60 Years Farrat – Steve’s Story

QC&E Controller - Steve Gardner

PEOPLE PROFILE:

QC&E CONTROLLER, STEVE GARDNER

Areas Of Expertise: Quality, Compliance, Environmental
Education: MBA BSc(Hons) C.Mgr MCMI MIET
Time at Farrat: 1 Year

What’s your role at Farrat?

I am Farrat’s QC&E Controller, which stands for Quality, Compliance and Environmental.

Within the Quality side of my role, I make sure that NCR’s (Non-conformance Reports) are raised, monitored and addressed efficiently to help maintain the highest quality standards across the business. This includes educating and training teams how to spot and raise NCR’s and ensuring that quality remains at the forefront of our operations.

From a Compliance perspective, I ensure that Farrat processes and procedures are fully compliant with the appropriate nationally recognised standards, and that we continue to meet the requirements of regulatory bodies and our clients.

On the environmental side, I monitor and control any hazards and report to the wider business how to address and mitigate any risks. I also look after the management systems, including our ISO 9001: 2015 and ISO14001: 2015 certifications, which are Quality and Environmental standards.

Importantly, I also have a responsibility for Health & Safety at Farrat.

 

That sounds like an all-encompassing role! Can you tell me about your career to date, leading you up to this position at Farrat?

Yes, so after school I went to Rochdale Technical College to obtain an OND, which is an Ordinary National Diploma.

I did 2 years full time OND and then began looking for a full-time position, alongside any potential work placements that were available. I was 18 when I managed to land a position with Wylex Ltd. in Wythenshawe as a Laboratory apprentice, which was exciting for me as an ambitious and eager teenager! During my time there I also studied part-time to achieve my HNC, High National Certificate.

After 2 years I went on to work for MEM Ltd. In Oldham as a Test Engineer and completed my HND, Higher National diploma part-time. I was promoted to Senior Test Engineer and during that time I studied with the Open University to do my BSc(Hons) Engineering Degree part-time.

I then became Laboratory Manager, a position I held for 10 years at the company – in total I stayed there for around 16 years. Towards the end of my time I became a Project Manager responsible for New Product Development, during which time I completed my MBA master’s degree in Business Administration part-time with MMU Business School.

Since then I’ve held various positions in Quality, Environmental and Health & Safety Management within Renewable Energy and Engineering organisations.

 

So, how long have you been a member of the Farrat Team?

I have been a part of the Farrat team officially for just over 12 months, but I also worked with the team as a Consultant beforehand on a separate occasion.

 

What are your Core Achievements so far during your time at Farrat?

I managed the transition from ISO 9001: 2008 QMS and ISO 14001:2004 EMS Certification to the 2015 Standard externally Audited by our Accreditation Body TÜV Nord UK Ltd.

Farrat QMS and EMS Certifications

Farrat QMS and EMS Certifications

 

I’ve also introduced Operational Excellence / LEAN to the organisation starting with 5S as the foundation and introducing Problem Solving tools and techniques as part of “The Farrat Way!”

Upgraded the CAD Software Packages to standardise on AutoDesk Product Design & Manufacturing Package including Inventor 3D.

 

Are you a team leader at Farrat? 

Yes, my role as team leader involves being responsible for the Drafting Design Team, which includes managing workloads of the team, ensuring individuals well-being and monitoring the precision of the documents that they produce – essentially, I make sure that everything runs smoothly!

I am also responsible for resolving any major issues that may arise, looking at root cause analysis using A3 Problem Solving techniques as well as being a LEAN Practitioner within the organisation.

And as a team leader, I also form part of the Farrat Leadership Committees (both Construction and Industrial).

 

With such varied responsibilities, what drives you on a daily basis?

I would say that every day is different at Farrat, which for me, makes it very interesting.

There are always challenges, so I never get bored – I’m always pushing myself to solve problems and drive improvements wherever I can.

 


If you would like to hear more about  opportunities at Farrat, visit our  Careers Page.

Alternately, get in touch with Steve to discuss Quality, Compliance and Environmental on: +44 (0) 161 924 1608.

60 Years Farrat – Phil’s Story

PEOPLE PROFILE:

MECHANICAL DESIGN ENGINEER,
PHIL GOWERS

Areas Of Expertise: Mechanical Design / Product Development
Education: Bachelor of Product Design
Time at Farrat: 12 Months

What is your role at Farrat?

