Page 1

Spring 2009 Inside... Welcome // Ask A Question // HR Update // Access Control // Laidlaw Quiz // GAI Awards // Investing In Our Future // Our People // A magazine for all Laidlaw employees

Laidlaw: Investing In Our Future Who is Mike blessing?

[To find out, turn to page 6]

We exhibit our Orbis Integra Doorsets range at this years Futurebuild exhibition, and more of our staff are awarded their diplomas at the recent GAI Awards. [See centre pages]

2 Dear Colleagues, Welcome to the Spring Edition of Laidlaw News. In this feature we look back at our recent successes from the GAI Awards Ceremony and we also look to the future, with our new Integra door range being exhibited at the recent Futurebuild Exhibition in London. We also share in the celebrations of some of our people, learn more about what Vicki Chilton gets up to after 5pm and unmask our new Laidlaw Fashion Icon - Myleene Klass beware! From a business perspective we have been forced to make some tough decisions of late as we have had to adjust our cost base in order to position our business for the turbulent market conditions the construction sector is now facing as a result of the credit crunch. On behalf of everyone at Laidlaw I would like to thank all of those colleagues who have recently left our company for their support and commitment during their time with us. We wish them well in their search for work and in their future careers. Finally, a special mention to Bill Roberts who recently retired after serving over 20 years with Laidlaw at our Sheffield Branch. Bill is a legend in the industry and was instrumental in helping position our Sheffield operation as one of the leading AI Branches in the country. Testimony to Bill‟s popularity was the fact that many customers and suppliers joined us for Bill‟s retirement luncheon held recently at the branch. We wish Bill the best of health and happiness in his retirement.

John Jefferies Managing Director

Ask A Question

With Vicki Chilton Assistant Branch Manager (Gateshead)

What does all your money go on? What is your guilty pleasure? Socialising (I practically have shares in my Going back to bed after my partner leaves for local pub!) work at 5am! What did you want to be when you were What is the phrase or word you use most growing up? often? Smaller... anyone who knows me will know „At the end of the day…‟ (yes, it REALLY bugs why! me too!). What was the last film you watched? What’s your favourite gadget? Lethal Weapon 2 (you still can‟t beat a bit of This would have to be my mobile phone… I Mel Gibson!) don‟t think I could function properly without it!

“Sounds like an advert for lonely hearts!”

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three things with you, what would they be? My mobile phone (praying there was a signal), my hubby-to-be (he can cook a mean curry!) and a luxury yacht (or in my case a rowing boat!). Is that cheating?

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I would rather have all my family and friends with me than anyone famous, any day! What is the most important lesson life has taught you? To have no regrets!

Where would you go on your dream holiday? What is your secret talent? I quite like the idea of cosy log cabin in the Ten pin bowling… although I‟m probably a bit snow. We‟ve missed out up north this winter! rusty now! What annoys you the most? What is your favourite meal? Bus and taxi drivers… they think they rule the I am a huge fan of curry… the hotter the roads! better! Describe yourself in three words. If someone offered to buy you a drink, what Tall, Blonde and Bubbly (sounds like an advert would you ask for? for lonely hearts!). Mine‟s a Bailey‟s… a double on ice of course!


HR Update

Laidlaw Quiz


Want to win £25 in vouchers? Play the quiz and you could be in with a chance!

Ian Hopkinson Michael Spoors Julie Russell

Group Operations Director Willenhall Access Control Specialist North Credit Control Manager Willenhall

Leavers Keith Moore Steve Timmins Alison Towle Allan Malaney John Robertson Craig Fairgrieve Lawrence Crane Paul Alexander Steve Jukes Lee Hodgkinson Martin Rendle Keith Evans Melissa Walker Debbie Rayner Brian Griffiths Hamish Gordon Chris Picken Phil Hassall Declan Fox David Rhead Victoria Cardus

IT Controller Warehouse Operative Key Account Manager Contracts Driver Key Account Manager Major Projects Manager Warehouse Operative Key Account Manager Warehouse Operative Warehouse Operative Estimator Team Leader Purchasing Warehouse Operative Key Account Manager Sales Admin Support Estimator Estimator Management Accountant Sales Admin Support

