10 minutes with... Gareth Brunton
The decision to join a small fledgling business 13 years ago has paid off for the firm’s new managing director.
Gareth Brunton has been managing director of Bender UK for almost nine months and in such a short time he’s already seen some changes.
Appointed in May last year, Mr Brunton has been settling into his new role and has seen the firm move into its new purpose built premises on Low Mill Business Park in Ulverston.
With three times as much space as the previous space it held on the same business park, the new premises gives the company the chance to expand and grow in the coming years.
“The last 18 months have been good. Obviously since May 1, I’ve been in my role as a managing director, my previous role was as operations director for the company.
“Since I took over as the managing director, it’s been a very different role to the one I was in previously, it’s a lot more employee-focussed and on the business in general rather than just the healthcare section which is what I used to work on.
“When I first joined there were seven people in the company and we’ve now got 43, soon to be 44, so it’s a very different place to where we were originally but what we’re trying to do is maintain the ethos.”
“When I joined 13 years ago, I joined from Kimberley Clark, the corporate global company, and I joined a smaller company which I could see the potential in.
“Steve Mason, who was the former MD, was a guy I had used to work with at Kimberley Clark and he sold me the vision of what the company could do and I liked what I saw.
“So, I decided to take the plunge leaving a good job with plenty of perks and benefits that come from working for a larger firm and some people thought I was absolutely crazy, and it was a significant wage drop and I can honestly say I’ve never regretted a second of it.”
“There’s been quite a lot of changes over the last 18 months, we’ve had a lot of new staff, probably around six new people in the last 18 months.
“We’ve got a new building across the road from the previous one, but three times as big and a modern facility that’s state of the art and gives us room to do seminars and host events which we couldn’t do in the old building and there’s room for expansion too.
“There’s been a lot of focus on the new building, it’s been around a £3m investment in us by the German owners which shows that they’ve got some faith in us.”
“When I joined, we were probably taking just over £1m in turnover, half of which will have been from healthcare, and now this year healthcare alone is in the region of £9-10m and a lot of the staff are employed in that sector.
“So that’s really good and the service side of the business continues to grow, we have contracts with over 300 hospitals across the UK and I don’t think anyone could have seen that happening and it’s just grown and grown.
“The focus now is to continue to develop the healthcare market where we have a good name and reputation by adding some additional products into the portfolio like surgical lights, theatre lights and audio visual equipment.”
“But we’re also looking at getting into the markets where we’ve never really done anything, if you look at Bender as a global company, they’ve got eight key markets and healthcare is just one of them.
“Utilities, renewable energy, e-mobility and electric vehicles are growing markets and are something that Bender as a company globally are massively involved in.