Movers & Shakers: Bob Knight swaps telecoms for cleaning with Ovenu franchise

Bob Knight, who previously worked as a telephone engineer for well-known organisations including BT

Bob Knight, who previously worked as a telephone engineer for well-known organisations including BT and the Metropolitan Police Service, is now the owner of Ovenu Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

A former engineer has swapped his toolbox for the opportunity to run his own company after starting out in business as a professional oven valeter. Bob Knight, who previously worked as a telephone engineer for well-known organisations including BT and the Metropolitan Police Service, in a career spanning more than 35 years, is now the owner of Ovenu Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

Bob, 56, who lives in Lowestoft, is also a technical member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and was keen to become his own boss, when embarking on a change of direction.

Mr Knight said: “I have enjoyed a rewarding career in engineering, but I felt that it was time for a change.

“The opportunity with Ovenu is a perfect fit for me, as I actually enjoy cleaning, which might surprise a few people. I am also fulfilling a lifelong ambition to work for myself, so the decision was a no-brainer.

“It will be challenging but I am aiming to hit the ground running and will hopefully create a thriving, small business. I am now looking forward to building a long lasting relationship with my clientele and can’t wait to get started.”

Ovenu Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth serves homes and businesses throughout Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, including all surrounding towns and villages.

Rik Hellewell, managing director and founder of Ovenu, said: “I am delighted for Bob that he is fulfilling one of his goals in becoming his own boss.

Most Read

“His determination to succeed and extensive customer orientated experience will put him in good stead, and I would like to wish him all the best with his business.”

Ovenu is a franchise network made up of more than 100 businesses throughout the UK.

The Ovenu valeting process involves dismantling key components of an oven such as the door, interior panels, fan and shelves and placing them into design-registered tank equipment, which uses safe, non-caustic products to clean the oven parts. The process takes around three to four hours.

: : A former legal executive who became a solicitor at Birkett Long has been made a partner.

Mother-of-two Caroline Dowding, who is head of wills, trusts and probate at Birkett Long’s Colchester office, specialises in the administration of estate, trusts, tax planning and care fee funding.

The 44-year-old first joined the firm 15 years ago as a trainee legal executive, which included supporting solicitors in their work.

Two years ago she was promoted to an associate and has now superseded that as partner.

“Birkett Long gave me an opportunity to follow my dream of becoming a solicitor,” she said.

“Throughout this time, the partners have supported, encouraged and guided me to not only become a solicitor but also the head of the wills, trust and probate team in our Colchester office and, more importantly, become part of their family.

“To become a partner of a regional heavyweight, one of the largest law firms in Essex, is not only a tremendous achievement personally but a great privilege.

“Birkett Long feels like a family, all following the same dreams and aspirations, and one I am very proud of. Why have I never left? I just love being part of it.”

David Wisbey, chairman at Birkett Long, said: “Caroline has done so well and come so far that she really deserves this achievement. She is a credit to herself and our team and I congratulate her.”

: : Following a strong year of growth at the Ipswich office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, partner and practice leader James Brown has expanded his role to join the firm’s national leadership team, taking overall responsibility for Grant Thornton’s eight offices across the central and eastern region.

James has played a lead role in the development of Grant Thornton’s Ipswich office, as well the firm’s Norfolk and Essex operations, and will continue to maintain a strong presence across East Anglia, retaining the majority of his current client base.

In his new role, James will be responsible for strategically overseeing the firm’s offices in Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton, St Albans and Leicester, plus Grant Thornton’s new site in Chelmsford which opens for business later this month.

As part of the move, James will now hand over the reins as practice leader of the Ipswich office to fellow partner Paul Naylor who currently heads Grant Thornton’s operations across Cambridgeshire.

Paul has been with the firm for more than 20 years, providing expert advice to privately held and AIM-listed corporates, including those with international operations, as well as leading the 90-strong team at the Cambridge office.

James said: “This is an exciting time for Grant Thornton as the firm continues with its strategy for growth and I am delighted to take a lead role in this process.

“Over the years we have built strong, successful relationships with a good number of the dynamic, growth focused businesses we are lucky enough to have in this region and I will continue to remain very much part of that, retaining most of my existing clients.

“We have established a robust and positive leadership team at the Ipswich office which is in very capable hands. My move is very much about empowering the team to continue driving the business forward, under Paul’s experienced direction, and provide both new and existing clients with the expert advice they need to fulfil their own growth ambitions.”

: : An Ipswich technician has been recognised for spending his entire working life in the automotive industry, all with the same employer.

Glenn Morgan has dedicated 35 years to the town’s Wolsey Van Centre and puts his commitment down to the company’s friendly atmosphere.

The loyal specialist was presented with a Volkswagen long service award in recognition of his exceptional service to the brand.

Glenn joined the Volkswagen Sproughton Road business in 1979, straight from school, and began his career as an apprentice technician. Having developed his expertise Glenn is now in a more senior role and assists with mentoring the company’s young talent.

After 15 years with Volkswagen passenger cars, Glenn moved to the commercial vehicles division where he has remained.

“I have always enjoyed my time at Wolsey Van Centre; is it really interesting to see how the range has evolved and how the industry has changed,” said Glenn.

“The best part about my job is the friendly atmosphere and the team I work with – they are a great bunch. The company is really supportive and has a lovely family approach, which has made the job enjoyable. I feel very lucky and truly believe this is the reason I have stayed.”

Head of business at Wolsey Volkswagen Van Centre, David Nichols, said: “To work for 35 years at one company is a remarkable achievement in this day and age. We really appreciate the loyalty Glenn has shown to us.

“Glenn’s expertise makes him a valuable member of our team and his knowledge of the vehicles and brand further enhances the service we can offer our customers.”

Five other employees at the van centre also received long service recognition. They were David Nichols and David Ross who have each served 10 years and Gemma Groom, Sue Sewell and James Cooper who have all completed five years.

In addition, the sister company, Volkswagen Van Centre Bury St Edmunds, also has two employees – John Clarke, sales executive, and Gerald Payne, aftersales manager – who have each accumulated 15 years’ service with the Volkswagen brand.

: : Christopher Scott has taken up the position of partner at estate agents Fine and Country in Bury St Edmunds.

Christopher has spent many years in the industry working for small and large independent firms and large corporate organisations.

“Fine and Country offers superb marketing that is unrivalled in the market place and it is refreshing to be able to be allowed to offer such a fantastic service,” he said.