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Bill Graham, Chairman of Alloy Wire International (AWI), has decided to finally call it a day after clocking up an impressive five decades of service.
The machine tool engineer, who was born in Paisley, Scotland, joined AWI in 1972 at the age of 22 as a maintenance engineer, yet never envisaged his career with the company would last so long and take in more than 50 different countries along the way.
Alloy Wire International was founded in 1946 by John Stockdale, with its core production back then being electrical resistance wires.
Bill was made Managing Director in 1976 and his wife Sandra, who also worked there, recalled that his vision back then was to develop a business where everyone could benefit from a share of the profits.
It became clear then that manufacturing was changing, as domestic heating appliances moved out to India and the Far East. The passionate Scot spent much of his time travelling in the search of new business, staying in some pretty basic and remote places whilst he was spreading the AWI gospel.
His determination and travels paid off as the company continued to grow and in 1991 Bill led a management buy-out.
Eight years later, Alloy Wire International moved to new premises in Narrowboat Way and it was at this point that his philosophy was put into place with the introduction of employee ownership and profit sharing for all members of staff. This created the unique culture that has seen the firm become a globally trusted supplier of 60+ strong range of alloys to more than 7,000 customers.
Mark Venables was made Managing Director in 2010, with Bill becoming Chairman and the company continues to grow year-on-year.
“Bill Graham is Alloy Wire International and has had an unbelievable 50 years with the business,” explained Mark.
“I was invited to lead the company and have had the honour of guiding it through some major growth and some really difficult times, including the current Covid-19 pandemic.
“As I was always told, we need to protect the core values that makes AWI so special, so we took the decision last year to make Tom Mander Managing Director Designate, Adam Shaw Finance Director and Andrew Du Plessis Technical Director.
“This paved the way for the next generation to take over and Tom’s promotion to Managing Director recently is the next step in that process, meaning I can oversee things from the position of Chairman and Bill Graham can finally enjoy his well-deserved retirement.“
Bill concluded: “After five decades of involvement I felt the time was right to call it a day and look forward to many travels with my wife Sandra who I first met at Alloy Wire International in 1974. Two love affairs that have stood the test of time!”