Laurie Gardiner, the self-styled salesman of ever faster lead-acid battery assembly systems, is stepping down as managing director of TBS Engineering.
Gardiner, who turned 65 on 17 March, had worked with the company for 41 years and worked his way up from hand-finishing moulds to closing multi-million pound deals on assembly machine sales to the world’s biggest lead-acid battery makers.
Many in the battery industry assumed Gardiner was the owner-manager but the company is in fact part of the famous Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate led by Warren Buffet.
Stepping into the role as managing director at TBS is David Longney, while son Mark Gardiner takes over as head of sales.
Gardiner says his success has been about whetting the appetites of his customers to believe TBS “could always build a bigger, faster cast-on system”, than the previous generation of machines.
“I had to tell them that because our machines don’t wear out – they just demand replacement parts.”
Today 20% of the company’s business is supplying spares, while the majority of sales are in Asia. “We’ve just renewed our joint venture agreements with Digatron in China and from this year we will doing some limited assembly of our products there.”
After years of international sales Gardiner isn’t applying the brakes to a lifetime in battery making. “I shall still be involved in bringing new technology to market— we have great hopes for new ideas in the pipeline which will revolutionise the cast-on process and save manufacturers money.”