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Autumn 2008 Inside... Welcome // Ask A Question // Laidlaw Quiz // HR Update // The Year Of Innovations // Our People // Focus On Dubai //

Laidlaw News

A magazine for all Laidlaw employees

Up, Up & Away! With a new look Laidlaw website launching in October and OWL already rolled out across the company, it’s easy to see why this is our year of innovation. [See page 4 for more]

Who's been gagged?

[Turn to page 6]



Dear Colleagues, We have just completed our fifth anniversary since the MBO of Laidlaw in 2003 from Ingersoll-Rand. As such I felt it appropriate to dwell on some of our successes over this period including: development of our customer relationships including some PSA agreements with national contractors; acquisition of three businesses and a start up business venture in the Gulf; sales growth of over 50%; loss making business returned to profit; employment opportunity created for c40 people; achievement of Investors in People and ISO 9000 and 14001; new website launched; new company brochures developed; development of our core values; achievement of our 2007/8 company budget.

We should all be proud of these achievements and in particular our latest financial year end whereby we achieved our financial goals helped in no small way by our tremendous sales performance with each business unit growing year on year. We are currently preparing our business plans for next year and whilst we enter this new financial year with some uncertainty as to what the markets will bring, we are still nonetheless confident our business is in a much stronger position and if we continue to pull together as one team we will maintain our growth agenda. Finally on a more sombre note and on behalf of us all, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on our condolences to the family of Tony Faulkner who passed away on 17th September 2008. Tony will be sadly missed by his colleagues in Laidlaw. Tony, RIP.

John Jefferies Managing Director

Ask A Question

With Lenny Christie (Locksmith - Glasgow )

If my friends had to describe me in three words, they would say I am... Short, aggressive and honest. The soundtrack to my life is... Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song. The thing that annoys me most... Maybe I shouldn’t say this but...Celtic fans. The three items I would have with me if stranded on a desert island would be... Beer, a fridge and a very long extension cable. You wouldn’t know, but I’m good at... Snooker. When I was younger I used to compete in local tournaments. My favourite meal... Has to be my local Indian restaurant. My favourite drink is... Ice cold Corona.


I got hit the first time, I realised it wasn’t for me. ” All my money goes on... Clothes and eating out.

My dream holiday would be... When I was a child I always wanted to be... For my 10th anniversary in 2 years time we A boxer, but after I got hit the first time, I are going to Cancun. I’ve always wanted to realised it wasn’t for me. go there. If I could have four people, alive or dead, over for a dinner party, I would invite... Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Paul Gascoigne and Ally McCoist.

The phrase or word I use most often is... ‘It’s in the post...’

GAI Award Winners

HR Update

Celebrating Our Staff’s Successes Business/Law Distinction Pass Pass

Year 2 Richard Taffs



Year 1 Debra Yates Viv Smith Simon Marr Brian Nesbitt Blair McDonald Garry Watt Paul Cowle Jon Marchent

Willenhall Sheffield Sheffield Glasgow Perth Glasgow Liverpool Bristol

Pass Pass Distinction Distinction Distinction Distinction Credit Credit

Scheduling Credit Distinction Pass

Starters Stephanie Harbon Kriss Pryke David Beech Charlotte Dutton Ross Neville Jess Walton Emily Griffin Lauren Costello

Purchase Ledger Trainee Estimator (TD) Financial Controller Customer Services Internal Sales Customer Services Credit Control Sales Admin Support

Willenhall Willenhall Willenhall Willenhall Bristol Willenhall Willenhal Salford

Customer Services Customer Services Undergraduate Intern

Willenhall Willenhall Liverpool

Leavers Toni Russell Lisa Wilkinson Lewis Cornford

1) 1876 2) United Arab Emirates 3) Organisational Website for Laidlaw 4) Mike Brittain 5) 1:07pm 6) Adam Dorman 7) SC 59000 8) John Jefferies

Year 3—New Diploma Holders Matthew Jones Salford Mark Alker Salford Andy Moore Barnstaple


