Steve joined Ransfords as a career progression in June 1977 after relatively brief spells working in accounts at other Shropshire firms. Within 12 months it became apparent that the business – which at that time employed over 120 people – was facing severe financial problems. Steve was instrumental in organising the purchase of the business by Alan and Brian Evans. “They paid £100 for the mill and the business but, as is now well known, along with the mill came £1.5 million of debt,” says Steve. “This was a huge sum in those days – equivalent to around £7 million today – but every penny of it was paid off over the following few years.”
Since that recovery the mill has weathered all kinds of economic storms but has continued to invest in new equipment, new processes and new products. Indeed, in the 40 years since Steve joined Ransfords he estimates that in excess of £20 million has been invested. It is market leader in the manufacture of acoustic fencing panels but is still also widely recognised as a supplier of some of the most durable British grown, fencing and board material. It is still, also, an important employer in the town of Bishop’s Castle, and an important customer too to many local business.
“There have been so many changes both at Ransfords and in the industry as a whole during my time here,” says Steve. “It’s a great industry to be part of with some great people working in it and, looking back, I can honestly say that any bad days have been far outnumbered by good ones. More to the point, I can confidently predict that the best days for this business are still to come!”