Amazing as it may seem I can remember, in the summer of 94, somebody explaining to me what an E-Mail was; surely this would never catch on ……
As I look back over the last 20 years it’s surprising just how many people I have worked with. Many from the Sales Department such as Gordon Dixon, John Walker and Mike Goninan are now enjoying their Retirement as are Ron Evans and Cliff Richardson from the Export Division. From the Lighting Industry more generally, Local Authority Engineers such as Richard Bird and Tony Stephens have also retired whilst some such as Jim Palmer, Alan Higgs and John Sharman are sadly no longer with us. These were all ‘characters’ that left their own distinctive mark on the industry.
We have all noticed that the attitude to ‘Entertaining’ has changed significantly over recent years. Pub Lunches are often discouraged and those attending Corporate Events have to obtain approval from Senior Managers. As well as concerns around the cost of such events (staff taken away from their day to day role) concerns also exist around the environmental impact and the perception that those funding the events will gain undue influence. Certainly, on the larger projects, PQQ’s and tendering have now taken over and are the norm.
The company has, over the years, developed many innovative products including special ‘Architectural ‘columns, High Masts for Network Rail and ‘Art Deco ‘reproduction lanterns for London Underground to name but a few. Our ability to produce ‘bespoke’ lanterns, in small quantities, has helped to set us apart from our competitors and has allowed us to build strong working relationships with our customers. In addition to this our friendly efficient Technical department continues to give a fantastic service to our customers by providing Lighting Designs and Technical advice on a wide range of schemes, both large and small, throughout the world.
Many things have changed in our factories over the years. The Phosco lantern factory at Ware has been extended and improved, to cope with increasing demand, as well as having a large PV roof panel installed. This provides most of the power required to run the factory whilst helping the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. Our column factory in Coleford has been extended and improved with the addition of a Staff Canteen and a re-surfaced yard and car park. Our High Mast factory in Cleckheaton has also been enlarged and improved in recent years in response to market developments. A Showroom has also been added here to service the client base in the North of the country. In addition to developments in the UK, CU Beijing has opened a new ‘Joint Venture ‘High Mast factory to serve the expanding market in China.
Our Technical Director Clive Lane retired some twelve years ago, after 30 years with the company. Clive served two terms as President of The ILE and was very much at the heart of the industry throughout his career. He was succeeded by our current Technical Director David Lodge who joined us from the Maritime Engineering sector. As well as sitting on numerous Technical Committees David has introduced many changes to our Technical Department.This has included gathering together the various departments, Lighting Design, Structural Engineering and New Product Development into one working space. This has aided communication and improved interaction between the teams. He employed Paul Carter as LED Product Manager in 2011. Paul immediately set about designing our new LED range which has re-positioned us in the market and has gained plaudits throughout the Lighting Industry. Subsequently, our approval by Transport for London for the P850/51 to be used on the London Road Network has been a further testament to the quality, style and efficiency of our lanterns.
So as I enter my third decade with CU Phosco I look back with fond memories and look forward to seeing the Company strengthen further and continue to grow, as the next generation begins to take the reins.
I am sure that they will find it as interesting and enjoyable as I have!