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Mick bows out after 35 years in the business

Mick at Pick-a-Part
Mick Webberson has spent his working life in this industry and loved every minute of it.
We all know that auto recycling is a way of life rather than a job which is why so many stay in this industry for their working lives. Mick Webberson fits this category perfectly, but he has finally decided to hang up his boots.

Back in the mid 70’s, Mick was working for John McGur who specialised in reconditioning Triumph engines, with 35 outlets up and down the country. John bought King of Lee around that time and asked Mick to run it for him.

Mick had never been involved with vehicle dismantling prior to this and was naturally a little daunted by the challenge. He needn’t have been as he took to it like a duck to water and King of Lee, although not a large yard became very well known in the trade. At one time they had 5 staff on the counter and 6 telephone lines - and that was exceptional in those days! Mick was at King of Lee from 1982 to 1999 and tells me they made good money in that period.

He was offered the opportunity to buy into a yard at the that time but declined. “When someone has treated you with loyalty and trust, then it’s only right to treat them in the same way. John was a great boss”.

Eventually the property developers got their hands on the site and it turned into a block of flats. Mick took 3 months off and then joined Universal Salvage - and boy what a shock that was. This was totally different, they were using computers, they were buying direct from the manufacturers; this was a different world. What’s funny though is that the man who brought him up to speed and ‘computerised’ him was Steve Rudkin who Mick has nothing but praise for. Steve has recently taken over his job at Pick-A-Part.

This was Universal’s Paddock Wood site which processed a lot experimental cars from the manufacturers which, as you can imagine included many items which couldn’t be sold and had to be destroyed. Mick discovered the potential of export markets during this time. Around 2003, Universal closed this site and Mick moved to Charles Trent Ltd.

He had previously dealt with Trents when at Universal, working with them when he couldn’t supply parts. He ran the site for six years before Trents pulled out and the business was taken up by Terry and Simon Charlton of Cambridge based, Charlton recycled Autoparts. They re-named the business Pick-A-Part, using an operating model that minimises costs and sees the return of the buyer removing the part. We covered this business in this article last year.

A couple of years ago Mick dropped to 3 days a week as he felt he would like to take semi-retirement. The time has now come when he wants to spend his time without the pressure of work and just enjoy his retirement. “I have really enjoyed my career in this industry and made so many friends over the years. There is still huge potential for this industry, you need to look no further than Eastern Europe at appreciate that. I wish all those I have worked with well for the future but for me the time has come to take life easier.”

I am sure we all wish Mick a long and happy retirement.

October 2014

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