Salford Willenhall London Glasgow Perth Perth Doorsets Perth Willenhall Willenhall Sheffield Doorsets Doorsets Willenhall Liverpool South West Kinmel Bay Salford London Willenhall Liverpool

Retired Bill Roberts



GEOGRAPHY 1) Where would you find Beauchief Abbey? TECHNOLOGY 2) What does VPN stand for? SPORT 3) Which Yorkshire man was the only scorer in Laidlaw‟s match against Denholme in the 2008 ROK Real Man Cup? HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION? 4) What is Anne-Marie McSherry‟s favourite drink? COMPANY KNOWLEDGE 5) What is the name of our new online newsletter for customers? LANGUAGE 6) Can you solve this anagram? Blitz Lion PICTURE ROUND 7) Whose eyes are these? 8) Whose mouth 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 before May 15th 2009! Last issue‟s winner was Chris Picken in Kinmel Bay.

Lightbulb Scheme Access Control Below are the winners of the Lightbulb Scheme since the last issue. They each win a £50 gift voucher! If you have an idea, please send it to

Laidlaw are making greater inroads into the access control market, having set up a specialist team to focus on this area, and the launch of a new brochure.

November Winner

December Winner

Gareth Tidmarsh (Estimator - Cardiff)

Shafiq Sharif (Marketing Manager)

Most branches have “spares” or odds and ends (e.g. forends/strike plates for locks, door closer parts) in their warehouses. We should put requests for spares on OWL, to save ordering them from manufacturers.

Shafiq‟s idea was to bind blank A4 sheets of paper that are considered to be scrap by stapler, spirals or glue, and therefore stop the purchase of A4 pads throughout the business.

The security and access of buildings is a very complex matter and our expertise is to help clients determine how the building should operate. They need to allow free access wherever it is required for convenience but also to restrict access to other areas or at certain times of the day. By combining all the products at our disposal Laidlaw can build up a system which not only establishes how access into and within the building is set up but, just as importantly, we determine how that system is maintained and managed.

January Winner

February Winner

Carol Bridgwood (Credit Control - Willenhall)

Mike Busby (Estimator - Willenhall)

The external lights at Willenhall are on during the day and when it‟s time to go home they are off. We should fit a timer to come on when employees are leaving the building at 5.00pm.

Log specification and project support from suppliers on SharePoint so that branches can see what is available for each project.

Laidlaw offer access control solutions from a wide variety of suppliers ranging from fully automated door entry systems, to standalone mechanical code locks and fully integrated electronic building access management systems. We have been very successful in selling these systems but usually in a very fragmented way. Saturn have also been very successful in this field with a number of highly complex systems supplied to a variety of blue chip clients over many years. Now, with Laidlaw and Saturn coming together, it has become clear that between us we have a great opportunity to expand and strengthen our offer into this market. As a result we have developed a clear product strategy and have set up a focused team centred around Saturn‟s Keith Clare-Brown and John Darby and Laidlaw‟s Mick Spoors and Dave Antonio. The new brochure helps give better focus to our product offer and a flavour of what we can do for our clients. We expect this to become a much bigger part of our business over the next few years and are confident we have a great team in place to drive this forward.

Peter O’Brien Commercial Director

1) Cardiff 2) Socrates 3) John Jones 4) A vet 5) ISO14001 6) Bernie Rogers 7) Debra Yates 8) Peter O‟Brien

(Winter Answers)

