Runner-up Avon Barrier Company
MENTION a firm with a global reputation, contracts in Iraq and Pakistan and a sales office in America and you immediately think of a giant corporation based in the heart of London.
But the headquarters and two manufacturing sites of Avon Barrier Company are on a trading estate on the southern fringe of Bristol at Ashton Vale, and there are just 70 people on the payroll.
The firm was founded in 1989 by four ex-employees of a vehicle barrier company that had moved to Yorkshire. One of the founders, John Jeffrey, is now Non-Executive Chairman. One of his sons, Paul, has been Managing Director for about 16 years.
Avon Barrier's International Business Development Manager, Mark Datchler, has helped to build up a strong overseas order book which must be the envy of many a national organisation.
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Initially, the firm was making automatic and manual vehicle barriers and blockades. Now it specialises in making and selling high security entry point protection which is designed to beat terrorists. The firm's products are specifically designed to stop a truck travelling at 50 miles an hour.
Its turnover has increased by 33 per cent and the order intake by 25 per cent. The management team has developed a five-year plan that it says capitalises on its international experience to take advantage of new and developing markets around the world. Its American office has begun trading this year with high expectations for growth over the next few years.
Avon Barrier Company was also a runner-up in the Family Business of the Year category in the Post's Business Awards.