Having lived on North Tyneside since 2003, experienced industrialist Andrew Esson joined the North Tyneside Business Forum management team shortly after acquiring a specialist North Tyneside engineering business in 2011 to contribute his expertise on manufacturing and engineering issues. Now Director of his own consultancy and advisory company, Esson Partnership Ltd, he tells us more about his career and why he loves giving back to Forum members.
What’s your role in the NTBF management team?
I’m the manufacturing expert on the Forum management team. I use my experience in the manufacturing industry to help with relevant projects and advise members in that area too.
I became a member of the management team about 7 years ago, shortly after I acquired my North Tyneside-based business, moving from a corporate role leading an Ashington based business. Having recognised the wider manufacturing expertise of their new business neighbour, the then Chair and Vice Chair of the Business Forum asked me to consider a seat on the management team.
I’ve always been a great believer in Corporate Social Responsibility so I was delighted to be able to give something back into the North Tyneside business community by taking up this role. I enjoy helping and advising people – it’s what I’ve done throughout my career. If I’m not spending time with my family, I’m advising people and putting back into the business community.
Tell us a little more about you and your business background
I’m a highly experienced industrialist based in the North Tyneside, operating across the North East.
I’m a mechanical engineer by profession and I’ve worked across a range of industries during my career. Having worked my way up the career ladder from graduate trainee to managing director in a 27 year career working for blue chip engineering organisations, I acquired my own North Tyneside-based specialist engineering business in 2011, largely through a desire to continue working and living in the North East.
Having sold and exited my business in 2017, I decided it was time to set up Esson Partnership, offering non-executive, advisory and consultancy support, with a vision of using my business expertise to help create growth and prosperity in the North East. A key factor in this was a desire to play my part to ensure that my teenage children, and all other young people of their age, have the best chance of finding great roles and improve their prospects in our area of the country.
In addition to my executive responsibilities within the businesses I have led, my passion for manufacturing and engineering led me to take up a variety of advisory board roles, in organisations such as NOF, Subsea North East, the Manufacturing Advisory Service and Make UK, where I am currently Chair of the North East Regional Advisory Board and have a seat on the Make UK National Membership Board. This makes me probably one of the best connected industrialists in the North East business community!
Does your role on the team create connections for you in business and indeed in your life outside the Forum?
From a personal perspective, being on the management team has helped me get connected to council members and staff at all levels, from the Mayor herself and everyone who works with her. I find this of benefits to my own business activities, but equally I am happy to provide my expertise and insight on all things manufacturing and technology to the council team.
Membership of the management team also allows me to be right on top of what’s happening in business support, apprenticeships and throughout the business community. This all proves extremely useful in both my personal and work life.
My role on the Make UK National Membership Board gives me access to people who speak directly to the Prime Minister and other senior politicians, enabling me to take the needs of North Tyneside manufacturers all the way to Whitehall.
My current business activities include working within the North East LEP’s Scaleup North East business support programme, as their manufacturing expert, and I always do my best to ensure that North Tyneside businesses have excellent access to the support available within the wider North East region. I also support a large local college as an Industrial Strategy consultant, where my Business forum activities form part of the knowledge base which I use to inform my advice.
How do you see the Forum developing in the future?
I’d like to see the Forum continue supporting the business community as it already is. Engagement with businesses in the borough is crucial to keeping the borough flourishing.
Personally, I see my role as making sure the voice of manufacturing in the region is heard and working alongside the council to develop the business community.
I’ve sat on the boards and management teams of many business bodies, all with varying degrees of influence. I’m always realistic about the level of influence any organisation can have and I think the Business Forum is fulfilling its remit well and I look forward to working with the team into the future.
Ultimately though, the Business Forum is only successful if local businesses engage, tell us what they need, and support the activities and initiatives which we run, so I would encourage all North Tyneside based businesses to get involved.