A long-established food business is breaking the board room mould after 66 years – and they couldn’t be happier
Steve Collinge and Kevin Moller have become the first directors at James T. Blakeman and Co Ltd who are not members of the founding family.
Steve and Kevin - who have amassed 50 years’ of loyal service to the business between them- join Mr James Blakeman (Chairman and founder), his son Mr Phillip Blakeman (Managing Director) and daughter Mrs Sue Cope (Finance Director) as directors.
Mr Phillip Blakeman said: “This is the right time to make these changes and I am absolutely delighted for both Steve and Kevin who have the best interests of this business at heart.
“As our company continues to grow and evolve, responsibilities as owners continue to grow and legislative requirements of food manufacturers also keep on growing.
Steve and Kevin will sit as Operations Directors over the two arms of the business – Steve with James T. Blakeman and Co. Ltd and Kevin with James T. Blakeman (Services) Ltd.
Together, the companies employ around 250 people and are now recognised as one of Europe’s leading manufactures of sausage and meat products.
Steve was introduced into the business in 1990, over the years Steve has shown his leadership qualities and progressed through the ranks.
He said: “I take a huge amount of satisfaction from seeing the amazing things that our teams achieve each and every day. I am really proud of how my team deal with the varied challenges that each day brings and how we enhance the success of the business”
Steve added: “There are still lots of things I want to achieve within Blakemans. I don’t want to be seen for what I have done but for what I am still able to achieve”.
Kevin made the decision to uproot and move from the capital to Staffordshire in 2004. Joining the Blakeman production team at their head office in Longport before calling on his wealth of experience and moving on to the new, purpose-built, cooking facility in Newcastle-under-Lyme processing frozen and chilled cooked products.
Again, Kevin has risen through the ranks and said: “Becoming a director is a really special thing. This is a family business to the core and to join Mr Blakeman senior, Phil, Sue – and also Steve – in the board room is a fantastic feeling.”
Kevin said: “The two directorships are an amazing show of trust in the both of us and that is very important. We have recently put the finishing touches to a fantastic extension which has added four new production areas, office space as well as canteen and changing facilities.
“Whilst on the cooked side of the business we invested significantly in the state-of-the-art frying line, giving versatility and growth. Excellent foundations are now in place across all parts of the business for Steve and I to take things on and continue to grow on what the Blakeman family have put in place.”