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End to End Excellence: The People Behind the Product

I have said this myself, and it might sound a bit glib, but I am genuinely proud of the product that we make

Tags: Design & Craft,

We’ve saved a very special person for this months behind the product article. All our staff are special of course but this month our favourite Export Sales Manager Liam is getting married! It’s set to be the rock ‘n’ roll wedding of the year (in Cambridgeshire!) Congratulations to Liam and his beautiful wife-to-be Leanne. We can’t wait for your big day!

Liam Davison, dCS Export Sales Manager

“I have said this myself, and it might sound a bit glib, but I am genuinely proud of the product that we make. I know our position in the market, I know the quality, I know that everyone here feels exactly the same. I know how fantastic the product is, how amazing it sounds. That makes my job so much easier – but then again if I wasn’t good at it I’ve hardly got an excuse, have I?”

Liam Davison is a very avuncular sort of guy. He’s a bright and cheerful chap with a wry sense of humour and an enthusiasm for what he’s doing that radiates like heat from the summer sun. “Those that shout loudest always get heard,” he quips. “It’s a great job, and has taken me to so many places where I never thought I’d go. Everywhere from Las Vegas to Moscow and in-between. You don’t really get to do a lot of touristy stuff but there are times when you can. I am always a first point of call for my friends when they want to know a good place to go on holiday. Perhaps I should start a travel consultancy on the side!”

It’s not the intricacies of hotel mini bars that excites Liam however, it’s the culture. “You have to learn the way that different countries go about things, how they do business. Most of our partners overseas are a pretty good fit; naturally they have a shared love of music and high end audio with dCS and are very hospitable, so things go smoothly. The extra-curricular activities can be hard work at times, though. Croatia is probably the hardest partying country I have been to. In order to be sociable I have found myself ‘downwind’ of some pretty extreme Croatian whiskey, and then had to switch back into work mode. A TV crew once walked in on a Vivaldi demonstration and I found myself talking to the good people of Zagreb ever so slightly intoxicated. I’ve not played back the video yet, but I have been told that I got away with it!”

In a way, Liam’s sporting background has proved great training for his job at dCS. It’s hard work, pretty gruelling with lots of travel and socialising. You need to be fit, and have stamina. “School for me was always about sport,” he says. “I was very good at athletics, and used to sprint for Cambridgeshire. I did for East Anglia a couple of times, too. I used to play rugby at county level as well, at two age groups above my own. I used to do sprinting, relays, long jump, triple jump. Then in rugby I played anywhere from inside centre, outside centre to the wing because I was super-quick. Then age sixteen, I picked up a really bad knee injury during an athletics training session. I was doing a race and as I was going around a bend, my running shoe spike got stuck in the ground and my knee kind of decided to implode on itself…”

During his nine month-long recuperation period, Liam was stuck inside and unable to train – so he picked up a guitar. “My dad plays guitar and piano, and there have always been instruments around the house. Out of boredom, I started fiddling with a few chords and that was it – I was hooked. We always played music – The Beatles, Moody Blues, James Taylor and U2 – at home and in the car, so aged seventeen I found myself teaching myself how to play the guitar. I’ve never looked back. I am a pretty decent player, and love British rock like The Kinks and The Jam.”

At university, Liam studied Sports Management. “The idea was to have some kind of sport in my life. I did pretty well getting a 2:1, and then went to work at a gym just west of Cambridge, with the aim of getting into personal fitness training, that sort of thing. Still, I wasn’t so passionate about it; I tried but it didn’t really strike a chord with me. All the same, it opened up two fantastic things in my life. The first was that while I was there I met my fiancée, the other was that in a roundabout way I got my job at dCS. I got to know (Managing Director) David Steven’s wife Linzi and then David too – they were members of the gym. The management actually thought I was better at the sales and marketing side of my job, than the fitness stuff. I like to think that I get on with people really well, I am good at talking to people. I guess that is what David saw in me. I hope he’s not in his office listening!”

“I think David saw this raw ability in me, nearly seven years ago”, confides Liam. “I am still here now so I must be doing something right. I joined dCS as a Graduate Trainee Sales Manager in January 2012. They started me off in production, so I was working with the guys there building what are now legacy products like Puccini, Paganini and Scarlatti. Then it went crazy with the Vivaldi launch and I moved to the sales side of things. I was looking after the UK; at that time we had six or seven dealers, and even then I was constantly on the road.”

For Liam, working for dCS has been a “pretty easy fit”. He says he never forgets, “the calibre of client you are dealing with – when someone is paying this much money for your product then nothing less than perfect is acceptable. It takes time to get into that mindset when you’re starting here – but is a very strong part of our company’s culture.” At first he says that he was really worried about the electronics side of things, but remembers David saying, “don’t worry, you can learn that. What you can’t learn is having a good ear for music and caring about people (customers).”

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