Laidlaw Quiz (Summer Answers)

Laidlaw Quiz

The quiz returns! This time around we’ve not been quite so devilish with our questions, so why not give it a go? You could win £ 25 in gift vouchers! HISTORY 1) In what month and year did John Jefferies lead a management buy-out of Laidlaw? GEOGRAPHY 2) In which city is Laidlaw's new acquisition, Saturn Architectural (Northern) Ltd, based? TECHNOLOGY 3) What fruit, native to the British Isles, is used by some employees to keep in touch? MATHS 4) Sian is booking hotel rooms for 40 people from various companies for a corporate event. 23 of these guests are bringing their spouse, and a further 9 are bringing a colleague along. To keep costs down, Sian decides to book single people into single bedrooms. Three of the couples want bed and breakfast, as do 12 of the single attendees. If a double room costs £78.50, a single room costs £62 and breakfast costs £5.75 per person, how much will the hotel bill be? LANGUAGE 5) Can you solve this anagram? Self Use Owl PICTURE ROUND 6) Whose eyes are these? 7)

Whose nose is this?

When you have the answers, e-mail, titling the e-mail Laidlaw Quiz. All the correct answers will be put into a hat and a winner will be drawn. Please get your answers in by November 14th 2008! Last issue’s winner was Ian Stewart. Well done Ian! The answers to last month’s quiz can be found upside down above!

Company Announcement Laidlaw is pleased to announce it has acquired the business of Saturn Architectural (Northern) Ltd. This acquisition is a great fit for both businesses and will support our growth strategy. Saturn is a significant player in the architectural ironmongery market with a particular strength in the servicing of preferred supplier agreements with major national and regional contractors and clients. With an operational base in York, Saturn provides national coverage to its customers on a wide variety of project types. Saturn’s preferred supplier agreements are complementary to Laidlaw’s with minimal overlap. We believe this combination together with our enlarged product offering will enable us to provide a greatly improved service to our customers.

Our intention is to maintain the Saturn brand alongside Laidlaw. It will remain very much ‘business as usual’ for the Saturn team but with a real focus on growth. The current directors Simon Walden, Suzanne Eastwood and John Darby will continue in their roles as normal. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the rest of the Saturn staff; Derek Belton, Nick Peacock, Ian White, Nicola Moore, Eleanor Darley, Keith Clare-Brown, Nick Sanderson and Damien Scantlebury. John Jefferies Managing Director


The Year Of Innovations

Laidlaw Dot Net

Up, Up & Away!

Anne-Marie McSherry

Keith Moore

(Sales Co-ordination Manager)

(IT Controller)

We have recently launched a new Laidlaw website offering a dynamic new look more consistent with the Laidlaw Brand, advanced product detail and enhanced navigation. It is in keeping with similar high calibre sites throughout the industry.

Until recently we did not have any easy way of creating centralised databases and document storage that was accessible from remote sites. Through SharePoint Server 2007 though, we do. It is used for various processes and storage to assist business units and support departments and has the ability of integrating into all processes. Internal websites can be easily developed and easily accessed using the powerful search facility. With full security, access can be granted to external users. Full access control exists for users and groups so they only see what they should.

Our product ranges are featured thoroughly and the level of detail mirrors our literature publications. Website users can browse through a portfolio of high quality images, and comprehensive product information, as well as gaining an insight in to the scope of the business and Laidlaw values. Visitors will be able to download our publications directly from the website, as well as request brochures, CPD’s, make general enquiries and contact our new Technical Helpline. Case studies, press releases, news articles and job vacancies will be available to view and will be updated regularly and internally. The website team, including our web developers Pavilion, have worked hard to ensure that we have a first-class website that is informative and appealing, not only to current and potential customers, but to everybody throughout the business.

Laidlaw has seen some great ideas to improve our business recently. As the new financial year begins we take a look at just a few ideas which will continue the company's innovative nature.

