Elaine Lilley is passionate about transforming the lives of young people and setting them on the road to a brighter future. As Chief Executive of The EBP (a social enterprise developing the skills of young people) she gets a real buzz from delivering the National Citizen Service programme in a major part of the East Midlands – including Lincolnshire.

It has had a massive impact in changing hundreds of young lives for the better. Teenagers who have taken part have surprised themselves and left their mark on local communities – by rejuvenating them, raising funds for local and national charities and generally supporting community projects where they can make a difference.


This feature interview was first published in issue 92 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.

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Elaine is bursting with pride but she prefers to share the spotlight. In her book, success has only been achieved by tapping into the twin powers of partnership working and the support of her 50-strong, highly-motivated team.

“I love working with young people and seeing them grow and, as a social enterprise which ploughs its reserve back into the business, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the amazing support of partner businesses and organisations,” said Elaine.

She is equally keen to see members of her team, based at head office in Welton House, off Greetwell Road, Lincoln (although The EBP also has offices in Northampton and Leicester), grow and develop further.

Elaine’s rapport with her colleagues is obvious – whether they are sitting around the boardroom table, passing each other in the corridor or waiting for their photo to be taken, there’s always time to chat!

“My policy to employees is open door, I am keen that we develop our staff and if they flourish so does the business. I seek employees who understand partnership working and have good business skills, both are needed in a social enterprise. It’s important to me that we have good working relationships especially as we work in a culture where good partnership is essential.”

Elaine Lilley, Chief Executive of The EBP with one of her teams. Photo: Steve Smailes

Elaine Lilley, Chief Executive of The EBP with one of her teams. Photo: Steve Smailes

Elaine’s journey

So how did Elaine – who started working at The King’s School in Grantham, before moving on to the Department for Trade & Industry in Nottingham and then joining the Lincolnshire Training & Enterprise (Lincolnshire TEC) in Lincoln – come to be at the helm of a venture which turned over nearly £8 million at the end of the last financial year?

“I joined Lincolnshire TEC when it was formed (1991) and I was involved in getting young people into work experience and boosting enterprise skills.

“When the TEC closed down (to be followed by the Learning & Skills Councils), there was a worry about what would happen to the work we had been doing, which had received national recognition. Staff, schools, community partners and Lincolnshire County Council didn’t want it to be lost,” said Elaine.

“I was invited to set up a social enterprise and to take six members of staff with me. We were given a national grant, some small bids and a grant from Lincolnshire County Council, equipping us with a budget of £800,000. We moved into one-third of the top floor of Welton House. Now, we have grown to occupy the whole building.”

In 2010/11, Elaine had the unmissable opportunity to run one of the first National Citizen Service pilots.


Continue reading the full cover interview with Elaine Lilley in issue 92.

For the latest dispatch of business news from across Lincolnshire delivered in your inbox every Friday, subscribe to the Lincolnshire Business magazine.

Manufacturing company boss Paul Edwards was in the market for a fresh challenge when a recruitment consultant signposted him to an opportunity to join one of Lincoln’s best-known manufacturing firms.

Armed with a wealth of knowledge gained in the aerospace and automotive sectors, Paul decided to take a leap of faith and left Firth Rixson (now part of Alcoa), where he was Plant Sales Manager, for the world of engineered hoses at James Dawson & Son, part of Fenner Plc.

When Paul, who lives in Derbyshire, revealed that he actually joined Dawson’s on April 1st, 2009, there is the irresistible urge to ask whether he should have chosen a less auspicious day!


This feature interview was first published in issue 81 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.

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As things have turned out, he made the right move. Joining the company as Sales & Marketing Director, in 2013 Paul found himself in the Managing Director’s chair after only four years.

He is now responsible for 200 employees in Lincoln and 65 more in Shanghai, China. All are busy providing engineering hoses for a diverse worldwide customer base. Demand has seen Dawson’s turnover hit £17 million.

The company also has a warehouse in America and sales people based “locally” in Germany, America, India and China, as well as the UK. Prestigious customers include Caterpillar, Cummins and JCB.

Getting closer to customers

Paul Edwards, Managing Director of James Dawson & Son. Photo Steve Smailes

Paul Edwards, Managing Director of James Dawson & Son. Photo Steve Smailes

Now in his eighth year with the company, Paul is seeing the rewards of the hours spent in encouraging his team to forge stronger relationships with Dawson’s customers, at a time when the firm’s overseas competition has intensified.

Paul has also nurtured good relationships with Lincolnshire firms since his arrival at Dawson’s and tapped into their home-grown expertise in his drive to increase Dawson’s sales.

The company’s hoses are used extensively in diesel engine applications requiring OEM (original equipment manufacture) and other solutions, and supplied to the agriculture, power generation, on and off highway, construction and specialist vehicle sectors.

“When I became Sales & Marketing Director my main objective was to grow sales and to get more intimate with customers. I wanted to develop relationships and I was also keen to up-skill our workforce,” said Paul.

“However, I was also clear that I would never ask anyone to do something which I wouldn’t do myself.

Dealing face-to-face

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“I feel that a lot of sales people are not “commercially aware” enough. By that, I mean that they tend to be more product, rather than marketing-oriented. One of the first things I did was to bring in new sales people – two to work locally in America, another in Germany and a fourth in the UK.”

Paul’s decision was based on his own experience and the power of meeting customers on their own territory.


Continue reading the full cover interview with Paul Edwards in issue 81.

For the latest dispatch of business news from across Lincolnshire delivered in your inbox every Friday, subscribe to the Lincolnshire Business magazine.

Solid experience, good contacts and a “can do” attitude have combined to give engineering company boss Chris Woolley an unexpected break – into the world of education!

The Managing Director of IMPS (UK) Ltd in North Hykeham, whose company is best known for repairing, maintaining and supplying parts for diesel engines, and supplying generators, has just built a fully-functioning ship’s engine in a Scottish College.


This feature interview was first published in issue 74 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.

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Chris, whose team has also serviced hundreds of ships’ engines around the world, was thrilled to be at the heart of a ground breaking project to supply and install a MAK designed and built 20 tonne engine in the City of Glasgow College’s Riverside Campus.

Engineers from the Whisby Way factory spent five months working on what is claimed to be the most modern working engine room in a college in the UK, which UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Officer Guy Platten described as an inspiration.

“It was an irresistible opportunity for us to deliver such an unusual order for a UK client, when about 90% of our work is for export markets, especially Africa, Asia and the Far East,” said Chris.

“One of our directors Simon Houselander, joined IMPS (UK) Ltd a couple of years ago. His previous company had received an initial inquiry from the college five years earlier, but nothing happened at that time.

“Then two of the nautical college’s lecturers tracked us down and said they wanted to source a working engine room, which would operate and sound like the real thing, and offer their students real-time experience.”

Glasgow has a sister college in Angola and especially wanted a MAK engine. There are not many around of this model in the second hand market, but we were able to supply them with one,” said Chris.


Continue reading the full cover interview with Chris Woolley in Issue 74.

For the latest dispatch of business news from across Lincolnshire delivered in your inbox every Friday, subscribe to the Lincolnshire Business magazine.

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