Business of the Year sponsored by
Surprises in Disposables UK store on a night for celebration IT’S the biggest night of the year for Huddersfield’s vibrant business community. Leading figures from trade and industry in the region will join the winners to celebrate their successes at the 2012 Examiner Business Awards tomorrow at the John Smith’s Stadium.. The winners have been chosen by a panel of judges from scores of high-quality entries – with trophies being awarded for outstanding achievements in 11 categories covering areas such as international trade, the environment, innovation and enterprise. There are also categories for new businesses, established firms, SMEs, employers, companies doing sterling things in their communities, up-and-coming young business people and businesses making a special effort to back their home town. The awards are sponsored by law firm Chadwick Lawrence, which also sponsors the night’s top prize, the Chadwick Lawrence Business Person of the Year Award. That award goes to a figure in the local business community who combines outstanding skills as an entrepreneur and innovator with sterling work to benefit the local community. The identity of the recipient will be a closely guarded secret – until the envelope is opened! Examiner editor Roy Wright said: “The award nominees range from small start-ups and medium-sized companies to large organisations with national and international reputations. “They also come from a wide variety of sectors, including manufacturing, property, retailing, transport, leisure and hospitality, business services, design and food production. “The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of the quality of entries. In choosing the winners, they have considered the contenders against key criteria, including the contribution they are making to their local communities, environmental performance, their financial performance, their commitment to the workforce and their track record on job creation and growth.” The awards night – hosted by BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration – has again proved popular, with all tables sold out several weeks ago. A capacity audience will also hear from keynote speaker Gerald Ratner. Event programme sponsor Pearson Funeral Service also added its congratulations to the nominated companies and individuals. A spokesman for the firm said: “Pearson Funeral Service is a local family run business now in its 92nd year. “Owned by Clive and Leanne Pearson, our business success relies on our highly trained and committed staff who are ambassadors for our company. “We are proud to support the Examiner Business Awards and wish everyone the best of luck.”
A MELTHAM company really cleaned up at the Olympics. Washroom products firm Disposables UK was chosen as supplier of hand towels, toilet tissues and soaps to the London Olympics and Paralympic Games. Account manager Rosie O’Kelly attended the first meeting with customer Concept Janitorial Products in early 2010 and after a long and arduous tender process Disposables UK was awarded the prestigious contract in spring, 2011. The first batch of the company’s Bay West dispensers was fitted in the velodrome in August, 2011. In total, more than 13,500 dispensers were fitted at the Olympic venues. Disposables UK also won the contract to fit 5,000 portable buildings around the Olympic Village. During the duration of the Olympics and the Paralympics, the firm shipped in 7,500 cases of product, about 220,000 toilet rolls and 10,000 cartridges of soap. Disposables UK was formed in 1987 by Trevor Storer, who was chairman of the group until his death in 2010. His wife, Diane, is now company chairman backed by a board of directors. The company was originally set up to sell
and promote an imported range of toilet rolls, hand towels and wipes from France before cutting all ties with the French and investing in equipment to allow UK Disposables to operate entirely independently. Originally based in Milnsbridge and working from an office and 3,000sq ft of shared warehousing, the company expanded into an 11,000sq ft unit in 1989 before finding its current home at Meltham in 1993. The headquarters site has 22,000sq ft of manufacturing space and 6,000sq ft of offices with further sites in Milnsbridge and Meltham Mills. The firm now has 92 employees. Managing director David Burkill said: “Our company ethos has been based on the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of Trevor Storer, our late chairman and company founder, which has enabled us to punch above our weight in a very competitive market dominated by three major multinational players.” Along with consultant engineer Matt Roebuck, the company has built innovative machines from scratch. Matt has also designed and modified existing machinery to manufacture specialist products normally
requiring bespoke machinery costing millions to meet market needs and exacting quality requirements. Said David: “Every year, our profits have been re-invested in the business. We’ve run a number of Manufacturing Advisory Service projects to educate and improve our staff and procedures. Earlier in the year, we scooped an MAS Works award which formally recognises our achievements as a manufacturing company.” More recently, the firm placed an order of a £1.7m automatic production line which will enable it to manufacture market leading, luxury products and still a march on many of its rivals. This autumn also sees the launch of a new range of non-woven wipes. Next year will see the company moving to new premises – across the road to the former David Brown Tractors site at Meltham Mills – to bring its operations under one roof. Mr Burkill said: “This 140,000sq ft site will reduce costs and increase our operational efficiency by reducing handling and improving communications. The integration of all departments in one site will have a positive effect on communications and result in efficient and slicker operations across the organisation.”
phone numbers and had confusing websites offering all things to all people. “The goal was to make online shopping simpler with knowledgeable people at the end of the phone. This soon expanded into opening a sales counter for collections and then new showrooms in Huddersfield and the East Midlands.” The company now operates brands specialising in laptops, kitchen appliances, TVs, air conditioners, servers and mother and baby products. Buy It Direct is also a key supplier to all insurance validators in the UK, previously a channel dominated by Comet and Curry’s. Said Mark: “Our key strategy has been to create niche specialist brands backed up with superb sales and customer service, demonstrating our passion and commitment to each category. By specialising, we can offer value to our customers that the big retailers can’t.” The company offers next-day delivery on all stocked goods, including large appliances which it will deliver, unpack and install as well as take away old goods for recycling.
Buy It Direct has also invested in its IT systems, but makes the shopping experience more personal by keeping in touch with customers after they’ve placed the order. The company has achieved several significant milestones – being named in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for top private companies three years running and appointing ex-Comet director Toby Lousada to the board as a non-executive director. Mr Glynne works with Kirklees Council and sits on the advisory board at Huddersfield University. The company is also backing the Huddersfield – Place to Make It campaign. It gives a percentage of profits to a range of charities each year and frequently holds fundraising events at its offices. Said Mark: “We’ve got hugely ambitious growth targets which we aim to achieve by expanding into new channels and product categories, creating partnerships with new retailers and expanding into central Europe.”
Buy It Direct ONLINE retailer Buy it Direct has enjoyed phenomenal growth since it was formed 12 years ago. Starting from a small shop in Fartown in 2000, the company has grown from a £100,000 a year business employing one part-time taxi-driver/computer technician to a £100m enterprise with more than 160 staff. The company now runs seven niche brands, two high-end retail showrooms and managed “white label” websites for Debenhams, Bhs and Matalan. Buy It Direct, based at Trident Business Park, Leeds Road, Deighton, is now the UK’s largest multi-channel independent e-tailer of electricals and baby products. It has been profitable and cash generative every year since it was launched, has no borrowings and is still 100% owned by managing director Nick Glynne. Marketing manager Mark Kelly said: “The original concept was to build a focused brand around laptops. It was born out of frustration with buying products online as all web companies selling electrical products did not provide
Principle Group A COMPANY celebrating 25 years in business is bidding for success in the awards. Principle Group, based at Tandem Industrial Estate, Waterloo, was formed in 1987 in a rented office in an old textile mill in Scissett. At the time, chairman Richard Butterfield offered a management service for changing signage on commercial buildings – working alongside leading brand design agencies and helping them translate two dimensional concepts into three dimensional products. Now the group employs 185 people and occupies purpose-built facilities in Huddersfield to offer a broad range of consulting, project management, production and implementation services to some of the world’s most prestigious organisations in a variety of sectors. The group has expanded over the years to include offices in Leeds, Northampton
and Redditch in the UK and with sites in the Knoxville, USA; Munich, San Paolo, Shanghai and in France. Next year, sees the opening of a new office in India. Principle Group has carried out work for clients including Barclays Bank, HSBC, steel company ArcelorMittal, Xerox, Wembley Stadium, National Air Traffic Control Centres and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The group’s UK finance director, Victoria Woodings, said: “As a company, Principle are committed to our people, striving to build an ever more efficient, positive and well-led organisation that develops skills, knowledge, understanding and careers for all. “The group takes pride in employing passionate people from Kirklees and the surrounding areas and have also recruited from the University of Huddersfield.” She said: “The group works with clients who are looking for achieve consistency of brand standards across a global network of
sites.” Services provided by the group include global brand implementation; graphic production and installation of signs; temporary event branding; contract fit-out and refurbishment of offices, automotive showrooms and banks; and facilities maintenance. Said Ms Woodings: “The group has grown exceptionally over the last 25 years and we have never felt the need to move our headquarters to a larger city. We are proud of our heritage, our roots in Huddersfield and the quality and talent of our local teams.” The group is also supporting charity. This year, its chosen charity is the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice – with events including a sponsored parachute jump, quizzes and Forget Me Not Friday at the end of every month.
