10 years of working with Intelligent Transport Systems

Anne Ashman, our Commercial & Operations Director is celebrating 10 years of working with us on the 5th September. We have spoken to Anne and asked her to look back on her time with the now group companies and how she has seen MVIS go from a start-up company with only 8 x Original Bartco 5 colour VMS in the fleet to the UK’s leading portable Intelligent Transport System Hire Company, having multiple new products and over 600 units in the hire fleet, plus the sale of multiple units through Bartco UK and supporting them through delivering top quality platinum service.

When Anne started with the then named company, “Colour Mobile VMS” back in 2011 as the office manager, the dream was to win the Olympic Games Lane Project in 2012 in London. This seemed an impossible task for the company with only 3 staff and only 8 units in the hire fleet. Jump forward 1 year, and the company had not only won and delivered the Olympic project, it had almost 200 units in the hire fleet, a new name, a new sales manager in Graeme Lee and a new product called the ‘2012 platform’, better known now as the Solar IP.

anne ashmanWithin 1 year of starting, Anne had been instrumental in the planning and shipping of the units from our now sister company Bartco AU, who manufactured the products for the 2012 Olympics, getting the units into the country in a very tight turn around window, often having to speak to shipping agents, customs and dealing with Forex companies to get the best exchange rates, this was no small task. On the back of this, Anne got promoted to Office and Finance Manager for the newly formed MVIS Ltd ITS Hire company.

Anne comments “after the Olympics was when the real work really started, having almost 200 signs with no established customer base was a very difficult time. We had units stuck in the yard, no hire system in place, a new sales manager and still only a team of 5 people”.

This did not deter Anne, in true ‘Anne fashion’ she rolled up her sleeves and got stuck in. Her day often included accounts work, chasing for payments, raising invoices, payroll, sales quoting, sales lead generation, marketing, web studio programming of the signs, getting units ready for hire, logistics of delivering, customer service, writing and implementing the much needed policies, procedures and processes, company first aider, even delivering the signs sometimes, generally the role was very all rounded at this stage with limited staff.

In 2013, when the then MD Tony Price left the company and Pat Musgrave become the new MD, Anne was promoted to General Manager. In the short two years of her employment, she had shown that she could easily manage the company and was the right person to take on the role, working with Pat and Graeme, to move it to the next level.

Since 2013 when Pat and Anne became the senior management team the company has not looked back, it has gone from strength to strength. In 2014 Bartco UK was formed to manufacture and sell ITS products in the UK, this also came under Anne’s watchful eye.

Since starting in 2011 Anne has seen the company go from 3 employees, Anne being the only original member left, to 22 staff across the 2 UK group companies, of which 20 Anne has recruited, these 22 staff make up everything that MVIS and Bartco UK are, with Anne’s passion, history and strive for perfection the team all buy in to this and give the best service to the company’s now large customer base.

During her 10 years with the group companies Anne has gained 3 ISO standards across the UK companies, she commented, “When I took this task on single headedly in 2014, as there was nobody else to do it, I really didn’t know what I had got myself into, I had a very quick learning curve and with a lot of extra hours worked I soon got in to the flow and gained the first 2 standards and implemented them across all areas of the business. Once Dom started to assist, it made getting the 3rd standard easier with two of us working on it. Since then, we have gone on to get many more accreditations and none have been as difficult, as we now know exactly what is needed, most recently working on our FORS Bronze accreditation together”.

Anne strongly believes in the personal development of herself and her team, often mentoring the apprentices and ensuring all new starters get the right training they need.  She has completed an OU Business Management Degree, gained a level 5 HR qualification, IOSH Managing Safely, Directors Development Program and most recently PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner qualifications whilst running the group companies, amongst other qualifications she has.

Anne continues, “Doing a degree and making sure my 3 children and husband had the best life and opportunities I have had, due to my work at MVIS, has just been the cherry on top of the cake. When I started here 10 years ago, I was so ambitious but really didn’t know if this new start-up company was going to help me realise my ambitions. Looking back, there are too many highlights to mention. But there was my degree, a very proud moment when I picked up my certificate in front of my family after 7 years of studying, trips to our sister company in Australia, trade shows across the UK and Europe, being involved in the 2012 Olympics, winning most of the major High Speed schemes across the UK in the last 10 years and having the opportunity to build and work with a fantastic workforce, I think I can say my ambitions have been more than realised. Every day here at MVIS and Bartco UK is different and I wouldn’t have it any other way, overseeing all areas of the business really does keep me on my toes and I love it”.

As a company, a group of employees and as individuals, we all wish to congratulate Anne on this very important milestone. Anne is the first member of staff to reach 10 years’ service in our group’s history and she is also the longest serving employee, marking not just a significant occasion for Anne, but also for the organisation in general and we are all looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us.