Sandra McIntosh, Administration Assistant, Aberdeen & Northern Marts

Why did you choose ANM Group?
My roots are firmly planted in this industry; my father’s farm (cattle and arable) was right next to Alford mart and I attended the sales regularly with him whilst growing up.  My grandparents also had a farm (Little Endovie) next us and on my mother’s side, her parents were owners of the farm at Reekie, Bridge of Alford. 
I applied for the position at the age of 16 through our careers adviser at Alford Academy.  I was at the mart for the pony sale one day and returned home to a call asking for me to come in for an interview with the Accountant at Kittybrewster mart the next day.  After my interview I went to central mart for a typing test on an electric typewriter – and I remember thinking it was all very high-tech compared to what we had at the school.  I was then offered my first job and started on the 11th April 1977 as Office Junior at the central mart and was also allowed some time off work to go back to school to sit my exams.
How long have you worked at the ANM Group?
In December 2015, I was delighted to be recognised for 30 years’ long-standing service at our recent Director’s lunch where I was presented with a beautiful engraved watch.  Starting as an Office Junior in 1977, I was then promoted to Head Typist.  In October 1987, I left to have my first baby and returned in 1990 to the new Thainstone Centre building for a few months to help with filing duties and catalogues before having my second baby.  I returned in a permanent part-time role in 1995 as Print Room Assistant working on the regular sales catalogues and stock back-up.  In 1997, there was a restructure and I moved through to the main mart office helping the office manager with general office work, clerking at our regular auctions and gradually over the years became involved in computerised clerking in the rings.
What projects do you/will you work on?
I have worked in the main mart office since 1997; my main duties include inputting the data for the Thursday cast cow and prime cattle sales and then generate the sales reports.  On a Friday, I check the sheep prices and movements as well as assist in the office – dealing with customers with queries at the main desk or over the phone.  I have also enjoyed working at farm roup’s, networking at the Turriff Show as well as travelling to our Centre in Caithness for livestock sales and special events.
For our plant, machinery and equipment sales which happen eight times a year, I actively get involved in booking in and numbering the lots and entering the details into the LISA system.  It really is a team effort to get the information entered into the system, print sales rolls and check the information for the sale.  At our twice-weekly Thainstone Specialist Auction vehicle sales, I am involved in the clerking or helping to cashier.
I especially enjoy working as a team on projects such as the Spring Show, the Young Farmer’s Overwintering Competition, the Spectacular and the Christmas Classic. 
What skills do you need?
Good communications skills and an approachable personality are essential to work with our customers and the team of staff to ensure everything runs effectively and on time at Thainstone and at Caithness Livestock Centre.  Attention to detail and being alert whilst clerking at the ring-side is so important to ensure all the correct information is relayed back to the office for invoicing and payment purposes as well as sales reports.  ANM Group has always aimed to be innovative and ahead of its time in terms of technology and over the years I have seen several systems implemented to record sales data and training given on these. 

What are your long-term plans?
As technology is progressing, I am keen to take advantage of this and communicate to our customers more through email and our websites.  Forms and correspondence for events could be issued more via these channels, although it is still imperative to provide the personal touch with face-to-face contact on sale days.    I also plan to continue to enjoy my role at the Group for many years to come!
What would you say to someone looking to join ANM Group?
It is a job in which you have to be prepared to work very hard and not be afraid to try new things.  Everyone really mucks in to get things done.  
What about hobbies/interests?
My children and grandchildren are really my hobby, I love spending quality time with family – even though it can be a mad house at times!  If I get a spare minute I like to cross-stitch and knit and am currently working on a new cardigan for myself to keep me warm whilst clerking in the rings.
I also like to take advantage of the social events organised through the Group – I recently attended the Christmas party in the Thainstone Exchange alongside 40 colleagues and am looking forward again to this year’s ten-pin bowling and Perth races.  As I sat on the Charity Committee which raised £80,000 for CLAN last year, we were also invited to attend the CLAN Christmas Cracker.