SME of the Year sponsored by Balance Accountants WHO says accountancy has to be boring? Balance Accountants is changing perceptions about the industry after projecting itself as a dynamic, progressive firm, says director Ashley Barrowclough. He said: “We are a small Huddersfield firm of accountants punching well above our weight and we have created quite a stir in the accountancy profession on a national level.” The company, which employs 18 people and has offices at Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, has been shortlisted for a number of national accountancy awards this year – and had a whole chapter devoted to the business in the recently-published book, The UK’s Best Accountancy Practices. Balance was also invited to present on-stage at the National Accountants Conference in Birmingham and at a recent quarterly meeting of the National Accountants Club in Manchester. It also took to the stage at the AVN Accountants Masterclass in Nottingham. The firm is regularly contacted by accountancy firms around the country for advice on running their business. Said Ashley: “Balance has managed to put itself apart from the majority of other accountancy practices in the country by creating an exciting,
vibrant brand more akin to modern corporate business than traditional accountants. “The brand has been pushed forwards and supported by a distinctive business strategy focusing on four elements – customer care, teamwork, added value services and systemisation of the business. “The whole team has been involved in developing the business strategy and continues to be involved in its implementation and further development. “A strategic decision was taken to concentrate on working with businesses who are looking to grow. “As well as having a similar culture to us, these growing businesses have a need for our added value services which has enabled us to increase our average size, which in turn has enabled us to significantly increase our profits while keeping turnover constant.” Said Mr Barrowclough, “By following a courageous and well-defined business strategy, Balance Accountants has created an accountancy practice that is modern, vibrant and exciting; that is held in high regard in its marketplace and which is poised to be even more successful in the near future.”
■ NUMBER CRUNCHING: Ashley Barrowclough, of Balance Accountants
PC Specialists Ltd A BROCKHOLES company is set for a move to new premises after enjoying soaraway success. PC Specialists Ltd provides a wide range of IT services to businesses and the education sector. Customers include many of the UK’s leading universities as well as schools and colleges nationwide. The business, which employs 32 people, also supplies equipment to small firms of all kinds – from a single computer upwards. Business-to-business is an expanding market for the company – with the proportion of B2B deals having doubled since 2009. PC Specialists is a Microsoft Silver OEM Hardware Partner and a Platinum Intel Technology Provider. It keeps close links with manufacturers and distributors to ensure the firm is kept informed about product changes. One such close relationship, with Clevo, a leading manufacturers of quality laptop chassis, has led to a sizeable increase in
Towndoor Ltd A PROPERTY development and rental company is providing space for firms to flourish. Towndoor Ltd, based at Meltham Mills, focuses on commercial and industrial workspace – with a property portfolio comprising more than 30 acres of land, 77 office, warehouse and workshop units together accounting for in excess of 1m sq ft of floorspace. The privately-owned and family-run company was founded by Stuart Bamforth in 1988. It was the Bamforth group’s dismantling division that was first invited to Meltham to remove the former David Brown Tractors assembly plant at Meltham Mills for then owner J I Case Ltd. Case was looking to dispose of parts of the factory, where it employed 4,000 people. Half of the factory was sold to Bamforth in the name of Towndoor Ltd – and within four years the huge site had been developed into an industrial estate fully occupied by 38 individual companies together providing 400 jobs. A second site in Netherton was purchased from Allied Brewers, which became known as Crosland Road Industrial Estate. The site was quickly renovated and fully let to nine companies. In 1999, Towndoor bought an area of land at
laptop sales. From January last year, PC Specialists has been importing from Clevo directly and in bulk – increasing the range available and reducing cost. The firm launched a trade website in 2011 to sell laptops to re-sellers who buy fully-built machines or chassis and parts. An ever-increasing list of customers now includes a large number of European accounts. Finance manager Judy O’Brien said: “We currently occupy five units at Brockholes Business Park. In order to expand the business, the company need to relocate to new purpose-build premises. “The new premises will benefit us in several ways – by providing more space to store stock and enabling greater economies of scale when importing; by reducing costs through increased efficiencies and a well-designed production facility; and by increasing the confidence of businesses looking to source a professional company from which
the end of Bent Ley Lane, Meltham, where four units were built over the course of nine years. Bent Ley Industrial Estate was completed in 2008 and fully let. Towndoor has continued to develop and build new premises across West Yorkshire for re-sale. It has also submitted plans for a £2m four-acre development at Meltham Mills while its flagship estate now offers a mix of original buildings and new units with units ranging from 600 to 50,000sq ft and including warehouses, manufacturing space, office suites, lock-ups, garages and yards. Award winning tenants at its sites include horse trailer firm Equi-Trek Ltd, Fisher Plastics, Bolling Coffee and Snickers Workwear – as well as a cake maker and a Ferrari dealership. Operations director Dan Bamforth said: “During 2012, a programme of upgrades to properties exceeding £150,000 was initiated, ensuring that each and every property is worthy of a place in our unrivalled portfolio. “State-of-the-art aluminium floor-to-ceiling windows were installed by our tenant Clear View Bi-Folding. Other works throughout our portfolio consist of new palisade railings and gates, also supplied by our own JTD Building Supplies and Peter Myers – highlighting a commitment to supporting our tenants.”
to purchase their computer requirements. “Once relocated, the business will have the opportunity to research and develop new solutions. “The main strategy will be to use the new
premises to further expand into the business and education markets because these currently make up a smaller proportion of the business – yet yield huge expansion potential for the company.”
Commercial unit and industrial workspace rental specialist within the Huddersfield area Exceptional portfolio across 4 estates, Towndoor has over 70 properties and in excess of 1,000,000 sq. ft. of floor space. Units range from 600 sq. ft. ‘lock up’s’ to 45,000 sq. ft. warehouses and luxury office suites. UNITS TO LET - please contact us for details and to register your interest.
Tel: 01484 850015 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.towndoor.co.uk
Employer of the Year sponsored by Kirkwood Hospice
■ IN STORE: Kirkwood Hospice ensures thorough training and support for employees – such as the new team at the charity’s latest store in Marsh. Shop managers Julieanne Fisher and Lee Noble are seen with chairman of trustees John Spain cutting the ribbon
DEVELOPING all staff and volunteers to their full potential is the aim for bosses at Kirkwood Hospice. The hospice, which serves the people of Kirklees with palliative and end-of-life care, has more than 100 staff members and more than 700 volunteers. Personnel range from clinical experts to retail staff. All staff work through a Knowledge and Skills Framework, an initiative from the NHS which identifies common themes for staff to be able to demonstrate progress in their development year-on-year. This is linked to a yearly appraisal where core themes are discussed, any gaps in knowledge identified and a training plan agreed. All new staff are required to
attend an induction programme during the first month of their employment. Training is also given to the hospice’s retail team. Kirkwood has 17 shops and over the past year their turnover has been £1.6m – accounting for some 33% of the annual £4m that is required to run the hospice. Shop managers took part in a team building programme, which included an away-day featuring games and challenges designed to show the importance of teamwork, co-operation and trust to achieve success in communication, organisation, goals and strategic planning. . Hospice quality and education manager Anne Goodlad said: “The away-day now forms the basis for changing the format of
managers’ meetings which will have small bite-sized education sections. The day has also been run for a third time for all deputy managers and assistants in the shops.” She added: “Following the away-days, shop managers have identified where certain parts of the training have helped them in areas of their work and how they had worked through processes as a result.” The hospice also uses its skills to educate district nurses and care home staff in a joint venture with Locala and Kirklees Learning and Development. Hospice staff have developed a bereavement course for teachers, external staff and volunteers and an advanced communication course for professionals, including GPs.
Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse MANAGERS at the Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse recognise the crucial role played by its employees. General manager Louise Dodd said: “The challenge of retaining guests as well as attracting new ones became more important than ever during the last year with both leisure and business travellers having to tighten their purse strings as the recession bit. “Our employees are crucial to helping us do this.” She said: “We work hard to attract and recruit appropriate staff and then we have a structured 12-week orientation programme which shows them what Holiday Inn as a brand is like. “We believe that our staff are the one thing that can set us aside from the competition. We use the guests’ own feedback – verbally, through an online questionnaire and most importantly by
return visits and recommendations.” Despite the downturn, the hotel recruited for six part-time vacancies this year. With statistics showing worker loyalty is decreasing, the Holiday Inn can boast 41% of its staff with five or more years service against the UK average of 24% – while its longest-serving employee has notched up 37 years with the company. Personal development and training plans are undertaken by staff in consultation with line managers with mid-year and end-of-year reviews. NVQs are taught in-house while job-swaps and cross-departmental training is offered regularly. Staff are thanked and rewarded for their loyalty and long service at celebratory lunches held every month and those with more than 10 years service also celebrate annually at regional level. Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year Awards
are also held while daily employee successes are recognised by cards which can be redeemed for prizes of the employees’ choice. There are special parties for staff and their families at Christmas, Easter and Hallowe’en. Staff get ready for the weekends with a “Filling Friday” breakfast and staff are invited to watch football tournaments on the big screen in the bar lounge. Celebrate Service Week is held twice a year with treats such as coffee and bacon rolls, a visit from the ice cream van, afternoon tea and lottery scratch cards for each employee. Staff are offered complimentary membership of the health and fitness facilities. The hotel has also improved the results of its annual employee survey in areas including pay, employee engagement, the quality of food and drinks in the employee
cafe and staff opinions of the management team. Employees are encouraged to “be themselves” and allow their personalities, quirks and diversity to shine through. Staff at the hotel have been involved with several community projects, including cleaning the local canal, hosting a Diamond Jubilee party at nearby Clifton village and raising money for causes such as Overgate Hospice, the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and Hollybank School. Said Louise: “We all know that happy employees equal a more productive workforce and a happier workplace. The way to achieve this is to make them a part of what you do. Make them feel at home, allow them to be themselves and allow them to offer their opinions and ideas. “We are achieving this at Holiday Inn and we are proud of the work we do on a daily basis.”
■ GAINING SKILLS: Employees are encouraged to take on extra responsibilities, says Kelly Blagbrough, of Britannia Rescue
A COMPANY helping employees steer a career path through the organisation is bidding for success in the awards. Britannia Rescue, part of the LV= insurance group, is the UK’s fourth largest road rescue operator in the UK. It employs 130 people at its Folly Hall Mills office, where staff receive about 110,000 calls each quarter. The company has a “role progression” scheme that acknowledges the skills and abilities of each team member. As a result of this, 17% of staff were promoted or moved into new roles in the first half of this year. Management co-ordinator Kelly Blagbrough said: “We believe in giving people the opportunity to take on responsibilities outside their role which will help them to develop or gain additional skills. “We currently have 124 ‘add-on’ roles in place which employees
can apply to be involved with. These extra roles are in addition to their core role, but form part of their performance development plan (PDP) so that they get support and recognition for the work they do.” Each employee’s PDP outlines targets for the year and is reviewed with the line manager each month. The firm’s annual bonus scheme is based on how employees have delivered against their targets – and can be up to 30% of salary. Employees are recognised for their hard work or for going the extra mile through an in-house My Recognition system allowing employees to send e-cards to each other to recognise a specific piece of work or a great performance. All the My Recognition nominations are reviewed quarterly and the top three receive trophies and
certificates as well as a monetary credit. A similar scheme runs at group level. In addition, the HR team runs an employee award scheme to pick out the best nominations and awards from the whole LV= business with the winners getting £500 credited to their My Recognition account and lots of promotion around the business. Britannia Rescue has a dedicated training team of three based in Huddersfield supported by five line trainers from the call centre teams. So far they have delivered more than 5,300 hours of training in addition to 287 hours provided centrally and 21 hours of self-study learning through online learning tools. The company operates a Wellbeing Programme to look after the psychological, physical and social welfare of its staff. It
provides flexible working and support for families with healthcare benefits, term-time only working, childcare vouchers, career breaks, home working and a pension scheme. It also runs a company-wide, anonymous and independently run staff survey designed to highlight how employees feel about the company and how it is run – and identify areas for improvement. The 2011 survey showed consistently high satisfaction rates. Living up to the motto of Work Hard, Play Hard, the company holds regular fund days, employee social events and bi-annual parties – a policy reflected in its low absence and turnover staff turnover levels. “People are not only committed to their jobs, but happy to be here,” said Kelly.
International Business of the Year sponsored by Extract Technology identify the opportunities for growth. The research led to the development of new products and targeting sales to Europe and South East Asia. As a result of the initiative, Extract set itself a goal of 50% growth in sales of isolator products to the European market. Not only was the target achieved by the end of 2011, the company had achieved a four-fold increase – equivalent to 34% of the company’s overall turnover. Overall, the initiative delivered a three-fold increase in export sales throughout 2011 – with isolator sales of £3m, an increase of £2.6m from 2009. Extract’s initiative to boost sales to South East Asia set a target of 10% growth and achieved a 22% return throughout 2011. To support its increased product offering, Extract undertook a
A COMPANY supplying containment systems for the pharmaceutical, healthcare, biotech and chemical sectors is driving up revenues from export sales. Extract Technology, which employs 65 people at Bradley Junction Industrial Estate, embarked on a major initiative to boost its overseas sales still further in the face of tough global markets and those in the UK and Ireland. The company recognised the need to diversity its product portfolio and strengthen its sales focus in key geographical areas. It would also need to review how it would overcome competition and particularly product cost as it expanded its export business. The starting point for developing the strategy was discussions with the sales and marketing teams to
■ STRATEGIC: Extract Technology’s general manager, Alan Wainwright
review of its sales support activities – specifically looking at its dedicated sales engineers and existing agents with a view to developing new sales relationships. This resulted in Extract releasing some existing agents and investing in others. The company also appointed a Singapore-based employee to oversee sales in South East Asia and opened a sales office in Singapore. The firm backed up its export drive with promotional newsletters, e-mailshots and commitments to exhibitions and seminars. The company attended key exhibitions, including ones in Sweden, the Netherlands and Singapore. With a view to costs to the end-user, Extract invested in lean manufacturing techniques, improved work process flow, a
change in shop layouts and investment in staff training. General manager Alan Wainwright said: “Throughout the process, local competition within the European market has been strong. Our approach has been to have good people on the ground who can discuss face-to-face the benefits of buying a product from Extract Technology. “Aligned to this are the improvements in our business and manufacturing processes to make our products more competitive whilst still offering the best quality product and maintaining our strong brand name.” He added: “There has been great success to date in both developing new products and expanding into new geographical territories, resulting in a stronger business throughout.”
importance of having well-educated multi-skilled young people. “They are aware that good teaching involves stimulating students’ creativity and curiosity and teaching them the knowledge and skills needed to turn creativity into functional ‘real-life’ products.”
Denford worked closely with Kazakhstan government bodies to provide equipment to focus on the study of electronics, computer-aided design and manufacture and robotics. It has equipped the first two schools with the design and manufacture equipment and is supporting eight further institutions.
