Meet the client – Qualicut

The mother and daughters team behind Qualicut Engineering have been successfully running the business since husband and father Ron died 10 years ago and are proud to have been voted best performing supplier of the year in 2015.

Ron Bardsley founded the company in 1983, after having worked for many years in the oil and petro chemical industry, making highly specialised parts to control the flow of oil and chemicals through pipelines.

Wife Chris, a former primary school teacher, worked alongside him and together built up a highly respected business in the industry. Daughters Karen, 36, and Claire, 33, both worked at Qualicut during the school holidays, before joining the company full-time.

“Karen originally went to university”, Chris tells us, “but didn’t particularly like it, and Claire took a year out to work in the business and is still here 18 years later.

“I was studying engineering at university with a view to working in the business”, Karen elaborates, “but the content was just not relevant for the work involved at Qualicut.”

“Both have defined their own roles and these were originally reversed”, Chris continues, “but Claire took over managing the shop floor when Karen’s son was born as this was a more practical solution – it was amazing, Karen and Claire must have absorbed everything Ron did because after he died they just took over.

Karen now runs the office and deals with the day-to-day sales and purchasing and I work part-time managing the financial side of the business.”

Chris says that it was on the advice of their accountant that they changed their financial adviser five years ago when he introduced her to consultant, Claire Finch, and to Greystone Financial Services.

“Claire was a breath of fresh air”, says Chris. “She talks such sense and is so organised and meticulous – she certainly keeps me on my toes. It has given me the confidence to know that everything related to the business and my personal finances are secure so that I can relax and enjoy life.

Unlike my previous adviser, Claire interprets everything for me and brings clarity to the complicated by explaining everything in simple language. It was a given that the girls also rely on her advice and we always look forward to her visits.”

“I was introduced to Chris by one of my clients.” adds Claire. “There had been a mix up with the tax element of Chris’s pensions and there were a few issues to iron out. Since then we’ve enjoyed a great relationship and I now look after the pension scheme for Chris and her daughters as a family.”

“I must say”, continues Chris, “having financial security is great. I now work part-time and have a great deal of freedom. I’ve just returned from South America having had a ball for three weeks travelling through Chile, Argentina and Brazil, but it was the Iguazu Falls that made a massive impact on me – words can’t describe them. I’ve visited 67 countries so far including Japan and China, and currently planning my trip to Australia next year – there are a 195 in total so I have plenty more to choose from.

Like me, Ron would be so proud of the girls. They work seven days a week as they enjoy the business so much and thrive on the pressure of getting the deliveries out on time and making sure everything is of the highest quality.”

Karen says they have always been close as sisters:

“It works so well between us and everyone who works at the factory really we’re just friends who work together as a team. Everyone who works for us is just brilliant at knowing what to do and take a real pride in achieving their best. Mum, Claire and I went to Canada last year on holiday together and we just left them all to it with no problems whatsoever”.

“We are all very flexible as a team”, agrees Claire. “Karen and I can do most jobs and basically cover as and when necessary. We have a really good understanding of the business.

I had a habit of taking everything apart as a child and then mending it again, she continues, it was just what I enjoyed doing. I don’t consciously remember learning everything from Dad over the time we were working together, but I must have done I suppose.”

Both Karen and Claire are excited by how technology is progressing and the business is about to purchase a more complex lathe.

“However”, Claire laughs, “for now people are far more efficient than any of the robots on the market so we certainly won’t be swapping any of our engineers for automated machinery.

We do work most days but love what we do so it’s not an issue for us at all. We have a great relationship with each other, the staff and our customers – it’s what business is all about for us.”

“It’s true we really enjoy the everyday challenges and working together”, agrees Karen. “We do most things together; it surprises everyone that as well as running an engineering company, we also teach tap and ballet, taking over classes completely when the studio owners are on holiday. Karen has been dancing since she was six and I was three and we love it!”

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