I find myself here writing this Blog, slightly uncomfortable with the premise of talking about myself.
After recently celebrating our tenth anniversary I have had a few friendly nudges from the team to share some anecdotes.
So here goes…
I have always had a desire to have my own business. I am not one hundred percent sure as to why. When I was growing up my father was self-employed, and I watched him refurbish houses and even helped him dig footings when I was small.
Dad was very entrepreneurial, and his work pattern was flexible. Perhaps it was this example that sewed the seed?
Back in 2011 myself and my colleague Tony were presented with an opportunity by Terry Forster to take on a lease of a tool-shop integral to a rubber moulding company.
Based in Petersfield the business consisted of two vertical machining centres and three Bridgeport interact machines. It had approximately 1600 square foot of workshop at its disposal.
After some careful consideration, Tony and I took ownership in August 2011 and embarked on an initial 18 month learning curve of long weeks with little rest. These consisted of six-days in the workshop filled with 65 hours of graft until our first employee Bob Edwards came onboard.
After two years we were joined by Neil Mercer and we now had two full-time Tool Makers sharing the workload.
Back then I drove a 2009 BMW 318D m-sport which needed to be Diesel as it was a twenty-five mile commute each way. Tony used the works van to travel up from Lee-on-Solent. (The van is still going strong to this day with around two hundred thousand miles on the clock!)
We moved to our current site in Fareham in November 2015 as we had outgrown our first base.
I enjoy the buzz of new opportunities so relished the added pressure, but I am always considered and cautious. I prefer measured incremental steps over big gambles, so our new unit was a reasonable step up and offered us tangible space for growth.
Mike Trim joined us as Foreman in 2016 and is a real asset to our team. He now oversees two 5-axis mills, eight 3-axis mills, turning and tool-making facilities with full 3D CAD Design and programming software.
We have seen steady growth and in recent years I have been joined in the office by Ryan and Steve who share the account management and design pressures. COVID stalled our progress in 2020 but we are keen to regain momentum and we celebrated our ten-year anniversary this summer.
Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to say goodbye to Cath who had been a wonderful support in the office for many years.
We now have a team of eleven tool makers and engineers with a common passion for Engineering and I am fortunate to have a group of trustworthy and skilled people around me.
I was recently asked what the ‘Perfect day at work would look like for me’.
I enjoy an early start with a nice cup of tea to hand. I’d rather be designing solutions than quoting or ploughing through admin. But these things must be done.
I relish the relative freedom that comes with leading a business although I still cannot comfortably label myself the Managing Director. I enjoy remaining hands-on and in the thick of the day-to-day challenges that we all face together ….. as a team!
A team built on mutual respect and trust over the last decade and keen to move forward.
Thank you for your interest in this my first Blog and of course for the support and business since 2011.
I have replaced the BMW but I am still mindful of my commute. These days I am driving an Electric vehicle, a sporty Peugeot 208 (It’s a GT of course!!)
Who knows what we will be machining or what I will be driving in ten years?