Next up in the Repair & Maintenance Player Profiles series, we have our Workshop Supervisor Shannon King. Shannon started her journey with WES as an apprentice back in 2017 and has so far progressed through a pathway of growth.

Read more in our latest Repair and Maintenance player profile below.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Shannon King– I started my apprenticeship with WES in 2017. Having spent most of my childhood helping my Dad fixing push bikes & tinkering with things, I‘d developed a real interest in how things operate and how they can be fixed – hence starting my career in engineering. I live in a village called Oakley just outside of Basingstoke, having grown up in the area also. Outside of work, I enjoy playing football for Basingstoke women’s team who I recently joined- although football is not new to me as I’ve been playing since I was 4 years old. I have a 1-year-old dog called Odin who is a Dogue De Bordeaux cross Rottweiler – he’s a big lad and needs a lot of training. On his hind legs he’s taller than me (but that’s not difficult being only 5’5).

What is your role in the WES R&M team?

My role with WES is as a workshop supervisor. This involves both mechanical & electrical work, including interpretation of drawings, plastic & metal welding, fabrication & assembly of pipework, installation of cables & controls and many other tasks associated with our workshop activity. I have recently been seconded into the role of workshop supervisor which is a whole new experience for me – that I am thoroughly enjoying. This involves work planning & scheduling, progress reporting, providing operational support to the wider business and participating in project design reviews.

What do you enjoy most about working at WES?

Being new to the supervisory role, I particularly enjoy learning new aspects of the job and find it exciting when new challenges hit me. As I’m the only female in the workshop I particularly like keeping the boys in check by “bossing” them around!! I enjoy being part of such a good team – this makes work so much more enjoyable when everyone gets along and are on the same page. I really enjoy the mix of “hands-on” work and the additional supervisory duties I am now undertaking. I particularly like being given the responsibility for building an exciting new project – this gets my brain ticking!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Whilst every day is different for me, the main aim is to maintain productivity & efficiency. A typical day is generally a “hands-on” activity – building dosing rigs. In addition, I might attend a design review, deliver a morning “huddle” with the workshop team, plan future workload & assign resources, train or coach members of the team on workshop techniques and engage with project managers and office staff.

What are your most & least favourite parts of working for WES?

My least favourite part of working for WES is the walk that needs to be done between the 2 units I personally think there should be a buggy parked outside to transport the team – after all 25 metres is quite a struggle!!

My favourite thing about working at WES is the problem-solving, I like being able to have the knowledge and to pass that on to the team when they need help. It gives me great pride that I have been seconded into a supervisory role only after 3 years of being fully qualified – I’m grateful for the support I’ve had from the WES management team and ongoing training opportunities.

Business streams here at WES offer a range of exciting career progression options and routes. A perfect example of this comes with our latest Repair & Maintenance player profile from our Production Manager Simon Ralph.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Simon Ralph – I started my working career as an apprentice at PCI Membranes who became a customer of WES – I then joined WES in 2005 as a fabricator/assembler in the workshop. Since then I have progressed from the workshop floor to my latest role of production manager for the workshop & external works teams. In nearly 18 years here at WES, I have learned a vast range of skills and expertise, and know the WES products inside out. I’m married & live in Andover –enjoying both watching and playing sport in my spare time. In particular, I still play cricket competitively.

What is your role in the WES R&M team?

My role within the wider WES business is to make sure that both the workshop and external teams have all of the necessary information to complete the job on time, including reviewing drawings, writing RAMS, preparing job packs, ordering materials, & sourcing other relevant information.

I also attend design reviews, sign off mechanical drawings, and host our job wash-up meetings. I am also responsible for the WES stores and procurement team.

As part of my professional development, I am becoming more involved in the commercial aspects of our work, learning about estimating & quoting, cost reporting & understanding margins, as well as more exposure to direct line management.

What do you enjoy most about working at WES?