I am a Mechanical Designer at Farrat Isolevel but my role is varied and impacts multiple areas of the business. Recently, I’ve been working on a number of live Structural Vibration Isolation projects, as well as maintaining and updating drawings / models for Farrat’s Machine Mounts, with the aim to improve the overall quality & clarity of their design.

 

Tell us about your journey to date?

I’ve always been interested in mechanical design and took this through to university level. In 2015, I graduated from the University of South Australia with a Bachelor of Product Design.

Before joining Farrat, I spent 3 years developing modular building systems for offsite construction and lead the product development of a lightweight, flat-pack building system. This background has proven to be key, with many of Farrat’s products targeted at construction applications.

I’ve been at Farrat for 12 months now. After joining Farrat this time last year, I’ve worked on complex vibration isolation projects and made key design changes to help improve product quality across multiple product ranges. I am continuing to work closely with the quality manager to implement process changes aimed at improving the flow of design data throughout the business.

 

Tell us about your experience as both a team member & a leader, and what it means to you?

Over the past 12 months feel I have become a respected and trusted member of the technical team here at Farrat. I continue to learn a lot from my immediate colleagues and as my knowledge grows with my time at Farrat, I aim to transition myself into a leadership role.

 

Phil working on optimising the Farrat LA16 Range

What drives you?

I am an ambitious person with the ability to think outside the box. I enjoy providing innovative ideas to solve restrictive design constraints and I believe I thrive in situations which allow me to focus on finding user centric solutions. Furthermore, I enjoy being able to continually develop new and existing solutions for Farrat’s portfolio of products.

I’m always eager to develop new skills and try to surround myself with people who can support this development. Farrat has proven to be an excellent environment for me, where I work alongside both intelligence and experience.

 

Are there any memorable projects & initiatives that you’ve worked on at Farrat, that you feel has made an impact?

I have been working to support the implementation of a number of major software changes to help the design office become more efficient as a growing company. We’ve introduced a number of products; Autodesk Inventor as our predominant 3D modelling package and Autodesk Vault to fill a critical requirement as an automated CAD data management system. Once these changes have been fully deployed, they will not only help relieve the strain on the design office and add extra capacity, but provide a rigid process structure for design changes & approvals that will benefit many other departments.

I look forward to seeing this in action and observing the benefits across the company.

 

Why Farrat?

Still being in the relatively early stages of my career, I know the knowledge and training I gain over the coming years will provide a crucial foundation for my future ambitions. I feel that not only can Farrat provide me with this foundation, but also put in place a pathway to help me achieve these career aspirations at Farrat.

If you would like to hear more about Engineering opportunities at Farrat, visit our Careers Page.

Alternately, get in touch with Phil on: +44 (0) 161 924 1600.

60 Years Farrat – Adriana’s Story

Meet Adriana - Project Delivery Manager at Farrat

PEOPLE PROFILE:

PROJECT DELIVERY MANAGER, ADRIANA LEOTTA

Areas Of Expertise: Engineering, Acoustics, Structural, Project Management
Education: Chartered Engineer
Time at Farrat: 3 Years

Tell us about your background?

I’m a civil engineer from Sicily.

I completed my bachelor degree in Catania then I moved to Torino in Italy, where I studied for my Master Degree, after which I worked in Torino for 1 year where I completed my Chartership after graduating.

When I was at school in Sicily I was always interested in Maths and Creative Arts. I had considered becoming a lawyer, but then decided to push my studies towards Architecture and Engineering as they combined my two interests.

My first year at University was focused on Engineering and it was at this point that I realised that engineering is what I wanted to be doing, so I focused on this and took it forward.

I moved to the UK in May 2016 after completing my Chartership in Italy and within the first 6 months I took my engineering role here at Farrat.

This was an exciting time for me.

I speak four languages, with Italian being my native and English, French and German being secondary, but I was nervous about taking a technical role in English as my second language. However, I have found it a great learning experience – especially as Farrat is so multi-cultural, there are a lot of people in our team from different countries, so we get to practice together. Farrat also provided a weekly session with an English tutor that was very beneficial in my first year.

 

Engineers on Ice - Adriana pictured with Oliver Farrell (CEO Farrat) and Joe Flores (Atkins SNC-Lavalin) at the 2018 ICE Annual Event

Engineers on Ice – Adriana pictured with Oliver Farrell (CEO Farrat) and Joe Flores (Atkins SNC-Lavalin) at the 2018 ICE Annual Event

Why Farrat?