■ NEW MARKETS: Simon Moorhouse, managing director of Denford Ltd
SCHOOLS and colleges across the world are being supplied with specialist equipment by a Brighouse manufacturing firm. Denford Ltd, based at Armytage Road, has more than 50 years of successful global trading – exporting to more than 80 countries and developing new markets in Australia, Brunei, Morocco, Lithuania, Syria, Jordan and Kazakhstan. Denford, which employs 25 people, supplies products such as multimedia software for teaching the principles of design and manufacture through to computer-controlled milling machines, lathes, routers, prototyping and laser cutting machines to teach complex engineering concepts and manufacturing techniques. The company is also founder and sponsor of F1 in Schools – the world’s biggest science, technology, engineering and maths-based education project. It operates in more than 40 countries with 20m students engaged. F1 in Schools is
THE signs are all positive for an international brand implementation company based in Huddersfield. Principle Group, which celebrated 25 years in business this year, offers a broad range of consulting, project management, production and implementation services to some of the world’s most prestigious organisations. The group, which has its headquarters at Waterloo, has expanded over the years to open companies in the USA, France, Germany, China and Brazil and works for major names including Barclays, HSBC, Accenture, Xerox and ArcelorMittal. Next year will see the opening of a new office in India. The group delivers services to
clients in more than 60 countries – directly employing 185 people, 82 of them based in the Huddersfield office. Among its notable successes, Principle Group has installed signs, interiors and retail displays in Barclays branches at more than 250 sites worldwide and has undertaken similar projects for HSBC at some 300 locations globally. It carried out interior and exterior rebranding at 1,200 locations in 52 countries for ArcelorMittal – all in just 18 months. And it provided signs and liveries for industrial conglomerate GE in more than 30 countries. Principle Group has provided secure interiors and blast protection to British embassy buildings across four continents and has a three-year
sponsored by global giants, including Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren and Mercedes. It also has high-profile patrons, including Ross Brawn, team principal for Mercedes AMG and Adrian Newey, chief technical officer for Red Bull Racing. Denford managing director Simon Moorhouse said: “Traditionally, Denford’s export activities have been focused on countries such as India, Pakistan and South East Asia where students continue to value careers in engineering and manufacturing industries. “However, in recent times, Denford has focused on a number of new markets such as Australia and the Middle East and emerging markets where education is seen as a priority such as Brunei, Morocco, Lithuania, Nigeria, Syria, Jordan and former Eastern Bloc countries like Kazakhstan.” He said: “Due to the country’s richness of natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals, Kazakhstan recognises the
retainer from Accenture for all internal brand management across all its offices in 120 countries. It has carried out brand implementation management for Xerox in 30 countries and rebranded 350 sites in 52 countries – all in 10 months – for TE Connectivity. UK finance director Victoria Woodings commented: “Installing a high rise sign in Shanghai for a global company such as Barclays Bank Plc requires some strict planning in order to support both the company and the customer. “Principal Group works with clients who are looking to achieve consistency of brand standards across a global network of sites.”
www.stottscoaches.co.uk Tel: 01484 460463
Young Business Person of the Year
Dan Bamforth, of Towndoor Ltd DAN Bamforth is following his father’s footsteps as operations director of property rental and development company Towndoor Ltd. But he’s putting his own stamp on the Meltham-based privately-owned and family-run business, which was founded by the late Stuart Bamforth in 1988 and now boasts a property portfolio comprising more than 30 acres of land and 77 office, warehouse and workshop units together providing more than 1m sq ft of floorspace. Dan stepped into his role in 2011 following his mother Lucy’s
decision to retire. He had previously operated two of his own companies, a Huddersfield town centre bar and a beauty salon. Even at the age of 25, he had amassed an impressive knowledge of business – aided by studying hospitality and business management at Manchester University. As operations director, Dan has implemented a full redesign and redevelopment in line with new company branding and website – helping to quadruple the number of enquiries fielded by the business within just a few months. In July this year, Towndoor was
able to announce that its entire portfolio of properties was fully let – with a waiting list for smaller properties – despite the economic downturn and a plentiful supply of vacant sites on the market. Said Dan: “This level of occupancy is a first for Towndoor in its 24-year history.” Under his guidance, the company has invested £20,000 in environmentally-friendly solar technology at its flagship Meltham Mills Industrial Estate. By incorporating solar, Dan hopes to reduce electricity costs for tenants. He said: “Towndoor has
continually developed and enhanced its core rental portfolio while developing new build industrial premises and sites within West Yorkshire for re-sale. “The company plans to acquire further industrial property outside the local area and has recently submitted plans for a £2m, four-acre development at Meltham Mills.” Dan’s commitment to the local community includes supporting local youth football and cricket teams. The company is also donating £2,500 for a skateboard park in Meltham.
Eric Paxman, of Eric’s Restaurant
■ MEAL DEAL: Eric Paxman officially opens the new kitchen at Lindley Infant School with kitchen supervisor Emma Schofield (left) and cook Jeanette Broster
ERIC Paxman is serving up success. The 33-year-old proprietor and head chef at Eric’s Restaurant began his training at Huddersfield Technical College, where he gained a distinction before working in local restaurants in the town – and travelling and training under the best in the world. He worked in London under Marco Pierre White at L’Escargot, developing his craft and learning from Marco’s fine and classical style. After four years as head chef at a local restaurant, he worked under Bill Grainger – star ofTV’s Saturday Kitchen – at his restaurants in Sydney, Australia, where Bill mentored Eric on creating good food with a modern twist. Returning from Australia, Eric worked as a general manager at the same restaurant where he had previously been head chef before opening Eric’s in 2010 at Lidget Street, Lindley. He said: “There had been
■ PROPERTY PLANS: Dan Bamforth, operations director of Towndoor Ltd
three restaurants previously run from the premises, the most recent closing in July, 2010. I entered into a lease with the landlord in September, 2010, and carried out a major refurbishment, including structural alterations to provide more space, replacement of shopfront and door, rewiring, new flooring, replacement of all seating and tables and new furnishings throughout. “I also replaced the majority of the kitchen equipment to provide a first class facility to allow me to be in a position to produce first class food.” More than 300 people attended the launch event on November 4, 2010, and the doors opened to the public the following day. Said Eric: “The response has been amazing. When many businesses are suffering as a result of the economic conditions, Eric’s has gone from strength to strength and the feedback from our customers, many of whom have returned on
numerous occasions, has been unbelievable.” In October last year, Eric’s expanded with the acquisition of the shop next door, which was converted into a bar and reception area. Eric’s Restaurant has been the subject of more than 250 reviews on Tripadvisor – more than 200 of them rating it as “excellent”. In August this year, the restaurant was listed in the Good Food Guide for 2013. Profits and turnover have increased each year since the launch – and employee numbers have also risen. Eric has also become something of a local celebrity in the village – and was asked to officially open the new kitchens at Lindley Infant School. Said Eric: “In building the business, we have concentrated on three ingredients – food, service and ambience. Wherever possible, we have sourced the food locally.”
Moin Valli, of Valli Group Opticians THE founder of an independent opticians’ practice has combined business acumen and community spirit to drive his operations forward. Moin Valli, 34, became a qualified optometrist in 2000 and worked for five years as a locum at various practices as well as establishing an optical recruitment agency. He founded the Valli Group in 2005 when he was 27 by acquiring Hampshire Opticians with three practices in Lockwood, Honley and Meltham. In 2006, he added Openshaw Opticians in Cleckheaton and in 2009 purchased Optim-Eyes Opticians in Mytholmroyd, which was rebranded to Valli Opticians. In 2011, Moin acquired S D Haigh Opticians in Almondbury and this year added Mamtora Opticians in Hebden Bridge. Starting from three practices, turnover of £350,000 and eight staff in 2005, his business growth strategy means the group now has seven practices, 25 staff and
anticipated turnover of £1.2m by the end of 2012. Said Moin: “My goal is to position The Valli Group as the leading independent opticians across West Yorkshire and beyond, offering professional eye care and outstanding service in our local communities. “Along with my team, I’m working hard to achieve this through the acquisition of further practices, growth of current practices, business development, extensive financial investment in technology, a comprehensive refurbishment programme and through investment in our staff development and training.” He said the group’s business strategy had resulted in increased turnover and net profit. Each acquisition has achieved its five-year financial forecast by the end of the first year – with average turnover and profit for the first year of trading after acquisition rising by 43% and 68% respectively.
