New exciting times for Lifting Gear Products under leadership of 19 Year Old Ella Cheetham.
At just 19-years-old Ella Cheetham has become our managing director here at Lifting Gear Products and immediately the nude calendars on the shop floor were taken down without her having to say anything. It was a supportive move by all our male staff – one of several since she took over here at Lifting Gear Products in May.
But it would be a lie to say it had been easy an easy journey four our young new director. She has faced “horrible” ageism, sexism, scepticism and dissent. But before her arrival the company was on a downward spiral and she had asked her dad Paul, the owner, for the job. Since then she has found the courage and confidence to face down problems and drive the firm forward. We operate in a sector where according to Ella“hairy-arsed engineers are used to dealing with hairy-arsed engineers.” And the firm itself was stuck in the past, Ella however hopes to change this – “I had to prise the typewriters off them.”
Our young director has had some horrible references to her age and sex. With many people saying, ‘you can’t tell me what to do,’ and, ‘I don’t care who your dad is’. However she has battled on through and now the firm is proud to have her as our MD, In Ella’s words she says: “I have reached a confidence level now where I’ll do what is right. Needless to say some people have left the company.”
Here at LGP we are part of the Europa Engineering group of five firms owned by Paul Cheetham. Founded in 1952, it once occupied several buildings and supplied huge organisations like the Coal Board. Today we are in one unit and has a strong workforce of 11, including four women. Ella knows the business inside out, as she has worked for the group since she was 13, taking minutes in board meetings.
In September she turned down a university place with a bursary to start full time at LGP. She came in as sales executive before moving into group business development. She was being groomed for her dad’s job in a few years until matters. We had been through several managing directors and the future looked so bad selling up was on the cards.
Under her leadership we have revamped our offices, signed 150 new customers and started a clear out running to 15 skips and counting. Ella plans to open a second site in Manchester next year. She’s also hired Gareth Cain, aged 33, as shop floor supervisor.
Ella went to an all-girls school in Wakefield and the teachers struggled to understand her decision not to go to university. She turned down an unconditional place to study business, and upset the school’s aim to send everyone to further education. But now as part of the Lifting Gear team she is doing something she loves with a team who enjoys and accepts her presence!