I saw something good for me at Farrat.

It is a family run company where you are continually faced with technical problems and challenged to solve them. That means you are always pushed to learn, as it is your responsibility to solve this problem.

In larger companies, you are not pushed to learn in this way. You are not pushed to challenge yourself and go beyond your limits.

I like that my role challenges me each and every day, I am always learning and looking to discover the best answer for my client.

 

Do any projects that you’ve worked on at Farrat stand out?

The first big profile acoustic isolation project I worked on was the Royal Academy of Music in London.

When I was reviewing the steel assemblies I was excited because it was more challenging than just standard rubber acoustic isolators and it meant that I was going to be working closely with Ryan our Technical Director to develop this solution.

Working with Ryan is brilliant because he is very calm and experienced. He is always reassuring ‘do not worry, we have the solution, we can do this’. I like this style. He also has great rapport with the clients and is respected amongst his peers such as the structural engineers, acoustic consultants and the contractors. You can learn a lot by working with him.

The first big project that I worked on in structural / building vibration isolation was Regents Crescent in London.

I also started working on 60 Curzon Street at a similar time, which is still ongoing (it is a big project!). So this was another step up for me because I was juggling the two projects at the same time, working with our Technical Director Oliver, who is also our CEO.

St Giles Circus

St Giles Circus in London is currently being constructed around a number of complex site constraints caused by underground rail.

One that I am very proud of is St Giles in London. I knew about the project early on and basically kept asking the client if there is any solution that they need until they finally said yes! They would asked me “why are you asking so early” and my response was always “because I know that at least if we start now and prepare the proposal early it gives us a lot of time to adapt to any challenges quickly”.

This actually was the best thing because the site did turn out to be very challenging. We definitely prepared the proposal at the right time because we spent almost a year adapting around unforeseen constraints and have avoided any major delays due to being well prepared.

We actually delivered everything for that project last week, so I felt very proud to see them being dispatched from the yard.

 

What were the key challenges for you on this project?

This was something new in a sense of managing the relationship with the client.

My role evolved to act as the connection between our engineering team and the client, making sure everyone is happy within two very big project teams.

I realised how difficult it is to communicate and prioritise everyone’s needs on large projects. I always work to make sure that the client receives the best possible customer service, but I also have to ensure that the team working for me receives that same level of service and respect.

So learning how to be a bridge between teams was a great skill I learnt on this project.

What are you working on now that St Giles has been dispatched?

Now I am focusing on the big projects for structural / building vibration isolation.

More and more projects are now being constructed above or adjacent to underground/over ground rail and this is where our solutions are absolutely critical to mitigate against the vibrations.

We are very busy with this type of project and we are really doing something special for these. For example one project, Anthology in London, we are delivering within just 4.5 months.

If you had told me we would be doing that when I first started at Farrat I would have asked “how is that even possible?!”, because 4.5 months is nothing, it is very fast when you have to consider the design and the manufacture. But in this project we are manufacturing and delivering some items whilst others are still in design phase, so it is really a great effort.

There are also some other big projects coming through, I cannot say what they are yet but just that it is a big year for our structural team! We are finding that a lot of people are now coming to us because of word of mouth and recommendation, which is always great and makes me proud of the work we are delivering.

 

What are your ambitions for the future?

Well, I want to be a flamenco dancer! (laughs), as I have always liked theater and cinema – it is really a passion of mine other than engineering.

I am also trying to be the best engineer that I can be and continue to learn and progress in project management.

 

And finally, what drives you to come into work at Farrat each day?

My ethics.

My client has come to me because he needs this solution and I have told him that he can have it on this date. I gave my word to him, I have made a promise and so I must stick to it.

I believe that attitude is so important. You must have good ethics to be in this role and you simply cannot let people down.

If you would like to hear more about Engineering opportunities at Farrat, visit our Careers Page.

Alternately, get in touch with Adriana in our Building Acoustics Team on: +44 (0) 161 924 1600.

60 Years of Farrat – Gareth’s Story

Gareth's Story - Celebrating 60 Years of Farrat

PEOPLE PROFILE:

FARRAT PRODUCTION MANAGER, GARETH HOGBURN

Areas Of Expertise: LEAN Manufacturing, Production, Tooling, Rubber Molding, Waterjet
Education: Fellow Of The Manufacturing Institute
Time at Farrat: 21 Years

Tell us about your background?

