With a passion for the waste and recycling industry and unafraid to challenge the status quo, our managing director Marcus Brew has been featured in the latest issue of Circular magazine, giving an insight in to his working week, how he progressed to become UNTHA UK’s MD and the challenges his role brings with it. If you missed the article, and want to catch up, read below…
- What does your working week entail?
We became busier during Covid-19, and while some activities had to be carried out remotely, my working week was packed. We dug deep to support customers and each other in the face of uncertainty, so I wore far more ‘hats’ than usual, especially when helping the sales team with enquiries.
With less travel than normal, I made sure to maintain regular touchpoints with our different departments on top-level operational matters, and spent more time working through engineering advancements with our Austrian innovation centre.
We really stepped up to the plate during Covid-19, especially when the industry struggled with the availability of recycled material. We continued to evolve our shredding capabilities so that operators could handle even tougher, bulkier ‘waste’ streams – it’s been as much about looking forward, as it has ‘business as usual’.
- What do you enjoy about your job?
I love this industry. I’ve worked in many variants of it and travelled the world as a result. Clichés aside, I enjoy the variety, the innovations I see every week, and the materials we can help to break down and transform into valuable resources – however tricky the process.
Even the environmental challenges we encounter, remind us there’s more to do and we must keep pushing for change, both in the UK and overseas. It’s an exciting time to work in this space.
On a more personal note, I enjoy the freedom and trust placed in me, to help this company grow. We’re ambitious, unafraid of challenging the status quo, and the relationships we’ve developed with customers and partners mean our projects deliver great things. This is down to people, as much as it is our shredders.
- What challenges do you face?
We’re part of a global company, with a solid set of authentic, universal values, but we can never take our eyes off the ball when it comes to local requirements, from country to country. I think we manage this well, but it requires ongoing commitment.
We’ve experienced dramatic UK expansion, which naturally creates ‘growing pains’. Keeping pace with ongoing targets, the innovations we want to bring to market, and our continued development as a team, means we must spin lots of plates at times. Then there’s Brexit.
There’ll always be challenges, but navigating them comes down to the integrity, hard work and shared vision of the people we employ. Get that right, and everything else falls into place.
- How did you progress in your career to get to the position of MD?
I’ve worked in many roles, for and with small businesses, through to global engineering brands. I’ve managed teams and owned organisations too.
After a short time as UNTHA UK’s sales manager, the opportunity to one day join the board was on the cards. I enjoyed working closely with founder Chris Oldfield to bring my skills to this burgeoning market and help grow what was then a small yet fiercely entrepreneurial family business. It was clear we had something special – which I was mindful of protecting – but I knew I could take it to the next level.
As Chris prepared for retirement, we got the company ready for the next few decades, and I built a management team around me to really help UNTHA UK fly.
- How do you keep the business agile and responsive to changes in the industry?
With plenty hard work!
We communicate often, with each other, partners, peers, and of course our customers. We’re rarely actually talking about shredders – what we care about are the resource opportunities and operational challenges within the UK right now. We’ve lots of knowledge to share so by talking, we can better tackle them, together. This keeps us looking outwardly. If we spot the potential to engineer a solution in the process – great!
We’ve invested heavily in tech to give UNTHA UK an efficient infrastructure from which to scale further. But without a driven team – of like-minded people who enjoy working at pace and are receptive to change – I don’t think it would work.