Laidlaw Quiz


Investing In Our Future

Earls Court Exhibition Centre London was the venue once again for this year‟s Futurebuild + Ecobuild Exhibition in March and Laidlaw were proud to be exhibiting alongside its Orbis Integra Doorsets European supply partner Berkvens on a very large 108 square metre stand. Futurebuild + Ecobuild comprise the world‟s biggest annual event for sustainability and innovation in design, construction and the built environment. Although the key focus was the innovative quick and easy fixing method of our Orbis Integra metal frame and door package, we took the opportunity to exhibit all our wares from ironmongery to doors and handrail & balustrading. The three day event proved to be a great showcase for flying the corporate flag and although the leads we gathered are still being followed up, the team felt it was well worth being present. We were complimented by many existing customers and suppliers as well as visitors on stand design and layout. Berkvens employed their own contracting team and started building the stand three days earlier making it on time and to budget for the opening on the Tuesday. To compliment the products and doors on display, there was an installation video running on a 42” plasma screen highlighting the ease of installation of our doorset package. This was then further supported by live demonstrations by one of the Berkvens‟ top installers every 15 minutes to further endorse the speed of installation. The installer averaged a time of 2 minutes 20 seconds across forty installations over the three days. Our literature to the market claims a comfortable 15 minutes to do the same job on-site. Having got the taste for this our inaugural exhibition, there are plans to look go it alone in the future and feature at other exhibitions. Watch this space! Special thanks go to Nigel Bligh, David Manley, Wayne Gardner, David Hough, Karen Armstrong and the Berkvens Team for supporting me on the stand... hope the feet have stopped aching now!

Shafiq Sharif Marketing Manager

Top: Wayne Gardner, David Manley, Shafiq Sharif and Nigel Bligh

Middle: Nigel Bligh, John Jefferies and David Manley

Bottom: David Hough, David Manley, John Jefferies, Shafiq Sharif and Nigel Bligh

GAI Award Winners


Our three new diploma holders talk about their experiences of the course and of the recent GAI Awards Ceremony.

Andy Moore (Scheduler - Barnstaple) The GAI exam is certainly not for the faint hearted, my worst experience since school exams! This doesn‟t mean I never studied; I hit the books for 15 hours a week from January to June. Still, my efforts weren‟t in vain; when I opened the letter from the Education Committee I found I‟d gained a Pass, what a good feeling! You don‟t get your results for a couple of months though, so they make you sweat for a while. The awards day was a real blast, firstly meeting the all the staff at Store Street then to the speeches and the prize giving at the event itself, the grub wasn‟t bad either! All in all, well worth the time and effort.

Matthew Jones (Assistant Branch Manager - Salford) Upon arrival at our London branch we were given a tour around the branch and Building Centre where we got to look at all the work that has been generated for the 2012 London Olympics on a scaled down plan of London. We then made our away across London to the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. The lunch event went smoothly and this year saw the arrival of the new GAI president Andrew Hall of Geze UK Ltd, and the appointment of our own John Jefferies as the GAI treasurer. The after dinner entertainment was given by Kriss Akabusi MBE, who was surprisingly entertaining and managed to relate his life experiences to that of an Architectural Ironmonger. Legend. After the event we were then able to socialise with our colleagues and fellow award winners that we have come to know from the GAI training days. Overall the event went well and was a good finale to the three years of hard work put into achieving the diploma.

Mark Alker (Key Account Manager - Salford) I have to say that I enjoyed the whole GAI experience, from the early learning days to the awards ceremony... I didn‟t enjoy the exams so much though! I achieved a distinction in scheduling and a pass in law and finance which I was very pleased with since I never had the opportunity to go on the residential course for the law and finance part and that was the part I was most afraid of. I'd like to thank Mike O'Brien and Rachel Tipton for all their help with the scheduling side of the exam, as I don't think I would have done any where near as good as I did without their help. I‟d also like to say thank you to every one who was on our table at the awards ceremony on the day, as they all made it an unforgettable occasion.

Right: Andrew Hall (President

of the GAI and MD of Geze), Wayne Harris (Outgoing President and MD of Harbrine), Kriss Akabusi, Phil Newson (Vice President of the GAI and Chief Executive of Allgood) along with our own MD, John Jefferies. Accompanying our winners, Kriss Akabusi and Andrew Hall in the photos above is Keith Mayer, Chair of the Education Committee.


