After 40 years of being in charge, Stewart and Christine Highnett, founders and directors of the Newbury-based Highnett Group, are relinquishing their roles and handing control of the company to Toby Bartlett and Nicky Varley.
The company manufactures control and instrumentation systems and carries out electrical and mechanical installation, maintenance and servicing across a range of sectors including steel, gas and water works, renewable energy control panels and bespoke R & D panels.
New managing director, Toby Bartlett, has been working at Highnett for the past six years. He said: “This is an amazing opportunity and I am determined to build on the success and reputation of the company. In addition to the support and encouragement I’m receiving from Stewart and Christine, my colleagues are also right behind me and I’m looking forward to 2019.”
One of the biggest challenges Bartlett faces is finding more skilled staff. “We currently have two apprentices completing their final year of the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Electrotechnical Technology and we are keen to talk to anyone who may be interested in developing their career with us.”
Stewart Highnett said; “Now is the right time for Christine and myself to step away from the business. We hoped it would be a success but never imagined we would be where we are now, with national and international clients, a committed and skilled team of employees and regular new business enquiries.”
The Highnett Group consists of Highnett Controls, Macklin Controls and Solatest Renewables. Building on its foundation business, Highnett Controls designs, manufactures and maintains controls panels, alongside M&E installation and maintenance, servicing and repairs for a range of systems including fire & emergency, lighting, plumbing and motor and machine fault diagnosis and repair. Macklin Controls joined the group in 2008 and extended the offering to cover switchgear and control systems. Working closely with many of the UK’s leading wholesalers, this division builds switchgear, changeover switches, isolators and control panels along with expert support and technical advice. The third and most recent addition, Solatest, creates and delivers complete solutions for G59/3 regulations in the renewable energy market place, where there is an increasing demand for support.
Based in Newbury, the company employs 10 staff across the three different divisions. Recent changes in the renewables market had impacted on Solatest’s business but all three divisions are now flourishing and have full order books. One of the most recent contracts for Macklin Controls has been for the design, manufacture and delivery of control panels to help manage the intermittent power supplies for a customer in Nigeria. Closer to home the company has maintenance contracts with several large local organisations including AWE, Newbury Electronics and SPX Flow.