Movers & Shakers: James Gotts becomes green keeper at the ‘RJ National’

James Gotts who has been appointed greenkeeper at the RJ National, Ransomes Jacobsen's three-hole go

James Gotts who has been appointed greenkeeper at the RJ National, Ransomes Jacobsen's three-hole golf course in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

James Gotts has been appointed as greenkeeper of the “RJ National”, Ransomes Jacobsen’s three-hole golf course located at its European headquarters and manufacturing facility in Ipswich.

James, who lives in Kesgrave on the outskirts of the town, joins Ransomes Jacobsen from Waldringfield Golf Club, where he began his career five years ago after leaving school. After completing his apprenticeship he went on to achieve NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Sportsturf Management.

The RJ National was the brainchild of David Withers, former managing director of Ransomes Jacobsen and now president of Jacobsen in the USA. He transformed former waste ground at the plant into a three-hole, par nine course with different grass species mixes on each hole. Part of the rationale was to offer aspiring young greenkeepers the opportunity to further their careers, on a fixed two-year contract, and James is now the fourth incumbent in the job.

Previous keepers of the green at the RJ National are now working in the industry. One is on the groundstaff at Fulham Football Club, while another is a turf specialist with Sherrif Amenity and the previous incumbent, Jamie Hughes, has joined the company as a product demonstrator.

“My course manager at Waldringfield, Keith Titshall, has been the mentor of RJ National greenkeepers for the past two years. He suggested that I look at the position when it was advertised and I’m really pleased that I did,” said James.

“Some people will say that it’s only three holes, but there’s always plenty to do. I’m also responsible for maintaining the records to preserve our GEO accreditation, budget control and looking after the seven-a-side football pitch, which is part of my remit. I’m also fortunate enough to have some of the best equipment at my disposal and I get to test some of our new products. My immediate goal is to have the course in immaculate condition for a visit by Textron’s senior leadership team in May.”

: : Sudbury-based noise reduction firm Echo Barrier has taken on three new recruits.

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Chris Long is the team’s new operations co-ordinator, overseeing barrier orders coming in and out of the company and controlling and managing stock levels. He has been at the company for a while, working his way up the ranks from a driving role.

“Echo Barrier have given me a great opportunity to develop my career, and as the company has grown, the need for someone to keep control of stock and logistics has increased. I’m thrilled to have been promoted into this role and I’m looking forward to expanding my skills and knowledge,” he said.

General manager David Lindsay said: “The company has a commitment to developing staff and promoting internally so we are thrilled that Chris has made the move ‘upstairs’. He already has a deep knowledge of the way the company works so he will be an asset to the company as we continue to grow.”

Web developer Richard Hedges has joined the team and will oversee all website maintenance and builds, looking after sites for all operations here in the UK and for the firm’s growing portfolio of overseas offices.

“The Echo Barrier team are going through a period of huge growth and are constantly ahead of the field in the development of innovative new products. I am delighted to be on board and looking forward to being part of the team going forwards,” he said.

The team has also welcomed Sharon Butcher as accounts manager. Sharon will work closely with Dave Lindsay to process all invoices and payments and keep the accounts up to date.

Sharon said: “As the company grows the amount of payment paperwork coming through the business is increasing so I’m going to be kept very busy. There is a great team spirit here and everyone has been very welcoming; it’s a great place to work.”

Echo Barrier, which has recently expanded, opening offices in Australia, the USA, Abu Dhabi and several offices in Europe, makes noise reduction barriers for projects which include the London Underground station refurbishment programme and track upgrade project.

: : East Green Energy has appointed two new directors to its team.

Sarah Stephens becomes finance director and Anthony Havers will head the Woodbridge company’s domestic solar PV division. Both have been with the business for more than three years, Sarah coming from big four accountancy firm KPMG and Anthony from pension provider Suffolk Life.

The firm, founded by Robbie Gawthrop and Linda Grave more than seven years ago, provides bespoke renewable energy solutions for businesses and homes in the region, specialising in solar PV and biomass boilers.

Sarah said: “I am very excited to have taken on a greater role within the company and I look forward to bringing the benefits of our products and services to more homes and businesses across the region as we continue to grow.”

Anthony said he was “extremely proud” to become a director for the company at an exciting time of growth in the renewables sector.

: : Framlingham-based cloud telecoms provider X-on has taken on a number of new staff to strengthen the team at the expanding firm.

Founded in 2000, the firm, which offers cloud telecoms and mobile telephony services, processes several million SMS and call minutes per month, and helps clients from diverse industries, including household brands such as Kelloggs, Bupa and Fujitsu, as well as local non-profit organisations such as Radio Castle.

This thriving customer base combined with the successful launch of, a new e-commerce website offering a range of pay-as-you-go based telecoms services, has led to additional office space and a number of new recruits working out of its headquarters at Framlingham Technology Centre.

Cuube was expertly led by local resident Richard Jeffery, X-on’s new e-commerce web designer. Aaron Parker has joined as support team leader, and will manage the support of new and existing customers, further assisted by Xander Langford.

Fellow new additions Justin Helmer and Tim Wilkinson will form part of the X-on operations team as network support engineers. The sales team has been boosted by Mark Ayriss, who, as account manager, will look after the needs of small business customers, while Samantha Lawrence joins the busy accounts department as a business administration apprentice.

Patryk Pilek joins as part of a work placement while studying MEng software engineering at the University of Huddersfield, and the development team is enhanced further by the arrival of engineer Mihai Georgescu.

Chief executive Paul Bensley is thrilled with the impact the new additions have had so far.

“2014 was a fantastic year for X-on, and as part of our growth, it is important that we continue to bring in highly skilled people from the local area, and I am delighted that we have been able to do so with such success,” he said.

Director Lesley Bensley added: “Each of our new recruits has brought with them personality, knowledge and expertise.

“Whilst there will no doubt be challenges ahead in 2015, we believe we are fully equipped to tackle any obstacles that may arise as our growth continues.”

: : One of Volkswagen’s top performing retailers has welcomed a new hand on the steering wheel for 2015.

Gary Halestrap, previously a brand manager at Barnards Volkswagen in Stowmarket, has taken on the new role of Volkswagen brand manager, leading the team at the Northern Way dealership in Bury St Edmunds that employs 43 people and sells almost 1,000 cars a year.

Gary, 47, has more than 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry and benefits from working in all aspects of the industry including parts, service and sales and now senior management. His new role focuses on all aspects of service, sales and people management making Gary ultimately responsible for the overall success of the business.

Gary said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed Volkswagen brand manager at Bury. It is a much larger retailer with a great team and I am looking forward to working with them.”

Among the changes at the retailer are promotions for Joe Parmenter and Adam Gumb, who will take on the new roles of transaction managers.

Joe was promoted after six years as a sales specialist at Bury Volkswagen to become one of the first transaction managers responsible for the delivery of a completely transparent and consistent approach to the financial aspect of purchasing a car.

Adam Gumb, also promoted from sales specialist, brings with him 17 years’ experience in the motor trade and firmly believes that the strong structure and process led style at Bury is a real positive for customers.

Three new sales specialists, Rob Stone, Rob Taylor and Luke Bennett, also joined the team this year, with a combined 22 years’ experience in sales.