Our People

Birthday Wishes 30 Years With Laidlaw

Daniel Kane (Contracts Co-ordinator Gateshead)

Hazel Sinclair

A very happy birthday to Dan, who turned eighteen on March 17th! Dan has been working with Laidlaw since July 2007, and all his colleagues from the Gateshead branch wanted to give him a special mention this issue. Happy 18th, Dan!

If you have any stories to share, please send them to

(Sales Co-ordinator - Perth) Hazel Sinclair celebrated 30 years with the company on the 4th December 2008. Congratulations Hazel, and here‟s to many more years to come!

Nigel Higgins (Draughtsman - Willenhall) Another milestone birthday, Nigel turned 40 on March 25th! Nigel has been employed in the Handrail & Balustrade department of Laidlaw since March 1990! Happy Birthday from your colleagues, and all here at Laidlaw!

What A Chameleon!

White Wedding

Mike Brittain

Sharon Darby

(Regional Sales Director)

(Product Manager)

Pope Mike I

We married on Sunday 23rd November at Oak Farm Hotel Cannock and had a lovely day surrounded by close friends & family. My son Michael gave me away and made me very proud. We went on to have a week in a very chilly, but very lovely Paris.

Above we see Mike Brittain at Willenhall‟s Christmas party blessing sales coordinator Sue Fellows. Who would have thought Mike would have the time to take on the responsibility of being a pope along with his Laidlaw duties!

Rugby Warrior Mike Mike is also a star rugby player for Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club! As you can see from the match report extract from their official newsletter, shown below, Mike is still a rugby legend, four decades after his passion began!

I‟m sure you‟ll join all of us in congratulating Sharon and Robin, and wishing them all the best for their future together.


Having been chosen by New Look‟s community site to model some of their new denim range, due out for sale in the summer, myself and three others travelled down to London on Friday 23rd January. I had never really been there before, so I was very excited. Upon arriving at the New Look offices we were quickly shown round the building, introduced to the team and then whisked off to the photo shoot which was located at the offices of Saatchi & Saatchi. After being introduced to more members of the team (art director, photographer, cameraman, makeup artist, stylist, etc) we were then taken to be made over and then spent the rest of the day being photographed and filmed. The shoot was for New Look‟s Most Wanted magazine which is out now inside Cosmopolitan, LOOK and Heat magazines, and is also available in New Look stores. Also, please sponsor me in this years Race For Life!

Top: Debra Yates and Kirsty Williamson being interviewed for New Look by Simi.


The com petition winners, from left to right: Tom Brom wich, Kirsty Williamson, Amy James and Debra Yates.

Switch On For Diabetes

Laidlaw Kids

Robert Fenn

Claire Horney (Contracts Coordinator - Willenhall)

(Scheduler - Barnstaple) Every Christmas we decorate our house with hundreds of lights. It would be difficult to stop now as lots of people keep asking „when are you going to have your switch-on party with mince pies and mulled wine?‟ We get hundreds of visitors over the Christmas period; lots of people walking, in cars and the old people‟s home even hires mini buses to visit. We have won the Best Decorated Street in North Devon award. We usually collect for charity, be that the local children's hospice, Cancer Research, British Heart Foundation, but this year it was a charity closer to home. We collected for the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, as a lot of the ladies in our family suffer with the problem. I hope one day they will come up with a cure or at least some way to alleviate the side effects so that sufferers can lead a healthier and better lifestyle.

Claire Horney and Jimmy Tonks‟ (former Handrails & Balustrades staff member) new arrival Keira Louise Tonks was born on 26th September 2008 and weighed in at 7lb 6oz. Both parents are doing very well. Thanks to Debra Yates for sending us the photo.


Happy Retirement Bill Roberts (Estimator - Sheffield) Bill Roberts retired on the 25th February 2009. Bill‟s career with Laidlaw started on the 1st May 1980 when he became a director of Laidlaw Thomson (appointed by David Whitworth). In 1985 he then became Sales Manager of B H Widdowson, a subsidiary of Laidlaw, and then in 1988 General Manager of Laidlaw Eastern. In 1990 he was appointed director of Newman Tonks/Thomas Laidlaw. Over the last 6 to 7 years Bill continued to support the Sheffield Branch in his role in internal sales and estimating, often quoting his famous phase “Let‟s make some bread!” I would personally like to thank Bill for all his support over the last few years and we all wish him a very happy and long retirement. Top: (Left to right) David Whitworth, Keith Brewster, John Jefferies, Bill Roberts and Barry Tidmarsh.

