A day in the life: Lee Papper
Lee’s busy coming up with the right solutions
CEO Lee Papper founded TLM in 2011 and the business is going from strength to strength – see the Forecourt Trader feature here.
I founded TLM Group Technology in 2011, having worked in the forecourt industry for nearly 20 years for various companies such as LSL, Gilbarco and Torex, starting my career as a trainee and working my way up to service engineer. I wanted to start my own company because I felt that there was a gap in the market for a pump maintenance business that focussed on high quality service and expertise. I started my own company in 2005 (Flexiline), which was later sold to Torex. Since 2011 TLM has come on leaps and bounds – sometimes I can’t believe how far we have come! The world class team I have working for me is the reason we are where we are today – and the reason that 2017 is going to be an even bigger and better year for us than 2016 was.
2016 was a very exciting year for TLM – we became Oracle Gold Partners, launched our own head office software, opened our UK Support Hub, and expanded massively – tripling our headcount in the space of a year! This rapid expansion obviously had its challenges, but I knew my team of Directors were up to the job. Transforming a small pump maintenance business into one of the UK’s leading technology companies in the forecourt & convenience sector is one of my proudest achievements; my vision when I started TLM was to be able to offer an end to end set of solutions to the convenience and fuel retailer, from forecourt to head office; that is what it is all about for me and my team.
A typical day most likely sees me in my office at our head office in Bedford, where my French Bulldog puppies Sunny and Otis also spend most days. From here I can keep in touch with my wider team via phone and email, but I also try and get down to our offices in Cranleigh and Exeter regularly as well. As CEO no two days are the same for me, there’s always something for me to turn my hand to, from negotiating partnerships, deciding on branding or getting on a plane for a meeting, it is never boring! The partnerships that we have established over the last 18 months or so in particular have contributed to TLM’s continued growth; from Oracle and Microsoft to HP and ELO, to exclusive distribution agreements with companies such as VLight, Datamax and Price Advantage, every relationship we build is another step towards providing a fully integrated system of solutions for our customers.
2017 has already got off to a great start for TLM, with convenience and fuel retailers still signing up daily with us for support of their EPOS and back office systems, and our forecourt maintenance team is going from strength to strength. We are looking forward to an exciting calendar of industry events this year, including the continuation of our own customer event series which went down very well last year. At TLM we see communication with our customers as a top priority, especially to alleviate the confusion surrounding the support situation for retailers running the Oracle convenience and fuel systems over the last year or so. The highlight of the 2017 for me though will undoubtedly be the National Convenience Show and Forecourt Show at the NEC in the spring, where we will have our biggest ever stand, and plan to launch our exciting brand new solution for the convenience and fuel sector – watch this space!
Outside of work I am the proud father of my two lovely teenage daughters; I enjoy fishing, particularly at my lake in France, I am a keen Tottenham Hotspur supporter, and have recently taken up badminton. I am also a huge fan of The Who, and travel all over the world to see them. I believe in keeping a healthy work-life balance, and keeping my feet on the ground – no matter how successful TLM becomes I will always be thankful for everything I have.
Job title: CEO
Career history: 20+ years working in the forecourt industry, founded TLM in 2011
Greatest achievement: Assembling the team that I now have to take it to the next level
Tips for business success: Work hard and take risks
Most likely to say: ‘Let’s go for it’
Least likely to say: ‘I’m not sure…’
Other interests: Carp fishing – owns a fishing lake in France
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