It’s the largest family run truck dealership in the UK, and it’s right here in Huddersfield. HISHAAM HUSSAIN talks to Mac’s Trucks founder Alec McDade – who, at 84, is motoring on at the head of the business.

Are you in the market for a curtain sider, crane truck, hydraulic cheese wedge or maybe a tipper grab, skip or hook loader?

Then Mac’s Trucks has you covered. The Ainley Top-based supplier of all-things HGVs, with its 90-strong workforce, is well known among its many fans and followers as THE place for new and used trucks, trailers and accessories – complete with custom bodywork and paint on demand.

The firm’s reputation has grown steadily since its foundations in the early 1970s, with one man at the helm during all this time.

Sitting down with managing director – and great grandfather – Alec McDade, 84, atop his empire at Alexandra Park, Crosland Road, it is clear to see how his vision of quality products and great customer service took Mac’s to the top and kept it there.

Brighouse-based Alec’s journey into the world of lorries started at a young age. He remembers being allowed to skip school, to help his father to help pack furniture into the back of the trucks for delivery, when some of the usual porters were absent.

 “The things you are exposed to are what you get to learn about,” he says. It was hard graft – lugging heavy tables and chairs – that led to a keen work ethic. “Who said life was easy?” he jokes.  

By his mid 20s, Alec was ready to branch out from manual labour, roll down his sleeves, leave his father’s company, and become a full-time salesman.

He credits this move with helping him to master the art of communication that made customer service one of Mac’s Trucks’ great strengths.

Alec says: “I learned how to approach people, how to get them to say yes, because ‘no’ is a nasty word. To be successful, you have to push, push, push.”

While this might seem aggressive, Alec has found that persistence is key, whatever the question, possibility, or problem in hand – as well as reflecting on each job done. Alec says: “To keep succeeding, you must always analyse!”

He admits he loves to pop downstairs from his office to casually listen in at pick-up time, enjoying customers’ effusive comments and seeing their faces light up at the sight of their shiny new vehicle.

A total of 200 gleaming trucks are neatly parked up on site at any one time, and many more are undergoing building processes in the workshops, for customers all over the UK, as far afield as Shetland.

However, Alec is modest about his achievements. He says: “As a businessman, you do not meet true success. The finish line moves every time you inch closer to it.”

This hunger to progress put Mac’s at the forefront of innovation in the truck modification world. The first tree saw system to be attached to a truck rig was a particular triumph, as well as a patent front-leg system to allow crane trucks to lift a full 360 degrees around the vehicle.

Of course, Alec is supported by a loyal team. Technical director, Andy Hall, explains: “We recognise deficiencies in the transport industry, create unique solutions, then re-evaluate, and improve. I have created a multitude of products that are not available anywhere else in the world.”

Lewis Ramsden, marketing manager, is another key cog in the Mac’s machine. “The product that we supply has to make our customer money, so it must be the best,” he reasons.

Those customers range from small, one-person operations to big businesses like Ainscough crane hire and Balfour Beatty.

Together, the company is looking forward to the next 50, or indeed 100, years in business – looking back to long-established standards, and forward to new and more ambitious ones.

While Alec has no plans to retire, in the longer term, his son Adrian and grandson Alexander are set to help carry the torch. Alec says: “Adrian is ‘the man’ and Alexander is the best salesman here, who knows more about trucks than I do. It will be tough to let go, though, it’s etched into my blood.”

Alec continued: “The push, the shove, the pressure you put yourself under so others can achieve more, that’s my gift to Mac’s,” though he jokes: “I think I will drop dead here one day.”