The Guild of Professional Chauffeurs would like to take you behind the scenes and introduce to you some members of its Executive Committee. Each week we will post a 'bio' of a different member.
We hope you enjoy meeting us!
We're here to help the industry where we can, member or non-member – please feel free to contact us if you want to chat. Message us via social media or our website, leaving your contact number if you’d like a specific member of the team to call you back.
Meet the Committee - Week 1
This week - and first up - is Gary Dodd, the Guild's Vice-Chairman. The GoPC is proud of the cross-section of talent from across the industry that makes up its management team, and who better to start with than Mr Gary Dodd.
Question: Hi Gary. What’s your role within the Guild’s Exec Committee?
Gary: “Hi. I’m the Guild’s current serving Vice-Chairman, I’m head of the QA&I (Quality Assurance and Improvements), which means that I internally verify the standards of all the Guild’s Assessors. And of course, I’m a Membership Assessor myself."
Question: How long have you been involved in the industry?
Gary: “My experience spans over 40 years in the world of chauffeuring, and driver training & development”.
Question: What do you consider are some of the highlights of your career?
Gary: “I spent over ten years as a DSA Approved Driving Instructor and Staff Instructor with the British School of Motoring, approximately 12 years as a Rolls Royce & Bentley Chauffeur & PA for a private household – whilst in this role I trained to fly helicopters at Liverpool Airport. I’m a former DVSA Driving Examiner for cars, trucks, buses, and tractors completing over 18,000 driving tests including private hire and hackney carriage driving tests on behalf of local authorities, I then went on to pass a rigorous two-week selection process followed by a three week training course to become a DVSA staff instructor – that enabled me to train new and develop existing driving examiners”.
Question: What chauffeur/driving industry qualifications do you have?
Gary: “ I had a long-time ambition to be a Rolls Royce Chauffeur – these jobs are like hens' teeth. Eventually, an opportunity came up and of course, I grabbed it with both hands! I have:
- A full licence to drive any category of vehicle on the road
- Memberships for the Institute of Advanced Motorists – both car and commercial
- RoSPA Gold Advanced Driver qualification
- Membership of the Association of Road Risk Management
- Completed various Police Advanced Driving and VIP security driving courses over the years, the most recent being with Chris Gilbert and SOA
- The honour of being the first chauffeur in the country to pass the GoPC membership assessment and now hold the prestigious membership number of 00001!
- A current EFAW Level 3 Award (Emergency First Aid at Work) qualification, although I have booked a place on one of Simon Greenfield’s (Red 2 Medical) courses following the excellent feedback as one the country’s finest trainers”.
Question: What are your opinions on training?
Gary: “I think It’s important to train often, I try to complete some form of driver training each year as part of my CPD (Continuous Professional Development) this helps to minimise skill fade. My current role is a Driving Examiner & Staff Trainer for a national bus company and I am quality assured a minimum of 4 times a year whilst I conduct driving tests, so that keeps me on my toes too”.
Question: What was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you when chauffeuring?
Gary: “ Well, when I started driving for the private household I was tasked with planning a route from Liverpool to The Ivy restaurant in West Street, London – (I went on to be great friends with Shaun the doorman, that’s another story when you meet me!) Anyway, no sat-nav back then, so out with the A-Z street maps, route planning and memory recall, and off we went. Everything was going great until I got within a short distance of West Street and was about to turn right and then #[email protected]#9* - it was a NO ENTRY! Shock and panic tried to set in, my heart went to 150 bpm, but I had to remain cool and confident. I had to keep moving, but within a few minutes, I was lost – on a cold, dark and raining night in London’s West End. What shall I do? What would you have done?
Well, it was easy, I calmly pulled over behind a London black cab (no, I didn’t throw them in the back of a cab - they had the luxury of being in a Roller!) I asked the cab driver to lead me to the Ivy, which he did. Once we got there, I saw to it that my principals got safely inside, ran back out and threw a fiver to the cab driver - with lots of appreciation!"
Question: Where are you based and what services do you offer?
Gary: “I’m based in Chester in the north-west I have an Operator’s licence and Private Hire Driver’s licence for Cheshire West and Chester, I drive a BMW 7 with a plate exemption, often helping out a family member that runs a successful security chauffeur service and when time permits I freelance too."
Question: What attracted you to the Guild of Professional Chauffeurs and why do you think it’s important?
Gary: “As mentioned earlier, I try to complete some sort of driver development course each year, there just isn’t anything out there where I could have my skills tested, so when I first learned about the GoPC I applied and off I went, It was a very rigorous, challenging and a very demanding assessment – and since I have been Head of Quality Assurance, I have ramped the standards up even further! Seriously though, our assessment process is always under review and the GoPC have a Quality Assurance & Improvements Team. Together we make adjustments to ensure - as far as practically possible - each and everyone has a very fair assessment and that it is always a level playing field. It’s not beyond the reach of existing professionals who already have the standards by doing their job - day in, day out.
Membership is a way of showing the world that you are a truly professional chauffeur”.
Question: Thank you very much for the interview and sharing your career with us.
Gary “You’re welcome”