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.
Jonathon Hutchinson – Factory supervisor
Having started out as a college apprentice at the age of 19 when joining the business 11 years ago, Jonathon Hutchinson hasn’t known life working at any other business than Fairgrieves.
But he certainly feels like he’s had a fresh start to his career in recent months, having found himself playing a key role in shaping the future of a business boasting more than 100 years of history.
Having come under new ownership and direction in 2021, Jonathan has found his knowledge being tapped into by new General Manager Barry Davidson, as Fairgrieves looks not only to build on its excellent reputation, but reposition itself as a ‘problem solver’ and ‘innovator’ for businesses across a wide range of industries.
“We’re probably looking at ourselves as a business and what we offer to potential customers in a slightly different way now to how we have in the past, and that has been exciting,” says Jonathon.
“My job has been on the factory floor, ensuring all lines are running smoothly, identifying any issues and solving any problems relating to production. In more recent times though I’ve been asked for input into how we can expand our work and product range.
“Perhaps in the past we’ve seen ourselves as having a set range of products that we are known for moulding, but now we’re much more focussed on becoming known as problem solvers and using our experience, machinery and skillset to offer solutions to customers.
“We want people to approach us with new challenges.
“Businesses from a wide range of industries can come to us and we can work with them to design and mould a product which meets their needs. We can everything from designing the tools and making them to working on the moulding compound with suppliers.”
Bio-degradable plastics markets offers opportunities
Having worked in the industry for more than a decade, Jonathon believes a move to producing more environmentally friendly products offers a potentially big market for his employers.
“We’ve started work on some new products recently, and in industries that would be new to us, and I’ve been included in the development work, which has been really rewarding,” he said.
“There are obviously many industries we supply into, such as the marine, mining and hazardous sectors which need to be able to withstand extreme environments and offer the highest level of performance, but in recent times we’ve had discussions with other industries over the moulding of bio-degradable products.
“There is potentially a big market there for us given our expertise, and I think every business these days has to look at its impact on the environment.”
Whatever the future for Fairgrieves, Jonathon knows the business will continue to offer what it has done since 1913.
“As a business we have a reputation for being innovators in this sector and we will continue to be so. I am really confident of that given the changes we have been through in the past year and the direction we are taking.”
“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.”