After almost half a century with Vacu-Lug, Alan Setchfield is retiring. He was just 17 when, on the 2nd May 1966, he first walked through the gates in Grantham’s already long established tyre remoulding plant to take up his first job as a yard boy. Now, 48 years later, following an impressive career path and rise through the company, the garden and family beckons.
While still a teenager, Alan moved quickly from the Duramold car building room to the tractor and dumper mould shop while gaining experience on the way in the tractor and dumper building room and car mould shop. This took him to age 21 and the year he married Alice with whom he has two sons, Ian and Andrew.
After a spell in the car buffing room, he was promoted to leading hand in the building room, then to shift charge hand and then foreman for Duramold, with responsibility for 200 personnel. From here he became senior factory foreman and when the production manager retired, he assumed that position too!
In the late ’90s, Alan took a change in direction by moving from the factory environment to set up and lead a technical support team to work alongside National Sales. In recent years, he has held key positions in sales and fleet contract management.
Now, with grandchildren, Rebecca, Thomas and Luke close at hand, and a garden to attend, Alan has set his sights on a new course and one which next year will take him and his whole family on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate his son’s return from the army.
Commenting on Alan’s long and varied career with the company, Vacu-Lug’s Chairman, Mr J.C. Langham said,
"On behalf of the Board I want to thank Alan for the enormous contribution he has made to Vacu-Lug Tyres over the last 48 years.
Alan’s length of service with us is a remarkable achievement and during this period he has seen a huge amount of change in the business and working environment. His career has been a great success – from management of the factory during a period of rapid growth to latterly, in the fledgling and increasingly important area of Managed Contracts.
Whilst we must be a very different business from the one Alan joined nearly 50 years ago, I would like to think that we have retained at our heart the essence of a family owned company that recognises the importance of its employees as well as its products. This is only possible due to the commitment and dedication of long-term employees like Alan and the wealth of knowledge that people like him have contributed during such a long service with the company. We all wish Alan and his wife Alice, a long and enjoyable retirement – they certainly deserve it!"
With Friday 2nd May being Alan’s last day with Vacu-Lug and coincidentally, the same day of the month as he started 48 years ago, he has the last word.
"I’ve enjoyed the journey and made many friends along the way. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of tread left on this tyre for many miles to come!"