I joined Farrat in 1997 as an apprentice on a 5 year scheme whilst attending college at North Trafford, where I studied NVQ 2, 3 and 4 followed by an HNC, in Engineering. During my apprenticeship I learn’t how to operate the milling machine and lathes for the production of industrial anti-vibration machine mounts. I was in a production team of four at this time and have fond memories of learning how to manufacture raw castings all the way through to finished product, including welding and spray. As a small team, we worked really hard to meet the demand and collaboration was really important to making this happen – as a result, we became good friends and are still good friends now.

Gareth's Early Days at Farrat

Gareth pictured on the right during his early days as an Apprentice at Farrat

I completed my apprenticeship in 2002 and remained at Farrat, moving into new production avenues as the product portfolio expanded. Farrat moved into the rubber molding market to produce vibration isolation and acoustic isolation solutions for the construction industry, so I was trained how to operate presses and moved over to the press shop. This was a great experience for me and allowed me to continue learning new production methods and was able to input into the new processes that followed. I worked in the press shop for around 10 years and saw the company scale it’s manufacturing facilities, with the introduction of several new presses and a much larger production team.

I became Production Team Leader in 2014 and began my LEAN Fellowship with The Manufacturing Institute through Farrat, which is where I really learn’t about continuous improvement. I completed my LEAN Fellowship within two years and am now Production Manager at Farrat and ‘Champion of Continuous Improvement’.

Why Farrat?

At school I always wanted to be a mechanic as I loved cars.

I was set to go to college and study mechanics, until one GCSE lesson when a teacher inspired me to change my path. It was during Design Technology when I designed a bike rack to fit on the back of a mountain bike as part of my coursework. My Design Technology teacher came over and said “Gareth, this is fantastic. I know that you’ve put on your careers form that you want to be a mechanic, but have you thought out a career in engineering?”.

He took me to one side and explained to me the type of roles and industries that engineering covers and the opportunities it could open up. It really inspired me to be ambitious, so I changed my college course to engineering.

Gareth collecting his LEAN Fellowship from The Manufacturing Institute

Gareth collecting his LEAN Fellowship from The Manufacturing Institute

I researched engineering and manufacturing firms in the area before college and Farrat stood out to me. I interviewed at Farrat and a tooling firm not far away. When I was offered the apprenticeship at Farrat I finally took it.

I’ve now been here at Farrat for 21 years and really enjoy it.

We’re a close knit team who take care of each other. Everyone is of the same mindset that quality is crucial and we all dig in deep to get a project over the line for the customer, even if it means working weekends and evenings.

Farrat has enabled me to learn and develop new skills and grow within my production role. I’m treated with respect and shown opportunities by people at all levels in the business, which is really important to me.

Do any of the projects that you have worked on stand out in your memory?

The big construction projects started to come through in around 2012, which was a huge learning curve for us as a company, as we hadn’t worked on these types of projects before. The first project of this nature was in London, which sticks in mind as it created so many challenges for us. It was a very large and technically challenging building isolation project.

However, the solutions and manufacturing processes that we put in place for that early project were the cornerstone of what we do today, so really it acted like a large scale R&D project. Ever since then, we’ve completed several large scale construction projects without any major hurdles. So we have a lot to thank that project for!

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment the production team are working on some large building vibration isolation projects located in London, several cinema isolation projects in the UK, U.A.E and Saudi and a few impressive isolated foundation projects for the canning sector in Europe. Alongside this we are producing industrial anti-vibration machine mounts for clients in the power gen sector, so busy all round!

Myself personally, I am rolling out new LEAN practices across the company (not just within production), continually improving and streamlining Farrat’s processes.

What do you see Farrat focusing on in the coming years?

Alongside LEAN and SMART changes to how we operate, I also see product diversity playing a major role. We are a company who pride ourselves on being a solution provider, not just a product manufacturer. We’ve invested heavily in R&D over the last few years and are seeing some fantastic innovations coming through as a result, which will no doubt feed into our existing product range but also inform new solutions for our primary markets.

I’m excited to be part of that journey and come up with smart solutions to the production challenges that those product innovations may bring.

If you would like to hear more about Production opportunities at Farrat, visit our Careers Page.

Alternately, get in touch with Gareth on: +44 (0) 161 924 1600.