

What has been some of the major changes you’ve had to deal with over the years?
Mike: A big thing was dealing with the Buncefield disaster. The Company responded brilliantly to that, everyone rallied round, it was tremendous. It showed the spirit within the company! (See photo of lots of spirit during the move and Tony’s arm, he snapped his bicep tendon going from single whiskies to doubles!)
Tony: When we went from offering appliance supply only, to undertaking installation. That was back in Wewlyn, that was a big change, we were an industry first!
Mike: Rialto Homes were the first to ask us to do installation and we thought let’s give it a go.
Tony: Another massive change was that the downstairs office in St Albans (approx. 1995) was just full of delivery boards and every time you had to find something you had to go through every board trying to get the paperwork. We had 1 computer and that took some time to dial up in those days, as you can imagine reports took a while. So, I think getting computerized was a big change!
Mike: Getting Toast (internal system) was a big thing.

How do you feel about your colleagues and friends here at DBD?
Mike: My colleagues and friends. I love my friends. A very fine body of people.
Tony: We really do work as a Team, we have moments, but every family does.

If you could pass on any working wisdom, what would it be?
Mike: Don’t get caught! CYB. I genuinely feel, do what you can to help all your colleagues. Even if ones are a bit grumpy, if you show enough empathy you can talk them round and resolve issues.
Tony: Enjoy every day! And remember, it’s only a job. It’s not a matter of life or death. There is a lot of pressure, but we need to keep it in perspective, enjoy it! You can always find good in a day if you look hard enough, sometime it can be tough but it’s there. Most important to remember is that our Financial Team don’t print money it’s each and every customer that pays a percentage of our salary, always remember that!

What would you say is one of the best things about DBD?
Mike: For me it’s the people I work with.
Tony: I think it’s that we want to get it right and do it better and I think that is really important. Our customers deserve the best of our efforts and skills.

What do you think are some of DBD greatest achievements?
Mike: Surviving Buncefield brilliantly.
Tony: Let me tell you a story about that, on the day we temporarily moved out of Hemel after Buncefield, our loss adjustors came around – the first company they visited was closed, the second company’s staff had their heads in their hands ‘woe is me’ and he said ‘I come round here and you lot are all moving, everyone was in, helping. I can’t believe this, what a spirit!’ the whole company was moving, loading lorries. He was so impressed with us, testament to DBD. At the end of the day it’s all about one big team with clear goals.
Mike: We also do our best to look at ourselves and improve.
Tony: Yes genuinely we want to be better and give people a better service.
Mike: We want to give people outside a better service and we want to give each other a better service as well.

How would you spend your ideal weekend?
Mike: Walking Swaledale and going to a pub for lunch
Tony: Watching Rugby, especially going to Dublin watching Ireland thrash England
What quality is vital in the working environment?
Mike: Empathy.
Tony: Humour
We know you both love a tipple, can you share any of your favorites?
Mike: Ardbeg 10.
Tony: Highland Park Carribean Cask
What is your favorite family tradition?
Mike: All our family, 25 people, get together twice a year and the blokes do the cooking.
Tony: For every anniversary we get together as a family and celebrate each year together.
How would you describe each other in 3 words?
Mike: Tony – two words, Absolute charmer.
Tony: Mike – Used to be MOB – Miserable, old, buyer but I think he is a closet sales really. In 3 words ‘he’s my mate!’
Are you a fan of Football or Rugby? If so, who do you support?
Mike: Football, I support Millwall, so… I love rugby union
Tony: Rugby, Ireland
Who is your favorite comedian?
Mike: Spike Milligan
Tony: Billy Connolly
Do you know any jokes?
Mike: What’s the difference between a buffalo and bison? You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo.
Tony: What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot
Mike: That’s a cracker!
What was your favorite age?
Mike: Looking back, you start thinking for different reasons, properly 35-40
Tony: I hope it will be 150!
If you could be known for one quality what would it be?
Mike: Helpful, in a work environment
Tony: Kind, I hope people think I’m kind…
Aren’t you going to ask us what our favourite chocolate bar is?
Ok, what’s your favourite chocolate bar?
Tony: None, we are diabetic!

Here are some photos we found from DBD’s archives (click on the picture for details and ‘i’ for information):