The most enjoyable aspect of working at WES is being part of the team. We all bounce off each other with ideas, we share resource to get jobs finished, and have a pragmatic way of overcoming any difficulties that may arise. There is a very engaging culture here at WES – the humour & team camaraderie is excellent and certainly makes the day more enjoyable. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to develop my career further with WES as part of business-wide succession plan –which hopefully will present me with further opportunities in the future.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days can vary from ensuring that the workshop is fully prepared for all size jobs to making sure the field teams are ready to start an installation. I help our dosing product team with enquires as well as working with project managers on the design of equipment. I’m responsible for performance reporting & invoicing for refurbishment work, and still occasionally get the tools out & show others how it used to be done!

What are your most & least favourite parts of working for WES?

What is my favourite part of working at WES: Problem-solving, being part of the WES team and learning new skills.

What is my least favourite part of working at WES: Sitting next to a Chelsea fan in the office when Southampton have lost (again)!

WES has donated workwear for a humanitarian aid appeal.

Thanks to Martin Svec for organising the donation of all of our old branded workwear to go to Ukraine for such a worthy cause. Following our rebrand, we have kindly donated discontinued uniforms to a group of volunteers, who have now sent them to those in desperate need of warm clothing in war-torn regions of Ukraine.

We are so pleased to recycle our old workwear (charity shops don’t usually accept branded clothing in the UK). #ukrainecrisis #recycling #rebranding

Over the next few months, the team here at WES will look to introduce themselves, discussing their roles in the company and the industry. Stay tuned for more profiles as the year progresses.

To get the ball rolling, Jordan Davis – Senior Service Engineer from the Repair & Maintenance business stream kicks us off.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Jordan Davis and I joined WES in 2020. I live near Basingstoke and enjoy spending my free time with my family, friends and my whippet! My career in engineering started in the Royal Armoured Corps of The British Army where among other things I completed a mechanical engineering apprenticeship. Upon leaving the Army in 2018, I applied the skills and experience I gained to develop a new career in the water industry. In this time, I’ve worked on a wide range of chemical dosing plant & equipment, gaining knowledge & experience whilst continuing to develop new skills & competencies.

What is your role in the WES R&M team?

My role is primarily as a field-based service engineer, which includes maintenance, repairs and emergency callout work on a wide variety of chemical dosing equipment. It definitely keeps me busy, and I enjoy the pace and diversity this brings. I recently successfully completed an SMSTS qualification as part of my development which brings additional responsibility when I’m helping manage larger jobs on-site.

WES are supporting my development towards a supervisory role – part of which is being involved with different aspects of the business. I also support both the field engineers and the managerial team with job planning, training, administration and site supervision.

What do you enjoy most about working at WES?

The most enjoyable part of working at WES is the culture within the business. Everyone “mucks in” together to help each other out and get the job done. I also enjoy the freedom that I’m allowed to make my own decisions on how best to deal with situations and run jobs. There is a great bunch of people here at WES who know when to have a laugh but also when to “knuckle down” & deliver. In the field I enjoy being able to think outside the box in order to get the customer back online and dosing, and as part of my development, learning new skills & experiences that are required of a supervisor or manager. I’m very lucky to have a supportive team around me which makes coming to work so much more enjoyable.

What does a typical day look like for you?

No two days are the same – sometimes I could be out on site working on a critical breakdown, maintaining new or old equipment, running a refurbishment job, coaching engineers within our team or spending time with my manager learning aspects of his role. As we work nationwide I’m often in a different location every day – I really enjoy the variety and travel this brings me. However sometimes I’m in our newly refurbished workshop in Basingstoke either servicing or refurbishing clients’ plant or equipment that is here for its maintenance program.

What are your most & least favourite parts of working for WES?

My favourite part: The flexibility I have for my work-life balance. I also like “double pie Thursday” at WES!

My least favourite part: Wearing full chemical PPE in the summer…

Last week we held a WES Team Talk and combined it with a Macmillan Coffee Morning, raising £300 for the Macmillan Cancer Support.

The morning was a great success and was a great way to settle into our new office, which provides enough space to comfortably host the event.

We would like to say a big thank you to all of our staff who made cakes and for all their donations.