Network Initiatives Steve Peckmore (IT Controller) As part of our ongoing updates of the Laidlaw network infrastructure we are currently in the process of installing backup network connections at all offices using HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) technology. This is similar to the 3G technology used in mobile phones for internet access and will give us a backup connection at each site that does not rely on a fixed or wired line. The roll out of new telephone systems continues across the branches giving the administrative benefits of a unified platform from which to work with. We will shortly be adding the London office to the list of VoIP (Voiceover-Internet Protocol) capable offices, allowing them to make free branch to branch calls with other VoIP enabled offices. The branches that currently have this capability

Laidlaw’s SharePoint site is named OWL, Organisational Website for Laidlaw. Every business unit and support department has its own website. Some of the functions utilized within these sites are contract logging, quote revision logging, credit requests, purchase queries, catalogue logging and major project tracking. Currently, new sites are being developed and existing sites enhanced. The use of SharePoint within Laidlaw will continue to develop and will enhance the requirements from existing and future software and assist in business processes.

are Willenhall, Bristol, Barnstaple and Gateshead. The direct dial numbers as always can be found in public folders alongside the existing telephone lists. The migration of mobile phone users to a single unified device is positively advancing. The result will be beneficial to all as it will eliminate need for users to carry a separate device or Blackberry to receive email. The new devices will also allow us to receive full HTML style email once we have upgraded our Email platform to Exchange 2007. This will be taking place in the very near future. There will also be further benefits and integration of using the new mobile phones with Windows SharePoint Services as this project progresses. We continue to move forward with rolling out the Wi-Fi availability for laptop users across the branches and have so far installed these at about half the Laidlaw offices. Finally, we have replaced the firewall controlling all network data in and out of Laidlaw including much improved VPN functionality for users working from home, along with overall improved security on our network.

Our People Special Edition!


Race For Life Debra Yates (Corporate Team Leader) I have started taking part in Cancer Research Race for Life. This is a race that takes place every year throughout the country and is open to all women of any age with all money raised going towards cancer research. You can either run the 5km or walk it. I decided to run. This was the second year that I have participated, the first year I managed to run the 5km in 38 minutes and raised £541 overall. This year however I finished the race in 30minutes and raised £550 (not a bad improvement for someone who didn’t really train much this year). I will be doing the race again next year and hopefully there will be a few more runners from Laidlaw taking part.

Three pages of people stories.

ROK Real Man Cup 2008 - Northern Sheffield’s Real Men Glasgow Give Back Clint Robertson

Brian Nesbitt

(National Accounts Manager - Northern)

(Branch Manager - Glasgow)

Laidlaw sponsored and entered a Team for the ROK Real Man Cup 2008. The tournament was in aid of the Prostate Cancer Charity and was held at the Goals Soccer venue in Leeds on Saturday 13th September.15 teams took part including teams from various ROK offices, suppliers and sub contractors. Although our team never managed to make it through the Group Stages of the tournament they played well and with the day ending with a 1-0 thrashing of Denholme it ended in style. Not a bad effort from a team with an average age of 47. Simon Marr was our ONLY scorer, scoring all 3 goals. Thanks to everyone who took part.

On the 13th September the Glasgow office also took part in the ROK football tournament. As it was a charity event we felt generous and gave the other teams our points! Ian Walker served as our manager. He really has to work on his team talk though, as “win the game or you’s are all fired” didn’t really help, especially as two players aren’t even employed by us. The only thing ROK asked of us was to compete in a manner befitting the spirit of the day. With that in mind, we feel we owe an apology to Andrew Cooke. Sadly, as we had two players sent off in the last game, I think we have just made the negotiations for a new deal with ROK a bit tougher.

Above: From left to right... Simon Marr, Jim Brice, George Kelly, Mike O’Brien,

Above: From left to right... Garry Watt, Alan Ferrier (Barr Ltd), Lenny Christie,

Harrison Marr (Laidlaw team mascot), Donovan Watkins and Dave Boland

Brian Nesbitt, Allan Malaney, and Eddie Eadie (Avonhill).


