PHIL ROOTHAM, SCANIA’S PRE-SALES TECHNICAL MANAGER, EXPLAINS TO BRIAN WEATHERLEY HOW THE SWEDISH MANUFACTURER RATES ITS HEAVY HAULAGE CHASSIS ON THEIR DESIGN CAPABILITIES, NOT JUST STGO ‘BREAK-POINTS’.
PHOTOGRAPHY: CRAIG PUSEY
When we ask Phil Rootham how he got started in the business he tells us: “I think it might be a little bit of a stereotype.” We obviously look blank before he explains “…a stereotype of all your other interviews!” Ahh…now we get it. Having read the comments of previous manufacturer interviewees in HeavyTorque, Rootham says he shares a similar ‘early indoctrination’ into the industry with them. “I had two uncles, one drove trucks, the other was a mechanic. The one who was the mechanic maintained lots of other independent hauliers’ vehicles and his business slowly turned into a workshop. I started working for him on Saturday mornings at the age of 12 oiling padlocks and fetching bacon sandwiches.” But what was the attraction of trucks at that tender age? Rootham reckons: “I had an interest in vehicles, and how things worked. For me it was always about how everything came together at a single point.”
So when the 16-year-old Rootham was offered an apprenticeship at his Uncle’s garage it seemed a natural path to follow. “It became an opportunity to follow that process” he says with a smile. Three years later Rootham embraced the famous Griffin brand when he joined local independent Scania dealer Derek Jones Commercials (now TruckEast) at Islip in Northamptonshire as an apprentice technician. It was a defining period for the 19-year-old who was then studying for an HND. Rootham picks-up the story again: “I was always quite lucky when I did my apprenticeship I did evening classes as well. So whether it was in welding, or electrics or whatever, there was always something ‘extra’ to do.”