The group has also invested in the practices with major refurbishments and the introduction of state-of-the-art equipment – enabling them to retain existing customers and attract new ones. Said Moin: “The Vallie Group has invested heavily in technology, optical equipment and refurbishment, spending over £260,000 in the last six years to rejuvenate our practices. “This allows us to offer patients modern, high quality practices with traditional values of the very best in customer service.” Moin said another key business strategy was to create an environment where staff were happy and enthused about work, adding: “I’m committed to having a highly skilled and knowledgeable team and provide regular in-house and external staff training. This has been a key feature of our growth and success.” The group also supports its local communities, offering a free
domiciliary service to elderly and disabled patients who are unable to visit their local practice. Moin also makes regular visits to local schools and community groups to deliver talks aimed at raising awareness about eye health. The group has also hosted charity events to raise cash for local causes, including a Wimbledon-themed event to support Kirkwood Hospice. The group also sponsors Honley FC. Moin is a member of Sight Care, the Association of Optometrists and the College of Optometrists as well as a past member of the local optometric committee for Kirklees and Calderdale. “The future will see further rapid for the Valli Group,” he said. “We plan to rebrand four of the existing practices to Valli Opticians before the end of the year. Two further practices have been targeted for acquisition for next year, which should push group turnover to the targeted £2m by the end of 2013.”
■ CLEAR VISION: Optometrist Moin Valli, of Valli Group Opticians
Huddersfield ‘Place to Make It’ Award
■ COLD COMFORT: Yummy Yorkshire owners Jeremy and Louise Holmes are helping make Huddersfield cool
ICE cream company Yummy Yorkshire is helping make Huddersfield cool. The Denby Dale-based business was formed five years ago by husband and wife team Jeremy and Louise Holmes, who decided to diversify their milk retailing business to ensure sustainability and unleash their creative flair. The result has been a luxury artisan ice cream business produced in Huddersfield and containing locally-produced ingredients. The milk comes from Yummy Yorkshire’s own herd of Holstein cows while the fresh ingredients are sourced as close as possible to the farm. The company has seen sales rise year-on-year, has more than doubled the size of its ice cream parlour to seat more than 45 people and has become a popular destination for “foodies” from Huddersfield and further afield.
The business’ wholesale ice cream production has also grown tremendously over the past 12 months with significant account wins with Huddersfield customers including Wooldale Co-operative Group, Eric’s Restaurant and Bradleys Restaurant – and Yorkshire clients such as Ripley Castle, Hardcastle Crags and Lewis & Cooper in Harrogate. Volumes have increased by 36% this year to more than 27,500 litres. The company now employs seven full-time and six seasonal staff, increasing head count by four in the past 12 months. Yummy Yorkshire has also launched a catering service for events on and off-site to link-up with other food producers. As a champion of local produce, it partners other producers to make mouth-watering ice creams – including Lottie Shaw’s bakery in Elland to create Lottie Shaw’s Seriously
Good Yorkshire Parkin flavour ice cream. The product was specifically created to celebrate the Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival. Other collaborations have included Dandelion & Burdock ice cream in homage to legendary soft drinks firm Ben Shaws, a coffee ice cream made with an espresso blend by Cooper’s Coffee based at Clayton West, and Brenda’s Old Yorkshire Trifle, based on a 100-yar-old recipe of a customer living in Holmfirth. Yummy Yorkshire has won many awards at national and regional level and has become a major contributor to the local rural economy. It sponsors a local junior football team, hosts school visits to educate children on farming methods and attends many local food festivals and galas. This year, the company attended the Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival for the seventh year.
Wellhouse Leisure Ltd
A COMPANY manufacturing camper vans is taking the name of Huddersfield on the road. Shepley-based Wellhouse Leisure Ltd has been catapulted into the export market following a two-year project to build camper vans for Hyundai UK. Managing director David Elliott described the process as “a rollercoaster ride” which culminated in the company gaining European Type Approval for its vehicles. In May this year, Hyundai UK agreed that the camper could carry the words “Hyundai approved” – meaning Wellhouse Leisure could now sell the campers via the UK dealer network. This year, Wellhouse Leisure has built about 80 Hyundai and 70 Japanese vehicles. In 2013, the firm expects to build 50 to 200 vehicles alone for Hyundai UK. Said Mr Elliott: “We already have the dealer network set up and will start with around 12 dealers across the UK and
Northern Ireland. This really will propel us into the bottom of the mass manufacturers’ league rather than the top of the small converters. It really is ground-breaking stuff.” A meeting with Alan Rushforth, vice-president of Hyundai Motor Europe, at a car launch in Spain led to Mr Elliott travelling to Hyundai Europe’s German base to make a 15-minute presentation and demonstrate the camper van to product marketing manager from Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. He supplied Wellhouse-built camper vans for further evaluation and visited Hyundai operations in Spain, Switzerland and Belgium. The company has completed its first export orders to Sweden and New Zealand. Hyundai in Sweden and Ireland each want 25 vehicles for 2013. Wellhouse is also in talks with Hyundai New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, all of which want to try out the vehicle.
Said Mr Elliott: “We have spent over £125,000 on the Hyundai project, which for a company our size is an enormous risk. However, in the financial quarter to May, 2012, we had our best ever quarter – just selling direct from Wellhouse. When the vehicles go into the Hyundai dealers, this will go up. So although it’s been a risk, it’s been worth it.” As part of efforts to diversity, the company is also carrying out conversions on used Hyundai base vehicles and has built up a network of 14 UK agents. It has also increased its wholesale parts sales while reducing overheads and introducing more efficient manufacturing methods. The company is also backing apprenticeships. Said Mr Elliott: “We have three new apprentices and we are working with Shelley College and Kirklees College on courses that will benefit other local companies as well as ourselves.”
■ TRADE DELEGATION: Apprentices Josh Blackburn (left) and Ashley Murray are learning manufacturing skills Wellhouse Leisure
■ LOCAL HERO: Disposables UK managing director David Burkill says the firm was determined to stay loyal to its roots despite the need to expand
WASHROOM supply firm Disposables UK has underlined its commitment to manufacturing in Huddersfield. The company, which supplied items such as hand towels, toilet tissues and soaps to the London Olympics and Paralympic Games this summer, is moving its operations to a bigger site – just across the road from its existing Meltham base. Managing director David Burkill said: “Our commitment to Huddersfield and our amazing workforce has been shown many times throughout the years by our determination to stay local to our staff and the area. “This has seen us grow into five separate sites with all the logistical complications and associated costs
which make it hard to remain competitive. “The lack of available large sites in the area is a real issue, but in 2013 our entire operation will move ‘across the road’ to the Fred Lawton carpets site, where all our operations will be in line – from raw materials through production to distribution.” Said Mr Burkill: “Opportunities had arisen in the past to relocate the company out of the Huddersfield area, but the loyalty of the team – 90% of whom are from Huddersfield and the surrounding area – and the dedication to the local area meant this was never an option. “The whole team are delighted at the forthcoming move and we believe that bringing everyone
under one roof will increase staff morale and the general feeling of belonging to what is essentially a large team of people. “The integration of all departments in one site will have a positive effect on communications and result in efficient and slicker operations across the organisation.” Disposables UK was formed in 1987 by Trevor Storer, who was chairman of the group until his death in 2010. His wife, Diane, is now company chairman backed by a board of directors. Originally based in Milnsbridge and working from an office and 3,000sq ft of shared warehousing, the company expanded into an 11,000sq ft unit in 1989 before
finding its current home at Meltham in 1993. Said Mr Burkill: “Every year, our profits have been re-invested in the business. We’ve run a number of Manufacturing Advisory Service projects to educate and improve our staff and procedures. “Earlier in the year, we scooped an MAS Works award which formally recognises our achievements as a manufacturing company.” More recently, the firm placed an order of a £1.7m automatic production line which will enable it to manufacture market leading, luxury products and steal a march on many of its rivals. This autumn sees the launch of a new range of non-woven wipes.