Wedding Belle Clive Edgley (International Sales & Operations Manager) Here’s a photo of my daughter, Suzanne, and my family (from left to right; other daughter Michelle, wife Susan, daughter-in-law Vicki and son Matthew) at her wedding to Leigh Lawler on July 5th. Photo courtesy of Adrian Smethurst! If you have any stories to share, please send them to

Enough Is Enough! Phil Bennett (Estimator - Kinmel Bay) John Jones (KAM for Kinmel Bay) sent us through this photo showing how his office have recently discovered the most effective way to stop Phil ‘Charity’ Bennett from giving away too much discount to customers.

Lightbulb Scheme Winners Laidlaw Kids Andrew Dickinson

Sharon Skitt

(Central Sales Co-ordinator) Andrew suggested that we cut down on the use of paper to circulate internal documents (such as chase reports). Not only does this save money on paper and ink, it also saves on energy which is used to power the printers. Instead of using paper, we should send documents electronically where possible. Where paper is needed (i.e. to send things to clients) we should use recycled paper.

(Product Manager) Sharon suggested a movement sheet to be completed weekly by personnel who ‘move’ around the branch network. This would allow internal personnel at the various branches to see who is potentially going to visit a specific branch thus allowing internal mail to be taken along without the extra cost of shipping. This document could be held on public folders or SharePoint.

Glynn Johnson

Dave Shields

(Warehouse Operative - Willenhall)

(Central Door Sets Manager)

Every door bag job made up has a sticky label attached, but label size and formats differ. Glynn suggested using smaller labels for all jobs which could result in nearly halving our label costs. In response to Glynn’s suggestion we have now created a standardised format for doorbag stickers which has been sent to all branch managers to use.

Dave’s idea is to attach a sticker to all sample boards giving instructions on how to return samples to Laidlaw. This not only will save significant cost but also has an environmental benefit by saving on waste.

There’s still time to send in your money-saving, eco-friendly ideas! Simply e-mail your suggestion to If chosen not only will you get £50 in gift vouchers, you could also win a weekend for two in Prague! Good luck!

Proud parents this quarter... Bob Fox

(Commercial Manager) has become grandad! His son Russell and partner Kerry welcomed Chloe

(pictured with her Aunty Beth to the left) into the world on Wednesday 18 June at approximately 6.00 pm weighing in at 6lb 12oz. th

Adam Dorman

(Process Controller) and his wife Emma became the proud parents of Rory Edward Dorman on the 17th September at 4.10pm. He weighed in at 8lb 14oz. Congratulations and all our good wishes go to the proud parents.

Just Married David Farrell (Key Account Manager)

Gateshead Key Account Manager David Farrell married his bride Louise on August 30th. We wish them a lifetime of happiness together.

Fame At Last!


Nigel Higgins (Handrails & Balustrades Surveyor)

Above is a screen capture of Newsnight’s show on 30th June 2008. It was filmed at the new Charnwood Health Centre, for which we supplied a stainless steel balustrade, which can be seen in the picture.

Obituaries Tony Faulkner 1951 - 2008

It is with deep sadness that we announce Tony Faulkner passed away on 17 th September 2008. Tony joined Laidlaw in March 2001 and was employed in the Willenhall warehouse where he could be heard singing his favourites songs; ‘Needles & Pins’, ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Bad Moon Rising’ in preparation for Friday nights on the Karaoke machine at the Royal Oak. Tony will be sadly missed by all those who knew him. Our thoughts are with his wife Olive, his daughters Toni and Joanne and his grandchildren, Aaron, Joseph, Katie and Jack. Tony’s funeral took place on 30th September 2008 and the overcrowded church was evidence of Tony’s popularity. A Tribute From Tony’s Fishing Buddy, John Cairns “Tony was an out and out match fisherman and a very good one. He was taught, as most youngsters are, by his father who sadly died only a couple of months before Tony. He was at one point sponsored by a tackle shop in Bridgnorth, Shropshire and fished national championships for them, in which one year he came third and was very pleased with that result. He loved to fish competitions and won his fair share of them. His weekend treat was to fish a competition at a venue called The Boldings Bridgnorth. In the past has been known to fish on Saturday, the Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. After his family, whom he often talked about, he loved his fishing.

