Yorkshire-based Rosenbauer UK – the fire truck manufacturer founded by businessman Oliver North – celebrated its decade anniversary at the start of this month, marked by ten consecutive years of growth.
Originally founded as North Fire on 1st September 2008, the firm began trading out of a modest unit as a helmet supplier, rapidly expanding year-on-year to become the UK market leader in firefighting equipment.
The organisation is now on track to achieve £18.9million turnover in 2018 – a record increase of 255% on the previous 12 months.
Over the past decade, the firm has been no stranger to both change and success. Within its first year, North Fire hit a turnover of £1.2million – by selling helmets alone – before signing a distributor agreement with Rosenbauer International in 2010 for its aerial fire trucks. The deal was shortly followed by another exclusive agreement with e2v, to supply the market with thermal imaging cameras – going on to sell £2million of products within the first year.
Commenting on North Fire, Oliver said: “I was working as a salesperson in the fire market when I started to question the standard of customer service. The only way I could personally deliver satisfaction, the way I wanted it, was to set up my own company. Although I was a little wet behind the ears, I went for it. I had no investment, but a sound strategy based on quality of service, ethics and hard work.”
And the approach paid off, as the firm won the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Business of the Year’ in 2011, and caught the attention of Ken Davy, who took a 33% share in North Fire and became chairman.
Talking about Ken’s involvement, Oliver continued: “He became somewhat of a mentor on the numbers – we’d spend hours going through P&L statements and driving the business forward financially. I quickly learnt that strategy and sales – based on an exceptional financial footing – are three equally essential components.”
2014 then saw the merge with Rosenbauer International, becoming Rosenbauer UK Ltd, with an aim of becoming the market leader in the supply and service of all trucks and equipment in municipal and aviation firefighting. That’s where the business stands today.
Rosenbauer UK’s longest serving employee, Rory Wilde, has worked for the company since it was two months old. He commented: “Every single member of staff at Rosenbauer UK loves working for Oliver – he genuinely works just as hard as anybody else, and values each person around him. He’s very well respected, and brings everyone together, which is why I think we work so well together as a team.”
Reflecting on his ten-year journey to date, Oliver finished: “It’s been an honour leading and driving Rosenbauer UK’s growth to the £20million turnover company that it now is. In terms of what’s next, I don’t intend to take my foot off the gas – I have too much energy for that. I always want to push myself personally, so am looking forward to exploring new avenues whilst overseeing the consolidation of Rosenbauer UK.”