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Brian boasts almost five decades of experience – but loves learning new skills every day

In a new feature for our website, we are speaking to our fantastic employees about their roles and work at our business – helping our customers understand a bit more about the jobs they do.

Brian Coundon – Shift manager

If you could mould and make the perfect employee, you’d create a workforce full of Brian Coundons.

Having worked at Fairgrieve Compression Moulding for 47 years, he proudly says he has moulded 99% of the jobs there is to do – but insists even he is still learning new things each and every day as the business continues to innovate and evolve.

In his role as shift manager Brian is seen as something of an all-knowing quality controller on the factory floor, ensuring lines are running smoothly, acting as a trouble shooter and offering solutions in challenging situations and getting on with the job of moulding himself.

But Brian insists he doesn’t know it all – and in fact it is the constant challenges and learnings brought by the job that ensures he still enjoys every day at work.

“I can’t imagine being anywhere else, I’ve been here since I was 16 and I’m 63 now,” he said.

“I’ve done 99% of the jobs in the moulding world, but I still learn every day. There is always a new challenge to overcome, a new way of approaching a job, and new things to learn. I love that.

“What I do have is experience, and that means I can pass on what I have learned over the years to the younger staff members, and that is very rewarding. It’s how it works here and is how I progressed in the business and on the factory floor.

“It’s a great team. I’ve worked with so many wonderful people who have been willing to help one another, and the business. There was a chap who I learned so much from I used to call him my work dad.”

When the business came under new ownership in 2021, Brian could perhaps have been expected to be one of the people most adverse to change, given his history within the business. However, that could not be further from the truth.

“We needed new direction and a new injection of ambition and we’ve had that,” he said.

“I take great pride in our history, that we are over 100 years old were the first company in the UK to compression mould Bakelite plastic, but I also take great pride in where we are now and what we do, and I make sure every job we do is done to the highest quality.

“I have no plans to be retiring. I was widowed three years ago and coming here is what keeps me going and what I enjoy. I feel I belong here.”

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Brian boasts almost five decades of experience – but loves learning new skills every day

“Fairgrieve is the only compression moulding company in the North East - and continues to offer plastic moulding innovations.”

“We are famously known as the first UK company to compression mould Bakelite plastics - more than 100 years ago.”