Movers & Shakers: Karl Topley appointed business rental specialist at Hughes Trade

Karl Topley of Hughes Trade.

Karl Topley of Hughes Trade. - Credit: Archant

Hughes Trade has appointed Karl Topley to the new position of business rental specialist as part of a planned expansion, providing support to the 40 Hughes retail shops in the rapidly growing business rental market.

“We want to make sure when a potential business rental customer goes into one of our shops they can call on an expert to give the best advice and service possible,” said Hughes Trade general manager Paul Chisnall.

“Some TVs are specially designed for hotels being really easy to use and having a lower maximum volume. You also need to know when a commercial grade washing machine, for example, is required rather than a domestic one, ultimately it’s about matching the customer’s needs to the right piece of equipment that will offer them the best solution in the long run.”

Karl, who has many years’ experience working for Hughes, including as a shop manager, added: “It is great to have a new challenge and these are very exciting times for the business.

“As well as supporting our branches I will also be looking for new opportunities to build on the fantastic growth we have enjoyed with business rental as more and more organisations enjoy the benefits it brings.

“We have installed TVs in holiday parks, commercial washing machines and dryers in care homes, dish and glass washers in pubs and microwaves in halls of residence. Rental can also include IT equipment such as laptops and tablets.

“We take the worry out of anything going wrong away from the customer as we underwrite any repair costs provided they are used reasonably. Business rental allows easy budgeting and is 100% tax deductible, which is another big advantage for commercial organisations and we can be very flexible when it comes to the length of any agreement.

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“We also rented thousands of individual items of electrical equipment to the London 2012 Olympics and in excess of 2,000 to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

Hughes Trade is only one of a handful of certified Miele Professional service partners in the country. This means it supplies and services the complete range of Miele Professional’s commercial washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers.

The trade division was launched by Hughes Electrical in 2007 and has nearly 50 employees, an annual turnover of £15m and operates from 14 locations across the country.

::East of England law firm Birketts has expanded its Ipswich office with seven new appointments during recent months.

Alexandra Nelson, Liz Brownsell and Emma Tubb have been recruited to bolster the corporate and commercial lawteam and Peter Hosking and Hannah Meara have joined its property division. Richard Guy has joined the private client and advisory Team and Emma Long has joined the corporate criminal defence team. The solicitors firm’s headquarters in Ipswich is now home to more than 250 lawyers and support staff.

Chief executive Jonathan Agar said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the firm. The site of our new 50,000sq ft headquarters in Princes Street, Ipswich, has now been cleared and we continue to attract significant new work across all practice areas in Suffolk and the surrounding area. We are delighted to welcome such high-calibre personnel who have chosen to develop their career with us.”

::Stowmarket-based malt firm Muntons has welcomed two new apprentices.

Charlie Duffy and Hannah Fayers’ positions are being jointly funded with caterers Churchill Catering, which operates the Muntons staff canteen.

The 20-month apprentice course has been designed in conjunction with the West Suffolk College to meet professional cookery level 2 and a newly created standard - Hospitality team member created by ‘People1st’.

During their apprenticeships, Hannah and Charlie will alternate between training in the staff canteen in real world work conditions and in Muntons new product development facility, its Centre for Excellence.

As part of their training they are required to bake bread and rolls to professional quality standards to meet the daily demand from the staff canteen, as well as creating new ways of using Muntons products in food production.

Hannah said: “I am really enjoying the experience and challenges that this apprenticeship is bringing. I really enjoy being creative.” A sentiment echoed by Charlie, who added “They are very friendly and helpful people here and every day is different.”

::Dean Everett of Colchester-based property management company PMS Managing Estates is celebrating his recent promotion to associate director.

Dean has been in the property industry for 19 years and with the Colchester-based firm since 2010. Previously he worked with a letting agency in the town.

The 51-year-old father of one, who looks after the property management team, said he was “nervous and excited in equal measure” to have been given the promotion and saw it as “a reward for six years of very hard work in the department”.

“I get a real sense of satisfaction at having done something that improves the standard of living for people in the developments we manage,” he said.

::Martlesham-based law firm Barker Gotelee has appointed Ann-Marie Matthews to its private client team.

In addition to undertaking all areas of private client business, she has a particular focus in dealing with high net worth estate planning issues and care fees – including NHS continuing care claims and the protection of vulnerable adults.

After graduating from Aberystwyth University in 2001, Ann-Marie later qualified from the College of Law in Chester in 2002. She went on to work for a Suffolk firm of solicitors where she became the head of the private client department in 2007 and a partner in 2008.

Ann-Marie is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and also of Solicitors for the Elderly.

Senior partner James Skellorn said the firm was “delighted” to welcome her to the team.

::Liam Mann has been recognised by his employer, forklift truck maker Linde Material Handling, for his achievements since starting his engineering apprenticeship with the company.

Liam Mann, 23, of Creeting St Mary is currently studying in the UK’s first certified apprentice scheme for the forklift truck industry, established by Linde in 2011 to address the skills gap for qualified engineers.

The awards, held at Renault’s F1 Technical Centre in Chipping Norton, recognise the talent within the Linde apprenticeship scheme with nine of the company’s 54 apprentices shortlisted for the awards this year.

Liam started the course in 2013, and is now three years into his training and is working on site at Linde East at the Port of Ipswich where he helps customer ABP in the dockyard warehouses. At the end of his three year vocational and technical skills related course, he will receive a formal qualification recognised by the International Motorship Institute as a Linde forklift truck engineer.

Liam said he is thrilled to have won the award which earned him a set of the latest Bluetooth wireless headphones and a trophy to mark his success.

“I’m really pleased to be working for a company that recognises hard work, I’ve really put a lot of effort into my final year of studying and it feels like its paid off. I’m looking forward to graduating and becoming a qualified engineer next year, I’d like to stay with Linde and go into their servicing department but after that who knows – it’s such a big company and there are lots of different options open to me.

“I’ve always been interested in engineering, before I started at Linde I worked in my local garage repairing motorbikes, so when I started my course I knew some of the basics of engineering work. Since starting, I’ve learnt so much about the different Linde trucks and systems and working in the docks has been great hands on customer experience while I’m learning.”

Rob Evans, technical training manager at Linde, said: “Students like Liam, our third year winner this year, help demonstrate our successful programme to others and I wish him the best of luck in his training.”