Emma Stonehouse, Internal Sales Manager of Durham Lifting – one of the founding manufacturers of Modular Spreader Beams in the UK since 1990, provides an insight into her 25 years working in the business . . .
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am from a small village about 30 minutes outside Middlesbrough where I live with my partner and young daughter. I am very close to my family and being the eldest child with two younger brothers I have spent most of my life telling the men around me what to do!
I left school at 16 with some good GCSE grades and wanted to get straight into the world of work. I found the best route was to enrol on a Modern Apprenticeship in Business Administration, allowing me to achieve qualifications whilst obtaining on the job real world experience.
I started working at Durham Lifting in 1996 as a junior administrator. Having no experience of the lifting industry, under the guidance of the owners and Directors I soon began to learn the various aspects of the business working within customer service, administration, accounts, operations and finally sales. Durham Lifting have sponsored me through several management and industry specific training courses’ and I attended college to obtain my ILM Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management.
I have been fortunate to be mentored by industry experts that have taken the time to train and educate me on all aspects of lifting equipment, its various applications and rigging design. This now allows me to advise our clients and identify solutions to their specific lifting requirements.
What is your role at Durham Lifting and why do you like what you do?
My current role at Durham Lifting is Internal Sales Manager. My job is to manage the entire sales administration process, working with the team to ensure all incoming enquiries are correctly logged, distributed, estimated, followed up and converted. I am also heavily involved in the preparation of tenders including assessment of client requirements, identifying and sourcing suitable products, providing quotations and securing new business.
I love what I do and get such a feeling of achievement from helping our customers identify a solution for their application, winning a new order or capturing a new client.
What’s your favourite and least favourite part of the job and why?
My favourite part of the job is the variety in what I do. Each day is a new challenge, working with a wide range of sectors such as renewables, nuclear, construction and rail. Liaising with a diverse collection of clients, building relationships, and finding a solution to their specific problem is extremely rewarding.
My least favourite part of the job is losing orders! Even after all these years I want to win every job that I quote. I truly believe that we are the best at what we do, and it stings when we are unable to covert the quotation.
Tell us what triumphs and challenges you have seen over the years and how you see the industry changing?
During my time at Durham Lifting the company and the industry has seen many challenges such as recession in 2008, the Oil and Gas downturn in 2015, and now the huge impact COVID-19 has had on all our lives and businesses. It has made companies like ours adapt and adjust to meet the changing market demands.
We have a fantastic team that has really pulled together during the difficult periods and is one of the reasons the organisation has endured and hit the huge milestone of 25 years in business.
Seeing the launch of the Multi-Sec range, the growth of our heavy lift hire fleet and expansion of the fabrication services are just a few of the many triumphs I have witnessed.
What has been the most outstanding moment/biggest achievement in your career?
There have been so many outstanding moments that I have been involved in, from being part of the team that secured two major Wind Farm contracts to supplying the lifting equipment for the installation of the New Wembley Football Stadium arch.
I was extremely honoured to recently represent the company at the Tees Businesswomen Awards for which Durham Lifting had been shortlisted in two categories.
Ultimately, I think my biggest achievement and something I am very proud of is having worked for the same company for 25 years, playing a major role in the success of the business today.
What’s next for you and where do you see this industry headed in 10 years’ time?
The northeast is a very exciting place to be at present. We are at the leading edge of innovation around offshore wind. The opening of the Freeport and recent announcement of GE building a flagship wind turbine blade factory are examples of the high level of development and investment occurring. I believe in the coming years there is great opportunity to make the area a real powerhouse.
The industry is continuing to see amazing innovation in the lifting and moving of larger and heavier pieces. We are seeing some impressive equipment such as “Big Carl” the largest crane in the world at 5000 Tonne currently in operation at Hinkley Point, and recently the largest shackle in the world being forged at 2500 Ton.
My goal is to carry on doing what I am doing, helping to grow the business; promoting Durham Lifting; increasing awareness of our large range of quality products and services; seeing expansion of the team and helping to train the next generation of lifting equipment professionals.