Q) How long have you worked in the plastics industry?
A) I have been involved in the trade for 36 years this September!
Q) What sectors have you previously worked in?
A) I have always been involved in the trade (albeit for the first part of my career) primarily as an Injection Mould Toolmaker with some experience of blow making, alloy die cast, thermoforming tooling and general precision engineering.
Q) What do you love about your job?
A) Overwhelmingly, my interest these days lies in the variety and randomness of the enquiries we see arriving on a daily business – with existing customers, or new prospective clients, you never know what will turn up and I never fail to be surprised by the invention of the UK industry.
BIggest high is when a client, or prospective client, utters the words "we've been told this can't be done". This is where the experience comes in and "there is always a way". The fun is in getting to this point with the customer onboard and understanding the solution – through this process we can add real value.
Running a close second to the above is – in my capacity as Technical Director at Nordell – having an active part in shaping Nordell to be "future ready". It's fantastic to see people progress through the business, working within an inclusive environment, where the appropriate tools have been provided by the business to see them excel and the wider business flourish as a direct result.
Q) What's your proudest achievement in your career so far?
A) I think on reflection, my proudest achievement would be taking a start-up business (WSP Ltd) from one employee, namely myself, and an empty factory, and building this into a multi-million-pound business employing 60+ people.
Moreover, there is a degree of pride in knowing that key personnel have played an instrumental part in making the above a success have secured key roles at Nordell to bring their accumulative skills to bear in accelerating the business growth and enhancing the expertise across the wider Nordell business.
Q) What do you think is the biggest change you have seen in the industry over the years?
A) There have been several key changes that have impacted on the UK toolmaking and moulding sector.
I guess, in order:
1. Positive – 3D design software (CAD), which allowed data to be moved globally.
2. Negative – Portugal as an EU subsidised toolmaking power. This started the demise of the UK toolmaking trade.
3. Positive – Microprocessor controlled moulding machines.
4. Positive and Negative – The rise and the continued rise of China as a toolmaking and moulding power.
5. Negative – The very sad demise of the UK toolmaking skill base (something we are working on right now).
6. Positive – A new reality in UK product design. That is, the current crop of young, innovative and now, influential designers have cast off the stigma associated with the use of plastic, that is, with the decline in the number of designers who were trained in the use of metal who always saw plastic as a poor second best. Plastic is now seeing a renaissance, being recyclable in many cases and being developed in innovative ways to make the best use of Biochemistry advances. Plastics are becoming less environmentally impactful, whilst still offering the design freedom the modern design fraternity crave.
Q) Describe a typical day for you.
A) With a day primarily driven by Customer request and interaction, product and business improvement, personnel training and development, every day is different – something I love. The fun is in the challenge, the solution (although fantastic to achieve) means I can move on to a new challenge.
Q) What makes Nordell different?
A) Interesting question. Pretty much every tool, every piece of equipment, and every piece of supporting infrastructure and premises owned by Nordell could be purchased off the shelf and duplicated next door. This could then be staffed with people of similar ability. Would this truly duplicate Nordell? In short ‘no’. The difference is the indefinable blend of skills, experience and values held by the current staff at all levels.
This blend is the ‘difference’ – something we are working hard to reward and strengthen, to accommodate the ongoing growth and to ensure succession management has been fully considered and planned for.
Successfully teaching this ‘difference’ is the biggest challenge.
Q) Where are you from?
A) Born in Worthing in 1966! Apparently, a good year.
Q) Tell us three interesting facts about you.
1) I'm a keen angler, having fished from the age of three years old but now don't go as often as I would like.
2) I'm a keen road cyclist, but my bike is faster than I am – something I'm working on.
3) I'm a keen DIY'er. Having two boys and an old house, there's always something that's broken or been broken and needs fixing.