New Business of the Year sponsored by
The Lazy Camper
■ CARRY ON CAMPER: Young entrepreneur Jacob Hill (centre) receives the Huddersfield University Vice-Chancellor's Enterprise Award from Prof Bob Cryan (right) and university Chancellor Patrick Stewart (left)
A FOOD business in Huddersfield has quickly found the recipe for success. Cafe Society’s owners Lizzy and Alec Jackson opened the doors of the Byram Street venue in April last year. The cafe was awarded a Kirklees Healthy Choice Award in its first month of trading and is now a five-star food hygiene-rated establishment. The interior decor boasts a jazz theme and a “light airy space” for customers. Easy listening music and jazz classics from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s ensure the cafe appeals to people of all ages, including families and students as well as the older generation. Identifying a niche market, the cafe introduced a range of gluten-free food and now provides breakfasts, a range of lunch items and confectionery. It has now been included in the
latest edition of the Coeliac Food & Drink Guide following word-of-mouth recommendations. Said Lizzy: “We take a lot of pride in catering for our customers’ dietary requirements, including vegetarians, dairy-free and vegans and we have established a loyal set of customers who return again and again because of this. “As we are an independent, family-run business, there is always a familiar face behind the counter and we find running the business as a husband and wife team fits well with family life – with the help of our three main part-time staff topped up by four more part-timers at busy weekends.” Cafe Society, which seats more than 60 people when full, runs evening functions such as fashion shows, jazz and ale nights and various charity
FESTIVAL-GOER Jacob Hill has a hit on his hands with The Lazy Camper. The Huddersfield University student founded the business to provide a complete outdoors kit for fellow festival fans. The kit provides everything needed in one bag, for just £59.99. Jacob, 19, said: “The Lazy Camper is the answer to purchasing a lot of camping goods with very little knowledge at a good quality.” The kit comprises 16 items of equipment, including a two-man tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, camping stool, stove, fuel tablets, matches, mug, food tins, water carrier, waterproof poncho, first aid kit and cutlery. The idea formed in Jacob’s mind just over 12 months ago when he was at a music festival with poor quality camping equipment – for which he had paid a “premium price”. He raised £30,000 from fellow
events as well as private functions on request. Events have also included an author and creative writing session led by Michelle Hodgson, of Key Words, as well as business networking events. Plans for the establishment include increasing further its gluten-free range and investing further in refrigeration equipment. Said Lizzy: “There will be no stepping back by Alec and me, 18 months in. For a business like ours requires owner-management on the premises to know our customers. “This helps our reputation, encourages customers to keep coming back and engenders word-of-mouth recommendation – as well as making the cafe a profitable concern.”
students at the university and after just five months’ trading, The Lazy Camper was pitched to Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, featured on BBC 3 TV show Be Your Own Boss for Kirkheaton-born Innocent smoothies founder Richard Reed and sponsored V Festival’s VIP “Louder Lounge” Jacob has also been guest speaker at a number of events, involving major names such as DHL and Virgin Media. Earlier this year, his achievements were recognised when he won the Huddersfield University Vice-Chancellor’s Enterprise Award. And this month, he will be encouraging 40 world leaders from the European Union, North Africa and Western Asia to pioneer teaching enterprise in an academic environment in a bid to encourage economic growth. This year, The Lazy Camper –
which now employs four people – has sponsored a range of festivals, sold kits all over Europe and will be planning a selection of products for other outdoor activity kits while developing its warehousing, logistics and sourcing. In its second year, Jacob plans to have a deal with a supermarket chain in the bag and sponsor the whole of V Festival as well as trade overseas as main festival sponsor for a new weekend event in California, USA. Jacob, of Brighouse, said: “I’m a keen speaker and really want to inspire as many people to do business as possible. If a 19-year-old can raise £30,000 investment without the help of a bank or family and import from overseas, then other people passionate about business or an idea have no excuse not to follow their dreams.”
■ TABLE BOOKED: Award-winning author Michael Stewart (seated, left) shares publishing secrets with budding authors at a creative writing workshop held at Cafe Society Pictured with Michelle Hodgson (seated) are: (left to right): Andy Lee, Terry Piggott, Rebecca Cobb-Kilner, of Waterstones, Gina Battye amd Elizabeth Harkin
■ TEEN SCREEN: Fourteen19 managing director Graham Sykes has developed a new way of marketing to the youth audience
IT’S a whole new way of doing business! Fourteen19 has been set up at Rawthorpe’s Netherhall Learning Campus to get young people involved in every stage of the creative process – and introduce them to the world of work and enterprise. It has its origins in May last year when InHouse Marketing wanted to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Rather than buy balloons and champagne, the agency decided to celebrate by creating something special that would have long-lasting community benefits. The result was Fourteen19, a hybrid social enterprise/youth marketing agency committed to giving young people the chance to get valuable vocational experience by being given the responsibility of running a busy commercial agency. InHouse linked up with the innovative Creative & Media Studio at Netherhall
Learning Campus – and soon recognised a significant gap in the area of youth engagement. Managing director Graham Sykes said: “Youth marketing is dominated by ‘old creative types’ producing campaigns that they think will engage young people. “It seems strange, but there were no agencies using young people to develop campaigns targeting their own age groups. By identifying this niche market, it was believed that an agency could be created that employed young people to work on campaigns targeting other young people.” After a successful trial run, InHouse agreed to commit £20,000 seed funding for the project to create a social enterprise that thinks like a commercial agency. The first two employees were recruited in September last year and by the end of 2011 Fourteen19 had a five-figure
turnover, a gross profit margin of 54% and respectable pre-tax profits. It was delivering projects for clients including Huddersfield Town, Pearsons Education and Huddersfield Students’ Union – and surpassing its objectives. This summer, Fourteen19 formed a partnership with Wirral Partnership Homes to run an eight-week pilot scheme. It was so successful that Fourteen19@Wirral has been set up as the agency’s first social franchise – creating great interest among other housing association who are considering setting up their own social franchise/youth engagement agency. A further three franchises have been targeted for the coming year. Said Graham: “In an economic climate where marketing budgets are being slashed and youth employment is at an all-time high, Fourteen19 has developed a new way of doing business.”
Community Award sponsored by One17 Design
■ DESIGN BRIEF: Caroline Lee (left), of the One17 Design Charitable Trust, presents a cheque to Nigel Clews (right), of Community Cards, one of many organisations supported by the Armitage Bridge business
Britannia Rescue BRITANNIA Rescue is driving ahead to support local good causes. The fourth-largest road rescue organisation in the UK employs 130 people at its offices at Folly Hall Mills in Huddersfield. As part of the LV= insurance group, Britannia Rescue in Huddersfield has a budget of £15,000 to support community initiatives in 2012 – £5,000 of this sum set aside for donations to local charities. The charities to benefit are selected from a shortlist submitted at the end of the previous year by the employees in Huddersfield. At the end of each quarter, employees have the chance to vote for the charity they would like to support. The first-placed charity gets a donation of £600 with the second-placed receiving £400 and the third-placed getting £250. The remaining £1,000 is allocated to supporting local
projects and causes. Britannia Rescue has two “community champions” in Huddersfield who work to find contacts and good causes in the community and talk to them about possible support for the work they do. To help decide how the budget is spent, a 12-strong community committee is drawn up from employees in various parts of the business, which meets monthly to discuss requests for support. So far this year, Britannia Rescue has supported various charities and projects, including regular fun days in the office to raise more than £730 for causes including Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Take Heart and Brake; providing specialist printing equipment so residents of the Mirfield-based Hollybank Trust can print onto items such as mugs and T-shirts to sell to raise more cash; and helping to create an accessible gardening area at the trust. Britannia Rescue has also
AN architectural design company is building links with its local community. One17 Design, based at Armitage Bridge, has supported a number of charities over many years through fundraising events, sponsorship and donations. Since December, 2010, the company has taken its efforts a step further with the One17 Design Charitable Trust, which aims to improve the lives of people in need and enhance educational opportunities for children, mainly in the local area. Education co-ordinator Caroline Lee said: “From the outset, we were keen to become more aware of the needs of our wider community, to play an active role in providing relief to those in need and to help inspire and enthuse young people. “To this end we don’t just give financial support, we also offer
‘in-kind’ business support and have established formal links with a number of schools – providing bursaries, workshops and awards among other initiatives.” Regular donations are made to the trust from constituent One17 group companies – making up 95% of the trust’s income. Donations also come from clients. Said Caroline: “Traditionally, the first appointment with a new client seeking professional advice was free of charge. We now ask for a donation to the charitable trust and have been delighted at the enthusiastic response we have had from potential clients to this initiative.” She added: “We are committed to supporting our employees in fundraising activities for charities of their choice and as such match-fund money that they raise. “We are delighted to say that
our staff have embraced the aims of the charitable trust wholeheartedly – whether it’s by doing charity runs and challenges, running workshops with young people, providing business support, finding out about groups and people in need, supporting specific fundraising events or volunteering; everybody plays their part.” Applications to the trust are kept as simple and paper-free as possible, said Caroline. “We particularly like to support keen and enthusiastic volunteers within our community and did not want to make the application process too onerous. “Wherever possible, we visit people to establish what is needed and how we can help. This process not only improves our awareness, but also helps us to foster long-term relationships.”
