Simon Webb, Managing Director of Bri-Stor Systems knows all about hard work. Leaving school in the 80s, his first experience of engineering came about when he started a four-year Mechanical Technician Apprenticeship at Portsmouth based firm Dunham-Bush Ltd. Gaining a vast amount of experience in the fundamentals of engineering in those first four years, Simon knew that continuing his education while learning ‘on the job’ would be his golden ticket to an exciting and rewarding future.
Simon tells us more about his early career, what motivated him along the way and how his career path continues to influence his decisions today: “As a kid I loved making things, but equally I loved taking things apart so I could see how they worked, so it was no surprise to my parents that as soon as I was able, I wanted to start my career in mechanical engineering. The first few years of my career were hard work, not necessarily in terms of manual labour, but studying and working really stretched me, particularly when you’ve come straight from school into the workplace – it takes some adjustment. That said, I loved that I could earn a living and continue my studies and in actual fact, I spent several years continuing to balance the two, embracing every opportunity to get ahead in my career while learning at the same time.”
After completing his initial Apprenticeship, Simon achieved an HNC in Mechanical & Production Engineering and quickly followed this by obtaining an ONC in Electrical / Electronic Engineering. Enjoying his role as a Design Engineer, working for several firms in the South of England, Simon moved into the automotive industry in 1999 and his career took off working as a Project Engineer for Autoliv Ltd, a global manufacturer of Airbag Safety Systems. Simon continues: “At this point in my career I knew that to move to the next level of management I really needed to achieve an engineering degree so with a full-time job and significant responsibility I took the plunge. Four years later and I achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering & Business from Southampton University – it was exhausting, yet exhilarating but really propelled my career.”
Fast forward to 2009 and with world-class experience at Autoliv Group and Bentley Motors, Simon joined the Bri-Stor Group as Engineering Manager and worked his way through operational roles to become Managing Director in 2019. Reflecting on his own career, Simon has immense respect for colleagues that have the drive and determination to advance their own careers, he says: “Having been through every level of the education system I have huge respect for the Apprentices joining the Bri-Stor Group today. Ultimately, I’ve been that lad on the shopfloor so I know how daunting it can be, which is why I remain entirely committed to ensuring our Apprentices get every opportunity to thrive. It’s tough out there. Finding a career in the highly competitive world of manufacturing and engineering is not easy – which is why we will always value the Apprentices that see a future with us. Individually, they put their trust in us to nurture their skills and from a Group perspective, we will always go above and beyond to give Apprentices an exciting career with us.”
Growing up in Staffordshire, just a few miles from the family business, Martin Smith spent much of his childhood watching his parents build Bri-Stor Systems Limited (Bri-Stor is an abbreviation of British Storage). Today, as CEO of the Bri-Stor Group, he reflects on his own career and the tough lessons he learned along the way
Group HR Manager
At just 17, Karen joined the Bri-Stor Group as a receptionist. Unsure of her career path at that point, she loved the vibrant atmosphere of the Bri-Stor Group. Today, almost three decades on, Karen holds the most senior HR position across the Group
New Product Development Manager
Describing the new product development (NPD) team at Bri-Stor Systems, NPD Manager Stefan Callear explains that the team’s broad range of expertise and skills gives them a unique advantage when it comes to bringing value to the engineering process.
With almost 30 years working in the Bri-Stor Group, Neil Prescott has seen the business from every perspective. It’s with this unique insight that Neil leads the prototype team and works closely with engineering colleagues to deliver the industry’s most advanced van conversion systems.
Customer Handover Manager
Joining Bri-Stor Systems in January 2020 as Customer Handover Manager, Andy Skelton is entirely focused on the customer experience. With first-class credentials working as a service manager for one of the world’s leading automotive brands before becoming an account manager in the van conversion sector