Introducing Richard Lloyd – General Manager – The Park & Integration Director
Richard Lloyd is no stranger to a rugby pitch, after dedicating much of his childhood and early adulthood to playing semi-professionally. However, fifteen years ago he was presented with a muddy field that posed a challenge of a different kind.
Tell us about your journey with The Park?
I’ve had a varied career over the past fifteen years, travelling around the world looking after all our sites globally. I spent time in Hong Kong, a lot of time in Australia, before deciding home for me was here in Bristol. I joined Accolade when The Park was still just a big muddy field, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to gain the experience of building a green field site and the fun and challenges that come with it.
I’ve learned new skill sets year on year, after working on site start-up, end to end procurement, global shipping, distribution… It really has been varied. In more recent years, I’ve loved the challenge of building a team, developing my own leadership style, and working with a mix of diverse personalities to bring expertise to each area.
Joining The Park was a huge life decision for me, but it’s led to a wonderful career for me, and a home for myself, my wife and our two children.
Speaking of leadership styles, how would you describe yourself as a leader?
I want to be a catalyst for positive change, and I pride myself on bringing energy, enthusiasm, and courage to what I do.
I believe that we take something from everyone that we meet and engage with, but equally, interacting with others allows us to learn what we don’t like. In the past, at times I’ve been managed in ways I haven’t enjoyed, and ways that have worked well for me, and those experiences have helped me to shape my style, and how I want to make other people feel.
I’ve become very comfortable with not being the expert and knowing when to reach out or hand over to those around me. My team is made up of such a mix of people, and it’s a privilege to work with them and see them share their diverse expertise and their differing points of view.
What are your thoughts on the acquisition?
I’ve had a lot of conversation with family and friends about the news in the past few weeks and the most common statement I make is that it’s almost too good to be true. By that I mean, the timing is perfect; The Park has grown over the years, we’ve worked out our personality and our purpose and to now be acquired by a UK based business with sustainability at its forefront, who totally understand us, work in our space and are prepared to invest…The synergies between The Park and Encirc are huge, and the next few years will be so exciting. It’s important that we don’t rush, and we’re taking the time to understand one another and get really clear on our vision for the future of beverages.
What is The Park best known for?
Our spirit! We have a set of mindsets that we were created by all on site to articulate the spirit of The Park. My favourite is “This place is Ours”, I love it because it oozes the passion that you truly feel on site. Internally, we really embrace them, there are daily challenges, like with any job, but we’re made up of a core group of people that passionately believe that we can make it work, and work tirelessly as a team to achieve that.
What do you enjoy most about working in the beverages industry?
For me, the cool thing about The Park, about Encirc, and the industry in general, is how we adapt to the consumer. I feel very lucky to work across a supply chain – on any given day we’re working with a vineyard, a master of wine, and then talking to our retailers about consumer needs – it’s key to our business to understand consumer needs and how they’re changing. There’s also a very subtle difference between consumer need and customer need and that’s the big challenge for a supply chain business; putting in foundations for reliability and repeatability, as well as being agile enough to move with the times.
I actually used to work in the tobacco industry, and I’ve never smoked. I couldn’t talk with any passion about our product. Beverages is different – our products bring people together, they’re a key part in our celebrations, our life milestones… to love your job it really helps to love your product, and I’m lucky to be able to say that I do.
What’s your tipple of choice then?
We do a Grant Burge ‘Filsell’ Shiraz. It’s from the Barossa Valley and it’s nice to sit and drink it on a cold night. Nothing too fancy for me, just a good strong red.
Can you share some career advice?
Finding and defining your purpose really helps. I wrote my own personal purpose a few years ago and I’m currently revisiting it. It allowed me to identify my foundations of beliefs, spirit and dream, which in turn helps those who work with me understand my drive. How we lead impacts how we set up our teams, and in turn our business, for success.
It’s also important to be proud, but pragmatic. People like and respect The Park, but we are very aware of, and open about, what we need to improve on. This partnership with Encirc will only help us to grow because we truly understand each other in that sense.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
In 2018, The Park won the UK Manufacturer of the Year award. Previous winners were BMW and McLaren, so for The Park, tiny in comparison, to be judged as the best in the UK at manufacturing was utterly magical. It’s mind-blowing to me that our muddy field is now up there with such giants. The buzz that I get from what I do, well I’ve only ever experienced that on the rugby pitch before. To get to experience it in work makes me so proud, it’s something to keep shooting for.