supported Kirklees Music School, Overgate Hospice at Elland, Mirfield Parish Cavaliers Cricket Club, Sure Start in Dewsbury, Howden Clough Under-6s football team and the National Children’s Centre in Huddersfield – the last by providing workshops and mock interviews for 16 to 19-year-olds who need help to get back into education or employment. Management co-ordinator Kelly Blagbrough said: “We also actively encourage our employees to get involved with voluntary work, both in their own time and through voluntary activities organised by the company. “So far this year, our employees have spent a total of 85 hours working on voluntary projects and as we build longer-term partnerships with local causes, we plan to increase ■ NOTEWORTHY DONATION: Maggie Lowe presents £1,000 to Becky Coulthard, of Kirklees Music School these hours.”
■ FAST LANE: Town ambassador Andy Booth (front, left) and David Brown’s Ian Farquhar (front, right) with competitors in the Go-Kart Challenge
HUDDERSFIELD Town is taking pride it its local community. The club has undertaken a wide range of charity work and community initiatives, said business development manager Mark Davies, adding: “We truly believe that the football club is at the heart of Huddersfield and its community.” Its charity work has included raising more than £370,000 this year for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the club’s academy through a variety of fundraising efforts, including a mammoth bike ride of more than 250 miles from Yeovil to a Town match – a venture involving more than 280 supporters. Town also has a charity, club and schools partnership to share its business practice with others so that they can raise funds by selling tickets to matches in return
for player appearances and PR opportunities. Said Mark: “Over the last year alone, we have held dedicated match days for charities such as Help for Heroes, The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice as well as conducting our own fundraisers such as a charity walk to Rochdale and an art auction among others.” The club’s community initiatives have included “once-in-a-lifetime” events for people in Kirklees – from a football match on the stadium pitch involving 200 children to a school-based gardening competition with Marshalls plc where the school with the winning design had its garden built as a prize. Town also ran a successful David Brown’s Go Kart Challenge involving 20 schools designing and racing their own go karts at
the stadium in front of hundreds of people. The longest-established community outreach programme at the club is Football in the Community, which involves getting more than 20,000 youngsters involved in the football club, sport and active living. The latest development is the launch of the Huddersfield Town Foundation, set up to fund selected projects for under-privileged people. Said Mark: “The foundation is built on the success of our recent initiatives involving the sourcing of local businesses to help us pay to take 100 schoolchildren to both our recent play-off finals. “The new foundation’s flagship project for 2012 will see thousands of children receive free school breakfasts and lunches throughout the school year.”
Green Award sponsored by Colne Valley Garden Centre
■ GROWING BUSINESS: Jon Walker, managing director of Colne Valley Garden Centre
A GREEN-FINGERED business is helping to spread the word on the environment. Colne Valley Garden Centre is making a practical contribution to “green” issues though its commercial, charitable and community activities. The business was acquired by the Walker family in February, 2000, at a time when the Scar Lane site was in poor condition and staff morale was low. Over the next few years, investment in the buildings, stock, advertising and staff recruitment and training resulted in a doubling of turnover. Director Jon Walker said: “We consider that the core of gardening is to improve a small corner of the world and we aim to help all our customers do this while also trying to improve this part of England. “It has also been a personal journey for myself from a background in engineering with no experience in management, retail or gardening – a gradual realisation that gardening is
the Englishman’s meditation that cultivates the soul as well as the ground, exercising the mind and eye as well as the limbs.” The centre’s 15-strong staff is supplemented by trainees and volunteers who assist with housekeeping and manual handling while they also learn work skills and basic horticulture. The trainees come from a wide range of backgrounds, including work experience students from local schools and adults with learning difficulties from assisted living homes in the area. The company also offers apprenticeships while other members of staff have been on short courses in areas from floristry to forklifts, face-painting to first aid. Colne Valley Garden Centre gets the green message across through its close links with local schools, hosting visits and donating seeds. Proceeds from the annual Santa’s Grotto go to a gardening club at Cowlersley School. A toddlers’ group is also being trialled
in the cafe on weekday mornings. Said Mr Walker: “We take our environmental lead from its shared root with economy and have gradually developed an environmental policy that gives great savings as well as helping the planet. “In the past four years, we have reduced our water and drainage by 20%, gas and electricity consumption by 30% and landfill by a massive 80%, but hope to improve still further. “This has been achieved by essentially conservative, low-tech systems, improving insulation and burning waste wood for heat, collecting rainwater for irrigation, baling card and plastics for recycling and composting animal bedding rather than the more obvious routes of solar cells or wind turbines.” He added: “Green thinking, education and community awareness are not exceptional individually, but their combination is what makes Colne Valley Garden Centre special.”
Yorkshire Energy Services A COMPANY is playing a big part in tackling energy issues. Yorkshire Energy Services, based in Huddersfield and employing 48 people, specialises in developing products and services to help householders save energy, reduce their bills and improve their living conditions. The company has successfully procured managerial contracts for two of the country’s largest council-endorsed home insulation schemes, Wrap up Leeds and Insulate Hampshire. Government policies in the renewable energy sector enabled Yorkshire Energy Services to launch its own solar installations subsidiary, YESrenewables, in 2010. That business has gone on to complete more than 250 PV installations across Yorkshire. It is now branching out to add external wall insulation and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation to its product portfolio. Earlier this year, YES Projects was launched to drive commercial business and bridge the gap between energy suppliers and public sector bodies. In an effort to tackle fuel poverty, Yorkshire Energy Services provides an energy help loan to help low income families access critical energy-saving services. The organisation also supports
the South and West Yorkshire “Hotspots programme with public sector partners to help vulnerable householders with benefits advice, fire safety and energy-saving products. The company was also instrumental in the formation of the Yorkshire and Humber Microgeneration Partnership, an impartial organisation set up to support customers, installers and advocated of renewable energy technologies. As a community interest company, Yorkshire Energy Services invests part of its profits into future energy efficiency schemes to tackle fuel poverty and support communities. It has also been selected by the Department of Energy and Climate Change as one of 22 pioneer Green Deal providers responsible for sourcing and managing the finance connected to Green Deal installations. It is also one of six Green Deal Skills Exemplars. Current projects include the Insulate Hampshire scheme run with Hampshire County Council and Wrap up Leeds, a contract to deliver Leeds City Council’s free home insulation scheme to 15,000 homes across the council’s area. Last April, Yorkshire Energy Services was allocated funding to deliver a National Free Home Insulation scheme.
■ ENERGY PACK: Yorkshire Energy Services chief executive William Edrich (front, left) and office manager Emma Kovaleski (second left) at the signing of the Green Deal Memorandum of Understanding at the offices of the Department of Energy and Climate Change The firm’s marketing executive Alex Krzesinski said: “Through its recent developments, Yorkshire Energy Services is well-placed to provide energy efficiency services at a national level.
