Chamberlain chairman prepares to celebrate 70th birthday Monday 16th July 2012
Now 55 years on, and on the eve of his 70th birthday, the builder's son from
"At 15 I began helping my mother and father out whenever I could with the transport business they set up when dad finished his service in the army after the war. At that time though I didn't want to go into transport I wanted to work in the medical profession so I stayed in school until 16, which wasn't very common at the time."
"But growing up after the war, times were still hard and my father was keen for me to start paying my way, so on the eve of my 17th birthday in 1958 I was given a second-hand wagon and became a driver for the business."
Ted never looked back, progressing from driver to managing the transport office before taking over as chairman of the company started by his mum and dad, Gerald and Rachel, in 1954.
Since then Ted has seen the business grow from two people and two vehicles to an established firm with a fleet of over 30 vehicles employing 50 staff. They now operate from two sites and have an annual turnover of over four million pounds.
At the same time the business has remained very much a family firm with Ted's wife Mary currently the company secretary and sons Simon and Mark as joint managing directors, also Simon and Mark's wives working for the business.
"Working together as a family is a tremendous asset to the business. We are always there to support each other and we all bring our different strengths and attributes to the firm," said Ted.
"I have tried to build a company that my family can be proud of and leave a successful legacy for my sons as well as the youngest generation of the family, my three wonderful grandchildren."
But building a successful company hasn't been easy. In the last 57 years the business has faced challenges including national drivers' strikes, increased congestion and more recently tighter legislation on emissions and rising fuel bills.
"The transport industry isn't easy, I have had to learn a lot things the hard way and there have always been challenges, but the most successful firms have been forward thinking and adapted to meet those challenges," he said.
"Rising fuel prices is a major issue and I think we will see a lot of small firms will struggle. But I believe in the long run the industry will survive and there will be a greater drive towards developing more efficient fuel."
Ted believes Chamberlain's success has come from a foundation of careful planning and a dedication to quality customer service.
"A major reason for our success is that we don't run before we can walk. Before we invest in any project we look at what our budget is and what the return will be. These principles were what my father founded the company on and what I have tried to pass on to my sons."
"We might not be the biggest transport business but the firm is successful because unlike many larger firms we can offer a flexible service to customers' needs and can respond quickly and efficiently when they need us to. This quality of service is what sets us apart and why I am confident the future will continue to be bright."
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