All Things Haulage - Tommy Graham


This week as part of our haulage series, Kevin speaks to the seasoned haulier and rally driver, the man, the legend, Tommy Graham.

All Things Haulage - Tommy Graham

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  • 5 mths ago

This week as part of our haulage series, Kevin speaks to the seasoned haulier and rally driver, the man, the legend, Tommy Graham.

To some, thirty-five years in business may seem like a long time, though not for Tommy Graham.

Tommy has been around lorries for as long as he can remember, assisting customers with all their sand and gravel needs.

Based out of Prosperous in Co. Kildare, Tommy’s experience with haulage came at a young age, with his father Billy having driven a truck for his uncle’s business. This was until Billy fell ill, meaning Tommy took his place behind the wheel with his uncle’s firm.

It was at this young age when Tommy’s interest in trucks and haulage peaked, leading to his eventual progression into the industry. Tommy’s uncle carried out the same work Tommy still does to this day, everything Sand and gravel orientated.

Where did it all begin?

The year was 1982, the year Tommy’s adventure truly began. His start came as his uncle, Tommy Sr, was selling the lorry which Tommy was responsible for driving. He decided to make his maiden purchase, buying the truck from his uncle, which signalled the beginning of Graham Sand & Gravel.

“In 1982 my uncle Tommy was selling the lorry I drove for him and he sold it to me. That was a Volvo F86 and that’s how it all started”, he said.

“Since then when I bought the first truck, which was around the time that Sheikh Mohammad began buying farms in Meath for studs, I was lucky enough to strike a deal with the builder Martin Phillips and I hit the ground running,”, Tommy added.

This proved to be Tommy’s big break and is what he notes as the significant point in his career when the company began to develop and quickly! He has now been on the go for over 35 years, with no plans on easing up anytime soon.

“Even though we do cater for big building projects, we a lot of work with sports pitches, put in farm roadways and provide stone for land drainage But I still carry out the jobs that gave me my start,”, Tommy noted.

Tommy says he knew from his days in school, that driving a lorry was all he wanted to do, a dream he still lives to this day.

“At school, if anyone ever asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would have always said drive a truck”, Tommy explained.

“Once you enjoy what you do, that is the main thing in life. The morning that you are putting on your boots and saying to yourself ‘do I have to go in here today’, it is a sad day.” he added.

Team/Services:

As mentioned above, Graham Sand & Gravel strive to supply the best possible service. Anything to do with sand or gravel is carried out by the team, while they also provide stone for drainage services also.

“Its mostly sand and Gravel and stone. We do anything from house building to sports pitches. We do a lot of work with lunging rings and gallops for horses.”, he said.

“I still do a lot of work in all aspects of the equestrian area”, he continued.

During the busy times of years gone by, Tommy had up on fourteen trucks on the road, though this has been gradually scaled back in recent years to the five he now owns.

“I used to have fourteen trucks on the road…I have five of my own now and I have one haulier driving for me, who has his truck painted my colours…He is actually a nephew of mine.”, he said.

This means there are generally five to six trucks on the road on a day-to-day basis, meaning Graham Sand & Gravel are kept going. Tommy still gets behind the wheel each and every day, while he also spoke of one driver who has been with the team for over 30 years and is a valued member of the team, not to mention the girl in the office.

“I have one driver who has been with me for over 30-years and I have a great girl in the office as well,”, said Tommy.

Fleet:

Graham Sand & Gravel have five of their own rigs currently on the road. The fleet is an almost entirely Volvo fleet with four on the road and one solitary Renault.

This includes a 2008 Volvo FM9 340, a 162 FMX 11metre, a 161 FM 11metre, a 171 Globetrotter (8 wheeler) and a 171 Renault K430. The main truck driven by Tommy is the latest purchase, the 171 Globetrotter.

Truck: Volvo 171 Globetrotter

Details - 8-Wheeler

This truck, driven by Tommy, actually has a special number plate ‘KE727” which Tommy chose to remember his first new truck purchase, a truck which had the same number plate.

“In 2017 I actually bought the truck I drive myself, a Globetrotter. It is an 8-wheeler and I got that to celebrate 35 years in business. I put a globetrotter cab on it and I registered it 171 KE 727,”, he explained.

“I used this KE 727 registration on lots of trucks I bought down through the years and it was the Reg of the first new truck I bought.”, Tommy added.

Also, an avid car and rally driver, the numbers ‘727’ maintain meaning to Tommy, so much so that he used it as his racing car number, experiencing some great success also.

“I race hot rods in Tipperary…I also rallied a lot and did a lot of rally crossing.”, he said.

“I represented Ireland and was on the Ireland team for a couple of years. I won the Irish Rallycross championship in 2009/10 and 2010/11, two years in a row and always using the numbers 727”, Tommy said.

Future:

The plan for 2018 is to keep progressing as things are. Tommy spoke of his loyal customer base, some of which have been with him from the start and he hopes to continue providing them with the valued service they have grown accustomed to.

“I am going t keep as I am for the moment. I still have customers on my books that I have been drawing to since I started. The hope is to keep these customers happy”, he said.

Tommy noted the importance of providing his valued customers, with the service they deserve, something which fills him with immense pride. Always looking to provide his clients with the best he can, Tommy looks to add a personal touch to the service, helping them plan any upcoming jobs.

“It is all about keeping customers happy.”, Tommy noted.

Why he loves haulage:

Tommy Graham and truck driving, like a cheese and wine pairing, go hand in hand. His love for the industry is undeniable as is his dedication to what he does.

“I love getting up in the morning and going driving the truck”, he said.

“Job satisfaction is another one…Making sure that everything is running smooth, keeps me going”, he said.

On the go for almost four decades, Tommy Graham knows everything there is to know about the industry. A true haulier, with no in-between, Tommy Graham is THEE man for sand and gravel in his home county Kildare.

If you would like to contact Tommy or some of the team for sand, gravel and drainage needs, you can do so via their Facebook here

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