“With Green Deal and a sea of opportunities for collaborations with new and existing shareholders, the organisation has a positive outlook for the future.”
E Stott & Sons Ltd
■ ANGEL DELIGHT: Carl Stott, of E STott & Sons, says the Road Angel system has been invaluable
A COACH company hasn’t been idle in cutting its fuel costs. Initiatives to cut fuel costs – and improve environmental performance – have paid dividends for Milnsbridge-based E Stott & Sons Ltd. The company, based at Colne Vale Garage, had a Road Angel live tracking system fitted to its fleet of 12 coaches in 2009 as a first step to saving on fuel costs and keeping track of its vehicles. Director Carl Stott said: “Initially, we had the hardware fitted to 12 coaches and after the first 12 months we saved about £22,000 on fuel by reducing idle time by one hour per coach per day. “We issued an idle time report every Monday for drivers to see, which highlighted all idle time over five minutes. “We invited all drivers to see how the system
worked, what reports we could produce, the reasons why we had it installed and we encouraged them to contribute any further ideas for improvement.” Last year, as fuel prices began to rise again, the company had Road Angel fitted to the rest of its fleet – and looked to make additional savings on fuel costs by getting driver totals for idling time which could be converted into actual cost per driver. Road Angel provided a weekly driver mileage summary report listing each driver’s total mileage, duration, idle time and time in motion. Said Carl: “Since we introduced this report, we have seen another decrease in idle time and think that this further saving is sustainable. The system also enables us to check our carbon usage and cost of fuel per vehicle per day.
“In these challenging economic times, these savings have enabled us to give all our staff their annual pay increase this year, which may not have happened in the absence of these savings on idle time.” The first week’s report showed a cost of £623.32. Subsequent weekly savings have ranged between about £415 and about £244. Said Carl: “Since this has been produced and distributed to drivers, it has encouraged them to make a reduction in idle time and to make cost savings.” He added: “Since April, 2012, we have achieved additional cost savings for the company, encouraged drivers to identify the impact on the environment when keeping their vehicles running and at the same time reducing our carbon footprint.”
Innovation & Enterprise Award
■ STARTING GRID: Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker (left) with Denford chief executive Andrew Denford trying out the F1 in Schools track at the firm’s Brighouse premises
AN engineering company with a proud history is an industry front runner. Denford Ltd, based at Brighouse, has put quality, innovation and reliable technological solutions to the forefront in everything it does. It specialises in providing equipment for schools and colleges with products ranging from unique multimedia software for teaching the principles of design and manufacture through to CNC milling machines, CNC lathes, CBC routers, rapid prototyping and laser cutting machines enabling the teaching of complex engineering concepts and manufacturing techniques. These products are used and acclaimed by leading educational establishments in more than 780 countries. The company, which has its headquarters at Armytage Road, employs 25 people and has been trading for more than 50 years. In keeping with its commitment to innovation, it is the founder and sponsor of F1 in Schools – the world’s largest science, engineering, technology and maths-based educational project. F1 in Schools provides a fun and exciting educational environment for young people to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, design, science, marketing and
technological industries. It operates in more than 40 countries with 20 million students engaged in designing and building miniature race cars which they then put into competition. Major names in the automotive industry and motor sport are among the sponsors of F1 in Schools, including Jaguar Land Rover; McLaren Mercedes; Ross Brawn, team principal of Mercedes AMG; and Adrian Newey, chief technical officer for Red Bull Racing. The company also exports to more than 80 countries, including India, Pakistan and South East Asia where students value careers in engineering and manufacturing, as well as Australia, the Middle East, Lithuania, Nigeria and Kazakhstan. In the latter country, Denford Ltd is working closely with the ministry of education to ensure students are not left behind their global counterparts in preparing for careers in design, technology, engineering and science. The company has supplied equipment to two Kazakhstan schools and is supporting the delivery of eight new institutions of technical vocational education and training where the study of electronics, computer-aided design and manufacture and robotics will be the focus.
Future Polymers A COLNE Valley company is helping other firms tackle waste and reduce their costs. Future Polymers, headed by brothers Adam and David Mosley and based at Milnsbridge, was born out of a problem faced by a local bath manufacturer. Said Adam: “All companies produce waste which eventually finds its way into landfill. “One particular by-product from making an acrylic bath is an acrylic ‘picture frame’ that is contaminated with glass resin polyester. Historically, this was landfill and – based on production figures of 5,500 baths a week – this amounted to about 528 tonnes for the company. “In landfill tax alone, this was a cost of
more than £33,000 which will only increase in future.” Future Polymers came to the rescue by devising a way to remove glass fibre from the acrylic without the use of chemical washing or the use of harmful solvents. The acrylic can then be re-used to make cast acrylic and turned into other products. Adam said: “The process is a guarded secret and a patent application has been filed. What we have designed and built turns waste into a saleable commodity by processing and removing the contaminate before separating the materials. “The result is one-tonne bags of pure granulated acrylic that can be sold to interested parties around the world.
“We are proud that not only have we solved an escalating and ongoing problem for one company, we have the potential to licence the process or reduce other manufacturers’ landfill costs where they have similar materials.” Adam said: “We know that other bath manufacturers are based along the M62 corridor – all of whom will have the same issues that this company had. The potential is very exciting for us, for them and for the environment. “The only other solution – other than landfill – is to send the problem abroad. But as companies become more aware of their environmental responsibilities, we think that Future Polymers offers a local,
green and sustainable alternative.” Adam said Future Polymers had started quite small and was now planning to process about seven tonnes of acrylic per week. The company is now processing other polymers, such as high impact polystyrene at about five tonnes a week. He said: “We are expanding the current unit at Ramsden Mills and we are in the process of brining all our processes under one roof. “This will enable us to offer better service to our current customers and, hopefully, attract new customers who want a simple, straight-forward solution to their plastic scrap.”
■ INVESTMENT PLAN: Asquith Butler managing director Paul Hinchliffe
A MACHINE tool manufacturer tracing its roots back more than 140 years is an acknowledged world leader in its field. Brighouse-based Asquith Butler, which has been manufacturing machines tools since 1865, today focuses on bespoke “state of the art” multi-axis machines to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern manufacturing requirements. The company operating from modern purpose-built assembly and test facilities at Brookfoot, uses the very latest computer-aided design and analysis software to provide complete design solutions. It also specialises in full turnkey bespoke engineered projects manufactured to exacting standards for customers
in the aerospace, automotive and general engineering sectors in the UK, Europe and across the globe. Asquith Butler also offers a refurbishment and retrofitting service on the firm’s older machines and offers customers the most cost effective options for upgrading their existing plant. This includes spares and servicing for thousands of machine installations worldwide. Among the latest developments is the firm’s new Starturn range of machines, including a revolutionary travelling gantry milling and turning machine, which was submitted in the category for Best Machining Centre in the MWP Advanced Manufacturing Awards. The machine – built in the UK and aimed at the power
generation and pump industries – can help companies reduce their costs by cutting down on non-productive set-up and workpiece movements, improve finished component accuracy by allowing complete machining in one clamping, reduce machine tool footprint and improve overall capability and performance. Managing director Paul Hinchliffe said: “As the only remaining UK manufacturer of large machines tools we have continued to invest in the latest technology and equipment to enable our machines to compete in the most challenging of manufacturing environments.” The company was created with the merger of Halifax firms William Asquith Ltd, formed in 1865, and The Butler Machine Tool Company, established just
three years later. William Asquith, a locally-trained engineer, worked in the gold fields of British Columbia and California before returning to Halifax to found his company. Asquith produced machine tools of all types during the early years before specialising on drilling and boring machines. Among many interesting contracts was the provision of the entire drilling capacity for the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Butler Machine Tool Company was founded in Halifax in 1868 by James Ryder Butler, an ex-Crossley Carpets apprentice. His first products were looms for the rapidly expanding textile industry, but within a few years production had switched to machine tools.
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