Brothers take reins from dad at Willenhall firm

Three brothers have taken the reins from their father at Willenhall-based Raybloc – which started in a garage and now turns over millions – after he announced his retirement.

Lewis Haydon, left, Clarke Haydon and Sean Haydon, right
Lewis Haydon, left, Clarke Haydon and Sean Haydon, right

The Haydon brothers Lewis, Clarke and Kristian have become equal shareholders in the family business which their father, Sean Haydon, and grandfather, Leonard, started in 2000.

The trio, who have all worked at the firm since leaving school, have stepped up to take responsibility for the more than 20 members of staff and 8,000 sq ft premises in Willenhall.

Eldest brother Lewis said: “The business has come on leaps and bounds since our dad and granddad first started up more than 20 years ago and I’m excited to see it grow even more in the next 20 years.”

Sean and Leonard set up Raybloc, which is based on Bilston Road, after working in the industry as x-ray engineers for 30 plus years.

“My dad was ambitious and after working in the industry for a while he saw a gap in the market for something better. Alongside my grandad, he set up a mini production line in the garage in our family house and began making radiation x-ray screens for hospitals.

“It soon took off and they moved into a proper unit and started to employ staff,” he added. “I went to work for them when I finished school and I’ve been working there ever since – through the good times and the tough times, specifically the financial crisis.”

The business now creates total radiation shielding solutions for hospitals, private practices, dentists, vets, industrial, commercial, nuclear and the military.

Now leading from the front as director, Lewis, who lives in Shropshire with his wife, Anna, and one-year-old daughter, Luna, recalls that the business has had its rough times throughout the past two decades.

“During the 2008 recession, one of our biggest clients was the NHS and they had a huge reduction in spend and that hit us hard,” he explained. “I remember seeing my dad physically change, he looked ill with stress and worry.

“We were introduced to a local business coach, Andy Hemming of ActionCOACH Black Country, who made us realise we needed to change our actions and take ownership for our success if we were ever going to make it happen.

“I was a young 20-something year old, I wasn’t massively invested in the family business, I was just always counting down to Friday and living for the weekend but after coaching with my coach, it gave me a wake-up call of what life could be like at its full potential.

“With the help from Andy and ActionCOACH Black Country we completely changed our belief on what was possible, became open to new ideas, and started to think smarter of how to get there — if someone else had achieved business success, then it’s possible!

“The business went from a yearly turnover of £800,000 to £1.5 million within the first three years of coaching. And since I became a business owner, we have now taken that to £3.5 million in the past few years.”

Lewis was so inspired by the coaching experience that he set about gaining his own qualifications and is now a fully-fledged business coach. He joined the ActionCOACH Black Country team in 2018 to help more businesses like his grow.

Under the restructure of Raybloc, Clarke, aged 32, will oversee the day-to-day running of the business as managing director and Kristian, 29, will continue to work in the workshop in a more hands-on role. Lewis will continue in his role as director and coach his management team to effectively run, grow, and leverage the business.

They also have a younger brother, Max, 19, who is currently studying Medical Physics at the University of Nottingham.

Lewis added that the whole family is looking forward to what’s to come for Raybloc.

The firm recently announced plans to demolish its current workshop and disused plant buildings to create a new bigger production unit as part of a company expansion plan which will create ten new full-time jobs.

“The difference between me and my brothers and my dad and grandad, is they very much saw Willenhall and the Midlands, whereas we see the world,” added Lewis.

“They wanted to create something that would look after the family and give us all a job. But what they actually created was more of a legacy.

“Not only did they create jobs for the family, but for dozens of families in the local area. And we only see that going one way as we continue to grow over the next few years.”

Sean Haydon retires aged 60 and is planning to travel around Italy – when allowed – and will enjoy watching his sons take over the business from afar, whilst the business continues to grow without him.

To learn more about how Raybloc can help protect you, your staff, and patients from x-rays speak to one of the x-ray protection experts on 01902 633383 or email enquiries@raybloc.co.uk

To learn more about ActionCOACH Black Country, visit blackcountry.actioncoach.co.uk/ call 01527 757 910 or email blackcountry@actioncoach.co.uk

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