A Scottish manufacturing firm is to be presented with an award from The Queen’s regional representative for its contribution to international business development.
Woollard & Henry Ltd [W&H], which specialises in engineering services, has become a multi award-winning recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.
The 2020 award is the second time the employee-owned business has picked up the accolade following an extensive application process, as well as meeting a rigorous criteria.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise marks the outstanding achievements by UK businesses in innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.
W&H is set to be presented with the award virtually on Thursday through a video link by the Lord-Lieutenant for Aberdeen, Barney Crockett.
Managing director of W&H, Fred Bowden, said: “There has been a lot of hard work over a number of years which have gone into winning this award.
“It comes off the back of some exceptional growth in international trade with acquisitions such as the PAMA Paper Machinery in Dresden, Germany and Lipex Engineering GmbH in Munich, which specialises in the glass and basalt fibre industry.
“Our award win was announced back in lockdown so we haven’t had a chance to celebrate the win, but receiving the award, virtually, will be a proud moment for all members of the team.
“Needless to say we are delighted with this achievement, and it is testament to the continual hard work our team puts in each day.”
Fred believes employee ownership has had a profound impact on the firm’s ambitions for international trade. W&H picked up its first Queen’s Award in 2009. It was a remarkable achievement considering only a few year’s previously the company’s entire customer base was located in the UK.
Employee ownership expert Carole Leslie has worked with the company for a number of years.
The Ownership Associates founder said: “This is a tremendous achievement for W&H and further outlines the company’s position as an industry leader and standard bearer in international trade.
“It presents a fantastic case for how good leadership, brave strategy and engaged employees who have a stake in their business can buck the trend and be a global presence for Scottish manufacturing.
“W&H’s award is another example on how employee-owned businesses continue to thrive in every sector and continue to raise the bar on business and employee progression.”
W&H began life as a dandy roll specialist, which is a roller covered with embossed wire cloth and used to impart the watermarks in paper.
W&H has been making watermarks in papers since 1873. From its inception the business has expanded its portfolio, and made the decision to go employee-owned in 2002 where the Aberdeen-based company has seen productivity and profits increase ‘tenfold’ over that time.
Fred added: “We embarked on employee ownership in 2002 with 22 employees at our HQ in Aberdeen.
“We now employ 53 members of staff at our HQ, and have a sales office in Manchester, machine shops in Germany and Poland, and an engineering service and design centre in Munich and Frankfurt.
“These acquisitions might not have been possible if it weren’t for the investment in employee ownership and the model being designed for allowing long term decision making and investment.
“We can look to the future, and have the ability to make these longer term decisions, which positively affect the company.”
W&H has been a reliable manufacturing and engineering service provider for nearly 150 years.