As part of our ongoing growth & expansion, the team at WES have started to move into our purpose designed facility in Basingstoke this week.

This phase of our move sees all office & administrative functions now operating from the new facility, known as Unit 1 – which will become our primary operational & HQ site.

The next phase of the move, which will take place in November, will see our manufacturing operations move into the new purpose designed facility.

To accommodate growth & increased workload, we have retained our existing site, now known as Unit 2 – and as both units are next door to each other, we now have one combined site!

This is an exciting time for our business, where the office move will support WES’ long-term goals.

We want to say a massive thank you to all of our staff and contractors who helped make the phase of the move go without a hitch!

James Fleury, a mechanical engineering undergraduate, who will be working with WES over the next 13 months as a part of a placement year for his university course. James is the second placement student to have joined us, and we are excited to see James progress throughout his time with us. At WES we believe placement years are a great opportunity for students to develop skills and gain valuable experience before graduating and entering the working world.

What course are you studying?

“I am studying MEng Mechanical Engineering at The University of Portsmouth.”

How have you been finding the first few weeks at WES?

“Overall, my first weeks have been very enjoyable mainly due to the positive and welcoming attitude the team has. The opportunity to work in both the office and the workshop has been very enjoyable and has enabled me to pick up a lot of knowledge in a very short amount of time.”

Why did you choose to do a placement year?

“A year in industry was essential for me as I have always been a very hands-on learner and was excited to get experience into the professional world to help kickstart my career after graduation.”

How will the placement year impact your final year of university?

“Returning to university after a year with WES will allow me to return with a wealth of extra knowledge and experience while helping me pinpoint the direction I want to head in after I graduate.”

WES were very pleased to have hosted SOCOTEC over the last 3 days for our ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) audits.

“We are especially delighted with the positive feedback we received for our culture of continuous improvement. It is something we strive to build at all levels of the organisation, so to have our staff recognised for it is a source of pride.” Matt Haines, Business Assurance Manager

Last week, workshop and site staff attended a PASMA training course with UTN Training in Winchester.

PASMA training is designed to ensure safe assembly, movement, and disassembly of mobile access towers used when working at height. PASMA training also covers people who wish to inspect mobile access towers for safety purposes.

We recognise the importance of staff H&S training and in recent weeks our colleagues have undertaken Abrasive Wheels, Water Hygiene, Spill Management, Manual Handling and First Aid training courses.

At WES, we have developed a training app which identifies gaps in training for every role/person and it ensures that no training expires without re-training being booked.

Sam joined us in June 2021 as our ‘Year in Industry/Placement’ student, working in our Capital Projects Business Stream. His attitude, work ethic and general ability has been exemplary. Sam is currently doing a master’s degree in chemical engineering at Birmingham University and will return for his final year in the autumn. Sam’s progress has been outstanding, so we have awarded him a sponsorship (for his final year at university) and have offered him a position as Junior Project Manager for when he graduates next year.

“Sam has become an invaluable team member during his time here, turning his hand to all aspects of the project cycle, bringing a real boost to the team. It was an easy decision to offer a package for his final year of university and a position within the team on completion” (Patrick Fisher, Projects Director).

Why Investing in Young Talent is important to our business

Ensuring our business invests money, time and training into young, upcoming talent is essential for business growth and success. We believe injecting our workforce with younger employees offers a variety of benefits. Young talent can offer fresh ideas, spirit, and motivation. We can plan for our business future by contributing to the development of new talent – they could be the future leaders in our industry.

Investing in young talent can ensure that our business commits to the potential of having long-standing staff in the future. Young talent often brings diverse qualities to the table that experienced employees may not be able to access.

“Working at WES has been thoroughly enjoyable. Joining an SME has been invaluable in broadening my experiences throughout my placement year, enabling me to jump between commissioning, project management, mechanical drawing, and sales in any given work week! Exposure to business development meetings and looking at various project’s earned value/cash flow has been particularly engaging, and something not-yet covered in my engineering degree.

