There is no doubt that last year was incredibly busy for the team at Howe Green. There were many changes – new people, new processes, new systems, some challenges and lots of opportunities. As we mark the first anniversary of our acquisition we thought it would be appropriate to reflect on what was a remarkable year in the company’s history.
January – New Year, New Start, New Opportunities
In January 2017 we entered our 34th year in business. Over three decades we have become one of the world’s leading manufacturers for floor, wall and ceiling access solutions. When we started out in 1983 our main customers were the supermarkets. Our access covers helped overcome the problem of accessing services concealed under terrazzo flooring. Now Howe Green access covers are used in a wide range of applications – from airports to universities, from breweries to railways.
January 2017 saw the first anniversary of the start of our building extension work, undertaken by local contractors Leary Brothers. We documented the progress of the project in a short video for our YouTube channel. A year on and we were amazed at how rapidly we grew into the additional floor space! How did we manage without it?
February – The Month of Love
We all know that February is the month of love. We decided to focus on some self-love. We reviewed our marketing, renewed our commitment to PR in the trade press and invested in making our website more secure with an SSL Certificate.
March – A Momentous Point in Time
March was the month Howe Green was to see the biggest change yet in the company’s history. After 34 years as a family owned and run business, Howe Green was acquired by Amesbury Truth, a subsidiary of London based Tyman Plc. The acquisition was to support Bilco UK - manufacturers of speciality access products. Bilco UK primarily serve the commercial market with access solutions such as roof access hatches, ladders and smoke vents.
To begin supporting Bilco’s offering of “safe access all areas” we bid farewell to the Centa brothers and welcomed new Managing Director James Fisher. James, who has been the Managing Director of Bilco since October 2014, took on the additional role. Bilco and Howe Green products are often specified in the same projects. By working in collaboration we can now offer building service professionals an even better, more comprehensive service.
April – The Next Step
In April Howe Green and Bilco UK, became part of the home security specialists ERA.
Based in the West Midlands and established in 1838, ERA is another division of Tyman Plc. Over time, ERA has evolved from manufacturing locks to becoming a specialist in the design and manufacture of window and door hardware and home security alarm systems.
With Howe Green, Bilco and ERA having shared values and complementary product ranges, we now have an incredibly powerful proposition for the construction market.
June – Summer Olympics
One project we promoted quite heavily throughout June was the redevelopment of the former London Olympic site. During the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games, the International Press and Broadcast Centre played host to the world’s media.
4 years later, the centre underwent a commercial redevelopment to become Here East - the exciting digital quarter for East London.
For this project, 12 of our 7500 Series Medium Duty Access Covers were specified by architect Hawkins\Brown for the office spaces within BT Sport.
The covers were specified to match the existing raised flooring system and were installed in corridors throughout the building to provide safe and easy access to access junctions in the drainage system. You can read about the project in more detail here. (https://www.howegreen.com/access-covers/projects/international-press-broadcast-centre-london.php)
July – A Growing Team
July saw the appointment of the first new member of the management team with the recruitment of Warren Tyce as Production Manager.
Warren has over 30 years of experience of working within a production environment. He started his career as a toolmaker at Ford Motor Company before progressing onto the role of Production Systems Coordinator.
Having spent 20 years at Ford, Warren left to join Philips Consumer Lifestyle as Manufacturing Engineer. In recent years, Warren has used his experience to focus on developing his career around the specialised production areas of lean manufacturing, now applying his expertise within Howe Green.
August – Moving On Up
August saw the news of Sales Administrator, Sarah Bray, promoted to Office Manager. Sarah has worked at Howe Green since 2006 and is a valued member of the team. With her extensive company knowledge, strong work ethic and commitment she was the perfect fit for the role of Office Manager.
September – Schools Out… Apprentices In
September is the month when many young people are returning to school, college or university to continue their education. Others prefer to earn while they learn. Apprenticeships are continuing to offer an attractive alternative to full-time education. They provide young people with both qualifications and the experience of working in a real industry environment. At Howe Green, we are committed to the supporting Apprenticeships.
The first apprentice we welcomed was Matthew Drake who joined the production team as an Engineering Apprentice. During his time with Howe Green Matthew will be undertaking an NVQ in Engineering at Hertford Regional College.
The second apprentice to join us was Elizabeth Jones. Elizabeth was recruited as a Sales and Administration apprentice working within the Customer Service team. Elizabeth is studying for a Level 2 Customer Services Practitioner NVQ.
October – Trick or Treat
Our “treat” in October was the appointment of Imran Coowar as Senior Mechanical Engineer. Imran is working alongside Design Engineer, Marco Kerin, designing access solutions for our customers and then preparing the technical drawings for our production team to manufacture.
Managing Director James Fisher participated in a charity event to raise money for St Nicholas Hospice Care - I’m a CEO… Get Me Out of Here. That definitely was not a treat for James!
Based on the popular TV Series I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, James completed a series of tasks including a gruesome eating challenge. Eating pig eye, snout, ear and brains was not pleasant but James did manage to raise over £2500 for the Hospice. Impressive!
October also saw the opening of Westgate Oxford. We were very happy that over 80 of our 7500 Series Medium Duty Access Covers were specified by architect Chapman Taylor LLP for this high profile development.
November – Big Numbers
In November we achieved a small milestone with our YouTube channel when we recorded the highest number of monthly views since the channel was set up in 2010.
We were busy in November supplying access covers for Europe’s largest construction project - Crossrail. Howe Green has supplied over 400 access covers to Tier 1 contractors involved in the project so far.
December – No Time for Winding Down
Even as Christmas and the end of the year loomed there was still no time for winding down!
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team we ended 2017 recording our highest level of sales ever! A huge achievement to say the least.
So wow, what a year it was! We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone we worked with over 2017 – we could not have achieved all we did without you.