Triple challenge for new MD

Steve Marshall has taken over as managing director of Walsall's Strand Hardware and its two sister companies – Strand Technologies and AliMet Fabrications.

Strand's Steve Marshall and Catherine Franks
Strand's Steve Marshall and Catherine Franks

The industry stalwart has taken the helm of the three companies following a 24-year career at GEZE UK where, for the past two years he served as operations director, following roles in the service and commercial teams.

However, his new challenge has taken him full circle – he began his career as an estimator for an aluminium door and window fabrication company (James Gibbons) before moving into the world of automatics (Newman Tonks followed by Horton Automatics).

Hi appointment is a significant step change for architectural ironmongery business Strand Hardware and demonstrates a resounding belief in his abilities. It will be the first time that the company has seen day-to-day operations managed by someone outside the family-run firm. Strand was founded by Jonathan Franks in 1991 and his daughter Catherine took on the role of managing director in 2005. She will continue to help steer the ship in her new role as chairman of Strand Hardware.

Mr Marshall said: “It is such an exciting challenge. They are three fairly different companies which at the same time complement each other. My work at GEZE UK has given me a background in door hardware, albeit that Strand Hardware has a different range of specialist products, but I know a lot of people in the industry that are customers of Strand already.

“GEZE also distributed iContact which is a pivotal product within the Strand Technologies range. Although a relatively new company, Strand Technologies is going from strength to strength and diversifying into many new markets outside the door industry. I began my career with a door and window fabrications company, so AliMet’s business is not unknown to me either. All three are really, really exciting, and I'm looking forward to working with the teams, helping them develop and achieve further growth.”

He says he intends to spend his first 100 days ‘learning and planning’ - getting to know the teams, existing customers, market segments and identify opportunities for growth, development and diversification.

Mr Marshall will be supported at Strand Hardware by sales director Craig Fox and general manager Jo Wallis in managing the day-to-day business operations.

Catherine Franks is to focus on special projects, strategy and investments. She said she felt certain that Strand Hardware and its sister companies were in “a safe pair of hands”.

“I would not move aside, if it were not for the certainty that Steve is absolutely the right person for the job. Managing three companies is not easy, each has its own unique demands but Steve has huge amounts of experience working within complex working environments and to time-sensitive deadlines. I feel confident that he will be able to support all three companies and help them grow," she added.

Strand supplies high-quality window and door hardware, combining locally manufactured products with sole UK distribution for top European brands including Athmer and Antipanic.

Strand Hardware’s reputation has been built on delivering first-class customer service and technical support by its experienced industry professionals.

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