Bottom Left: Bill Roberts hard at work before his retirement. Bottom Right: Mick Tomlinson from Henry Boot Construction wishing Bill all the best. Article by Simon Marr. Photographs by Robin Gissing and Neville Jackman.

Laidlaw Slimmer Chris Lamb (Business Development Manager)


A warm May morning back in 2007, I awoke to a severe pain in my chest; I lay in bed for some time waiting for the pain to ease. Eventually I rose and prepared to get ready for a steady ride over Cannock Chase. I went into the garden to pick an empty plastic bucket up when, bam the pain was back. This time it crippled me, I lay on the lawn unable to move doubled up in pain and my breathing severely restricted. I tried to call for help but with every gasp of air the pain intensified. I slowly crawled back into the kitchen - paramedics were called. This all sounds very dramatic, but I thought my time was up and at 38, a bit too soon! While in hospital many tests were done. Fortunately all I had managed to do was tear an intercostals muscle, but as the consultant said it often gets mistaken for a heart attack. One of the tests done was to check my cholesterol level, which turned out to be 8.1. This obviously concerned the doctors, as did the answers I gave to some of their ensuing questions. They asked what I weighed (19 stone), did I smoke (no) and did I drink (yes, mostly wine) and how much. I said to this „maybe a couple a night‟. The doctors replied that one or two glasses of wine a night was fine. I had to correct them at this point; I had meant a couple of bottles, not glasses! Yep, they looked at me, then at each other, then closed their files as if to say „stop all the tests, we‟ve found the route of the problem‟. It was during that period that I realised that the previous 10 years of corporate entertainment had taken its toll. A serious life style change was needed. The problem I had wasn‟t motivation, but at my weight actually doing serious exercise was very tiring and dangerous to my joints. I needed to lose weight in order to exercise, so I started eating porridge in the morning with wheat bran to lower the dreaded cholesterol. Then I went on to the Ultra Life Slim drinks, taking one to work during the day, instead of a sandwich and pork pie, and one at night or a light evening meal dependant on what exercise I was doing. I kept to the Ultra Life regime, importantly keeping off the wine and lager over the period. The weight started to drop off. This was all picked up by Ultra Life‟s PR company who contacted The Sun and, as usual, made out that they did all the coaching and nutritional advice. I only met them once at the photo shoot in London! So how did I do? Well on May19th 2007, I weighed 19 stone, 3 months later I weighted 15.5 stone. 3.5 stone in 3 months. I have changed my diet completely now, trying to eating 5 times a day (where I can) and exercise 6 times a week. I do have a drink but not two bottles of wine every night (as that‟s equivalent to 2 cakes a night!). I got down to 14 stone last year but unfortunately in November 2008 I prolapsed a disc in my neck which crushed the spinal cord. I put a few pounds on while recovering (10lbs in total) but am back training now, albeit slowly. Hopefully I‟ll get back down to 14 stone by June. Setting goals was important for me, not only for weight loss but also activities, holidays, events, etc. One of my activities was mountain biking. The guys at ‟Mammoth‟, my local bike shop in Stafford, noticed my interest in the sport and encouraged me to enter my first ever competitive event, a 100km mountain bike ride over and around the Welsh mountains of Ruthin. Without the weight loss this would never have been possible, and I completed the course. I didn‟t win but that was never the intention. Last year I completed the very tough Trans-Wales event - seven days of mountain biking over Wales, covering 550km and climbing a total of 16,000m (Everest is 8853m). Next year I will compete in either the Trans-Alps or Trans-Rockies; similar distances, but with bears! Read Chris‟s article at

EMS 531228

RS 10508


Laidlaw News Spring 2009 Edition  

A newsletter for all Laidlaw employees