Monday, January 6, 2020

News: New Year's Honours for Rotherham-based business people


Two leading Rotherham business figures have been named in the New Year Honours - the list that recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK.

Chris Rea OBE has been awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business, innovation and exports.

Ted Lowe has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for outstanding service in the electrical engineering industry.

Hailing from County Down in Northern Ireland, Rea is the founder and managing director of AESSEAL, the award-winning manufacturer that has its global HQ in Rotherham.

The multi award winning Templeborough company, which designs and makes mechanical seals and support systems for a wide range of global industries including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals, has grown from a small distribution business based on Attercliffe Road, Sheffield to a £180m+ turnover business employing more than 1,800 people across the world.


Rea purchased Aurora Engineers Supplies (where the "AES" comes from) in 1979, as a small distributor of mechanical seals, with ten employees and an annual turnover of £400,000.

By 1983 AESSEAL built its first manufacturing site on Mangham Road, Rotherham. Over the following years the mechanical seal range expanded, turnover grew to £2m and the company received the first of its 13 Queen's Awards. Export sales grew, overseas offices were opened, and turnover increased year on year.

The company has recorded near constant growth over the four decades, investing in wide ranging innovation including the development of its modular range of seals and processes that ensures customers receive the same product no matter where they are in the world. In addition, the business has been lauded for its community work, extensive apprenticeship programme and education outreach - which runs from primary schools right through to doctorate level.

With group turnover rising 6.3% from £170.6m, just last month, AES secured planning permission for a multimillion pound phase 5 development that will almost double the size of AESSEAL's headquarters and create space for 100 new employees.

Ted Lowe has spent over 65 years in the electrical engineering industry with over 45 of those at senior management level. Having spent 35 years working with large multi-disciplined organisations, in 1994 he established the Lowe Group of Companies which grew over a period of some 14 years to employ 230 people with a turnover of approximately £20m.

The Lowe Group was a widely diverse organisation encompassing some 11 companies which could operate jointly or severally. Over time this structure was rationalised to become recognised as a brand leader in their theatre of operations.

Over the years Ted has served as Chairman of the South Yorkshire Branch of the Electrical Contractors Association, he was a member of the Regional Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry, Chairman of the Electrical Electronic Industry Benevolent Association as well as creating the Electrical Industry Training and Enterprise organisation, which was designed to provide seamless training to engineers within the electrical industry. The project was backed by the four Training and Enterprise Councils in South Yorkshire and the whole operation was co-ordinated by Ted and much valuable work was done over a 3 year period including the re-training of ex mining electricians to prepare them for a career within the electrical contracting industry. He also served on the Training and Enterprise Council Task Force for the Electrical Services Industry.

In year 2000 Ted was conferred with the National Contractor of the Year Award and more recently, was presented with the prestigious 2019 Lifetime Achievement award from the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

Ted said: "It has given me great satisfaction to give back to the industry that supported me all my working life by helping to train the next generation of electricians and engineers as well as significantly raising standards in the electrical industry."

Ted is currently Executive Chairman of the highly successful, Templeborough-based company Electrical Safety (UK) Ltd (ESUK). ESUK are the UK's foremost authority on Arc Flash Technology and Electrical Safety Management and operates throughout the UK, Mainland Europe and the Middle East.

AESSEAL website
ESUK website



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