Black Country car boss named top company director in the West Midlands
The boss of a Black Country sports cars and autonomous PODs manufacturer has been named the top company director in the West Midlands.
Dr Julian Turner has won the Institute of Directors’ West Midlands director of the year 2019 title and also won its international award.
The chief executive of Kingswinford’s Westfield Technology Group was revealed as the winner at the annual champagne breakfast for the regional IoD awards at Edgbaston cricket ground.
He said that the awards were a fabulous boost for the business.
“It will certainly open a lot of doors for us, but this is an accolade for the whole team and recognition of the enormous changes that have happened in the business over the last few years.
“We have currently got cars going out to Israel, China and the Middle East and pods going to South Korea, Taiwan and Chna. Westfield is a huge British success.
“They are being made in the Black Country and delivered to the world.” he said.
Westfield had its origins in a family business that started in a garage in Kinver in 1982 at Westfield House before moving to Kingswinford the following year.
The family of Dr Turner, aged 42, of Solihull, bought Westfield Sportscars on Gibbons Industrial Park in 2006.
Westfield had been making its sports cars as complete models and kits since 1982, but its development truly accelerated when he became managing director and embarked on the road towards electrification and autonomous technology.
The company is now manufacturing autonomous PODs for Heathrow Airport and the Lake District National Park.
They will soon be tested on the streets of Shrewsbury town centre in a project with Shropshire Council and Westfield is also working with the county’s Harper Adams University on using pods in rural environments and developing an AirPOD drone-style flying delivery system.
Trials of the autonomous PODs were also held in the grounds of the former Ironbridge Power Station.
Keeping one eye on Brexit, Dr Turner has focused on developing new markets outside of Europe and has won business in Dubai, South Korea and Australia.
With a focus on controlled environments, such as airports and business parks, he works closely with the likes of Emirates Group to demonstrate how Westfield’s vehicles can offer a complete service for airside operations – from passenger transport and moving cargo to autonomous road sweepers.
Judges for the Institute of Directors said: “Whilst maintaining the core business through uncertain times, Julian has taken some bold innovative steps and broken new ground using existing strengths of the business to diversify into completely new sectors and markets.”
Throughout his career, he has embraced innovation and has frequently taken risks but, perhaps most significantly, Julian has approached a challenging environment and seen an opportunity to restructure and diversify.
“A genuine disruptor, Julian has taken a traditional manufacturing business and shown real entrepreneurship by transforming a kit car producer into the UK’s leading POD manufacturer, directly targeting clients from across the globe.”
In the international category Dr Turner impressed the judges with his incredible clarity and drive to reach sustainable growth.
They said he has steered his company through a huge change programme and had implemented and led a strategy which has helped drive growth globally and positioned Westfield Technology Group as a market leader in its field.
Other award winners included Stewart Towe, of Smethwick-based Hadley Group who won in the large business category.
Hadley, located in Downing Street is a cold rolled steel sections specialist.
Dr Turner and the other category winners now go on to represent the West Midlands in the IoD National Director of the Year Awards in October.
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