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In 2022, IPAF President Karin Nars launched the 'Women in Powered Access' initiative, inviting women of all ages and different professional roles to share their stories of inclusivity. The initiative includes a number of key actions, including providing a platform to tell the stories of women in powered access in both the media and at industry events. IPAF will also use its own print, web and social media platforms to share these inspirational case studies and will also continue to invite prominent women speakers to present at IPAF events. IPAF will share a series of case studies at www.ipaf.org/casestudy to communicate the opportunities our industry offers women.
What is your role in powered access? I am the founder and managing director of International Platforms. The business buys individual units and packages of used MEWPs and works with manufacturers to help them dispose of trade-in machines. We sell these machines to rental companies, dealers, traders and end users worldwide either ‘as seen’ or fully serviced and repaired.
How did you come into this industry and what attracted you to it? I joined the access platform industry in 2004 after being invited to interview by an ex colleague from a previous role in the IT sector. I was offered two jobs at that time, one to head up some newly launched Subway branches, and the other job being at Genie. Thank goodness I took the Genie role! Even at the interview I was immediately drawn in to the atmosphere and family environment that was Genie at the time. I could tell the business was fast moving, intense and full of opportunities. I spent twelve years as Used Equipment Manager at Genie and four years at AJ Access before starting International Platforms in 2020.
I was attracted by the opportunities to travel around Europe, meet new people and I also love problem solving. As people got to know me and found I knew what I was talking about, they trusted me and I got a real sense of achievement from making sales in a very fast moving environment.
What do you find inspiring about your role? I started my own business because I wanted a better work-life balance, but I’m now busier than ever and loving every minute. As well as doing what I know best, buying and selling access platforms, I have really enjoyed developing my management skills to run my own business and to encourage, train and empower my team. I also get a lot of satisfaction from advising and providing customers with the right solution and having people come back to me year after year when they have new requirements. It has also been a fantastic experience working with my daughter, Jade, who was just 21 when we started International Platforms together and she is now making a real name for herself in the access platform industry, whilst building herself a solid career.
Where do you see yourself in five years and what do you want to achieve? In the last three years Jade and I have worked hard to grow our business from nothing to an annual turnover of well over £5m and it’s been an amazing journey so far. Looking to the future, my vision is to have a thriving international business run by team of happy, confident people and also, hopefully, to achieve the work-life balance I was aiming for at the start.
What one piece of advice would you give to other women in/thinking of entering the industry ?Back in 2004 it was quite daunting to be a woman in a very male-dominated environment. However, things have moved on now and my advice to any women today is – first and foremost always remain professional. Make sure you have a good understanding of your products and role and be trustworthy. Being tough skinned and not easily offended is also an added advantage! With these skills you can have a very rewarding and enjoyable career within the access platforms industry.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from advising and providing customers with the right solution and having people come back to me year after year!”