On the annual fishing day competition, sponsored by Arrow door closers, to which Laidlaw are always invited, he was always in the top three and was delighted a couple of years ago to win it. Readers may recall seeing a picture of Tony in the Laidlaw magazine receiving a very nice trophy presented by Geoff Edgar of Arrow door closers. Tony was always generous with his advice concerning fishing, always ready to help discuss a point or to help the less able improve their fishing technique. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”

Terry Caro

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Terry Caro. Terry was a founder member of the Laidlaw Thomson Group whom he joined in 1977, and he became the 1930 - 2008 influence behind the many acquisitions which gave the Group a position of unparalleled strength in the industry. The Newman Tonks purchase of the group in 1989 ended the association. Whilst Terry’s role in Laidlaw was always at main board level, he always gave his time to all staff, especially those based in the old Manchester premises. His endearing personality was always respected. Terry developed symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease in 1994 and endured increasing disability. He died of pneumonia on September 9 th 2008.His funeral took place on Sept 18th, the packed church testament to his popularity. He leaves two sons, two daughters and three grandchildren. Thanks to Mike O’Brien for writing Terry’s obituary.


Meet The Team

Focus On Dubai

Chris Welford (General Manager) Chris is British and used to be Head of Corporate Accounts at Laidlaw. He has lived and worked in Dubai previous to his current Laidlaw role, in the 70’s and 80’s. Chris is a keen sailor, active tennis player and a rugby enthusiast (though sadly only watching). Ashraf Salah (Sales Manager) Ashraf is Kuwaiti born but of Egyptian nationality. He has a titanium knee from an old football accident.


Liz Bilton (Senior Contracts Administrator) British and ex-Laidlaw, Liz was a Branch Manager for the Cambridge and Leeds offices and internal & external sales for Sheffield. Prasad Nair (Senior Sales Consultant) Indian born Prasad is a member of the Door and Hardware Institute in the United States. He has recently been back to India to celebrate the birth of his second child.


Yasser Aly Shaarawy (Sales and Marketing Executive) Yasser is Egyptian and was a body builder in his prime. Yasser holds a degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Cairo University. Abdelaziz ’Aziz’ Elakary (Sales and Contracts Administrator) Aziz is, according to Chris, an Egyptian axe murderer still on the run! Perhaps this is one of Chris’s notorious jokes? We can only hope so... Rolando Azarcon (Warehouseman) Rolando is Filipino and studied Criminology at Auraullo University in the Philippines.


And The Rest... John Estrada (Accounts Controller), and Bruce Lee (Scheduler/Estimator) who is joining in December. 1) Chris, Aziz, Ashraf, Yasser and Liz pause during a busy day to pose for Laidlaw News 2) Ashraf, Prasad, Yasser, Chris and our very own Clive Edgley 3) Rolando moving stock in the warehouse 4) Ashraf, Aziz and Yasser, also known as the ‘Egyptian Mafia’ 5) A view of the Dubai office


Achievements Laidlaw Gulf has already secured a contract to supply the new Holiday Inn Express in Dubai. Even better, they have been nominated as one of only three ironmongery suppliers to the Al Raha Beach development (a joint venture between Aldar and Laing O’Rourke), with three specific contracts awarded including the prestigious Headquarters Building for the client, Aldar, plus the exclusive Al Muneera and Al Khubeira developments in the Khor Al Raha precinct. Visit for an in depth view of this fantastic project.


6) Ashraf sorting out a delivery

6 As part of continual efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, this brochure was printed on FSC approved paper stock which originates from well-managed forests, controlled sources and recycled wood or fibre as indicated by the logos to the left.

Laidlaw News Autumn 2008 Edition  

A newsletter for all Laidlaw employees

Laidlaw News Autumn 2008 Edition  

A newsletter for all Laidlaw employees