Victor Manufacturing’s longest serving employee retires


Bradford-based Victor Manufacturing is wishing a happy retirement to its longest serving employee, Derek Lodge, this summer after nearly five decades of service.

Lodge, who has been with the manufacturer for 46 years, began his career in 1969, working on the assembly line at the business which designs, manufactures and fits a range of kitchen equipment that ‘keeps hot food hot and cold food cold’.

Over the years he has risen through the ranks to his role as inspection manager, in which he is responsible for inspecting and testing products at the end of the production line. He will retire on 12 June 2015 and hand over the reins to the new inspection manager Martin Wilcox.

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Based in the Laisterdyke area of Bradford, Victor Manufacturing has a good staff retention rate, with four other employees celebrating long service landmarks after clocking up almost 100 years of service between them.

Senior office administrator Joanne Hopkinson and project handler Chris Chattaway are each celebrating 25 years with the company, which is their first and only employer. Hopkinson started straight from school, working as a receptionist and in the accounts department, while Chattaway began as a draftsman and enjoyed a stint as an estimator before taking up his current role, which involves overseeing special product orders from estimating into production.

Production engineer Ronnie Barker is also due to retire in June. He has spent over 30 years working on the factory floor constructing counters and food display units and will be replaced by two new production engineers, former apprentice Kyle Peel and Aiden Shafiee who has recently been recruited to strengthen the department.

Barker will be followed by senior estimator David Marshall who is set to retire in August. Marshall has been part of the Victor team for 18 years, working on a wide variety of special projects for the education and health markets. Estimator Mark Griffen will take over and a second estimator will be appointed to consolidate the team.

Andrew Gibson, sales director said: “These staff members have been pivotal in helping the business achieve its goals and we want to thank them for their loyalty and dedication down through the years.

“Victor Manufacturing has been designing and building catering equipment in Bradford for over 70 years and these employees are part of the strong team which has earned us a reputation for excellent service and consistent product quality. We want to take this opportunity to show appreciation for their important contribution to the business’s success and evolution. Although we will be sorry to bid our colleagues farewell, we have brought new team members on-board and reorganised roles to allow for continued growth and we look forward to driving the business forward.”

While these team members are retiring, the company shows no signs of slowing down. The business has recently announced a 60% increase in export sales in the last financial year. It is also experiencing strong sales in the domestic market, driven by good performance in the education sector and expansion in the retail counters market. Victor will release its 2014/2015 results in the coming months.

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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