March has seen many developments, but it has been also a tale of two very diverse stories this month, with it containing a celebration and a very sad farewell.
Colin Boyle was a long serving employee of 9 years, who retired over 9 years ago, whilst we were at our last premises on Forge Lane, Cradley Heath. Colin was our estimator for windows for our supply and install side of the business. He was much loved by all our staff so it was an emotional goodbye to a lovely gentleman.
To the other extreme, Walter Howells, our Managing Director has celebrated his 70th birthday this month!
He started the business in 1973 in the front room of his 2 up 2 down in Walsall with his wife Patricia. At that time he was supplier and subcontract labour only. The business developed over the next 10 years and by that time they moved to an office only above Castle Glass just outside Dudley Town Centre. As the business grew, Walter decided better control was needed for the manufacturing process and lead times, so he took the leap and brought his first manufacturing premises in Junction Street in Dudley, West Midlands.
At this time he started to employ more and more people and these included 2 of his 3 children. Gary, moved into manufacturing and sales and Debbie into accounts and admin. It was not long after this that Dave joined the company in around 1996 and this saw the beginning of the development of office and admin staff support.
In 1997, the business could no longer operate with the limitations of the small factory, so another move occured to a 13000 sq ft factory on Forge Lane, Cradley Heath. Walters remaining daughter joined the team, as a PA and contract support at this point. The staff levels increased to around 25 people here and manufacturing was happening all the time, even weekends to catch up.
It is also during this time frame that Walter joined CAB (council for aluminium in building), he became chairman of the Patent Glazing division and was pivitble in writing the standards for Patent Glazing.
Manufacturing really took off by 2008 and more space was needed to really develop the Rooflight side of the business. A new 20000 sq ft factory was acquired, on Woods Lane, Cradley Heath and this is where we reside today. Our staff have increased to 40 people and our accounts have never been stronger.
Phew! Its safe to say that there have been a lot of moves and changes over the years and not to mention the impact of the recessions and high interest rates, but Walter has weathered all the storms to realize great success and respect from his peers.