A highlight of my year was the recent despatch and successful commissioning of WES’ latest chlorination dosing system, a project I have managed all the way from the proposal & tender stage, which is now operational on a very high profile site. Watching it leave the yard was a fantastic milestone to have achieved towards the end of my placement, hopefully the first of many dosing systems I will deliver with WES upon commencement of my graduate role.

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023; our new office building will be complete, the company will have had a further year integrating with the wider RSE Group, and who knows, I might win the WES fantasy football league again too.” (Sam Anderson, Placement Engineer)

Kevin Wheeler, Managing Director, commented:

“Introducing an undergraduate student to our projects team for a placement year was something WES had not favoured in the past. Fears over the time needed to manage and train an “inexperienced” young person and for no guaranteed return during or after the placement year, meant we had concentrated on the more traditional apprentice route to introduce young talent. 

However, Sam has completely dispelled those fears, his focus, enthusiasm, engagement and, most impressively his underlying leadership abilities in managing a particular project for a very prestigious client have been a joy to behold. 

I hope too that WES have given Sam the motivation to finish his masters degree in the knowledge that he will make a very valued contribution to the business upon his return.

I look forward to having more “young Sams” in the business”

We are currently looking for our next Year in Industry/Placement student for 2022/2023.

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Les Bunce

Hire Business Manager

Les Bunce is Hire Business Manager. He leads the WES Hire Business responsible for managing the supply of our Temporary Chemical Dosing hire fleet on both a planned and emergency basis. Les has over 25 years’ experience in the hire industry and fully understands our customers’ hire requirements.

Patrick Fisher

Projects Director

Patrick Fisher is Projects Director. He leads the business stream responsible for project management, design, engineering, manufacture and delivery of “Capital project” chemical dosing systems. A degree qualified engineer with over 10 years’ experience working in fluid delivery solutions to the water, general industrial, petrochemical, and food & beverage industries.

Bob Cook

Senior Proposals Manager

Bob Cook is Senior Proposals Manager. After completing a traditional engineering apprenticeship at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Bob was one of the original partners who started the business in 1986. Bob now applies his considerable experience to developing proposals & solutions to meet customer requirements, as well as providing technical support & passing on knowledge & expertise to colleagues across the wider WES business.

Ian Price

Dosing Products Business Manager

Ian Price is WES Dosing Products Business Manager, leading the business stream responsible for delivering a wide range of standardised chemical dosing packages, ad-hoc dosing needs and ‘off the shelf’ dosing products & solutions. A mechanical engineer with over 20 years’ experience in fluid handling solutions into the water, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and food & beverage markets.

Jamie Cole

Operations Director

Jamie Cole is Operations Director. Jamie joined the business in 2018 bringing career long experience in a variety of operational roles – including service delivery to the property and utilities sectors. Jamie is responsible for the management of all operational activities of the business including the repair, maintenance & refurbishment business stream, and our site installation and workshop manufacturing teams. Jamie also forms part of the senior management team of WES.

Graham Ward

Business Development Director

Graham Ward is Sales and Marketing Director. His extensive experience includes a number of senior roles working for various SMEs and large organisations in the water, power generation, petrochemical, marine and food & beverage industries. As a qualified marine engineer, Graham has established his career in Sales and Business Development and is responsible for the business development, marketing and sales of systems, products and services across WES.

Carl Millington

Non-Exec Director

Carl joined WES as Non-Exec chairman following an appointment via the Business Growth Service to assist the business with growth strategy. A highly experienced Business Mentor, Coach, Managing Director & Non-Exec Chairman, having led product, manufacturing, contracting and service provider businesses for nearly 30 years. A strong track record of market, sales and profit growth within a diverse range of sectors.

Core competencies include business growth strategies, board & business leadership, strategic planning, sales & marketing management, P&L & balance sheet management, acquisitions, divestments, outsourcing, TUPE transfer, mentoring & coaching.

Kevin Wheeler

Managing Director

Kevin Wheeler is Managing Director. Kevin trained as an Engineer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and joined the business in 1989. Kevin now leads the Board of Directors setting strategy and defining priorities to meet the business objectives & growth aspirations whilst adding experience to technical issues where required.