Candidate Catch Up - Chris Hellier, Unwin Safety Systems
Moon Consulting take a partnership approach to recruitment by working with clients over an extensive period of time to achieve long-term business growth. This requires trust by both parties and results in our ability to identify senior candidates capable of growing within the business to achieve board level responsibilities. In this series of articles, we catch up with some of our high-profile candidates to see how they are adding value to their companies.
Moon Consulting has worked with Unwin Safety Systems for more than eight years. An innovative family business based in Somerset, Unwin is a world renowned manufacturer of wheelchair restraints and tracked flooring. The ethical nature of Unwin's products, research and technology resonate strongly with our own values. Over the years, we have placed a range of candidates in roles as diverse as purchasing, sales and test house engineer to operations director, managing director and non-executive director. Here we meet Chris Hellier, Managing Director of Unwin Safety Systems, to hear about his successes so far and his vision for the future.
Moon Consulting head-hunted Chris to become the new Operations Director for Unwin Safety Systems in the summer of 2013. Chris had 22 years of experience in operations management from global automotive manufacturer Goodridge, making him an ideal candidate for the role. So how did he settle in?
"After being in the role for 12 months I was made Deputy Managing Director and then on 1st May 2014 became MD," says Chris. "This was an unexpected and big step for me that I never envisaged would happen so soon. I feel it's the right step with the right company but also a big period of change for me!"
Taking on your first MD role is a considerable challenge for any business leader, so we ask Chris how he is managing the transition. "Suddenly I had to learn every aspect of the business from Sales to Finance, taking time to understand the products, the customers, the supply chain and most importantly the unique market that Unwin operates in," he replies. "I have now visited customers, suppliers and sat with each department to gain a perspective of the business from their eyes."
Chris became MD at a particularly exciting time for the company. The end of 2014 brought new owners (Autoadapt AB) and new product ranges including vehicle lifts and ramps that could penetrate new international markets. "It was a tough end to 2014 with all the changes, but I am confident 2015 is shaping up to be a successful year with great products and a strong diverse team", says Chris. "The focus for the rest of the year will be integrating the new products. This means building our new training facility which will allow us to demonstrate our products and adding a new workshop for the servicing and modification of lifts."
Moving on to his long term vision, Chris expects Unwin to be a truly global brand over the next 10 years and hold a considerable share of the market in the USA. "We will continue to focus on Unwin's reputation for robust, high-quality products to create new opportunities. While the focus is international, we will still maintain our premises in Somerset and have the opportunity to grow the facilities and increase workforce locally."
Chris is an outstanding operations executive who has the intelligence, strategic vision and adaptability to transition to a number one role in an international manufacturing business within an impressively short period. He is an excellent example of the high-calibre candidates that Moon Consulting carefully selects to provide sustainable leadership for businesses of all types.
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Moon Consulting is your Trusted Advisor in Executive Search & Selection, Talent Management and Business Consulting. We build long-term relationships with businesses to secure high-performance candidates by identifying needs, finding the right talent and integrating leaders into organisations. Moon Consulting has extensive expertise and knowledge of the market, with a proven and impressive track record of delivery even in niche markets. Contact us today to realise your goals.