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This lady is running a family business with her father and brother. Here’s what she has learnt this year

This lady is running a family business with her father and brother. Here's what she has learnt this year

By Claire Spillane, Finance Director, Westermans International

This year, a special merit Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to MD Peter Westerman of Westermans International, in recognition of his lifetime contribution of his outstanding business significance within the welding industry.

Organised by The Association of Welding Distribution and aimed at finding and recognising the best examples of work across all aspects of the welding industry, the awards were presented in front of an audience of over 200 business guests and Guest Speaker, The Right Honourable Michael Portillo.

Peter Westerman comments: “I am proud, humble and happy all at the same time to win the Lifetime Achievement Award for my services to the industry” It was remembered well about the time I left the “new” business supplies and started up as a “used” dealer. Criticism and doubts were endless back in the 1980s but everyone at the evening congratulated me on my business and successes to date”.

His daughter, Claire Spillane, Finance Director at Westermans International reflects on a very important year, 2016.

Why I’ve admired my father in 2016

This year, my father, Peter Westerman, has been especially hardworking.

It’s been a turbulent year. With things like Brexit, a slowing world economy and falling oil and gas prices, it may not seem like the best time to be the MD of an international exporter.

Yet he’s proved unstoppable.

Towards the end of last year, I remember him keeping everyone entertained by riding around on a Segway at a trade show in Iran! Although a tough year has passed, he’s kept that same attitude – untiring and always smiling.

I forgot to mention – he’s 80 years old!

Here’s just a few of the reasons I’ve seen so much to admire in my father this year:

Claire Spillane, Peter Westerman and Craig Westerman

Claire Spillane, Peter Westerman and Craig Westerman

He’s excited about the future

Whichever way we voted, Brexit was quite a shock to us all, and the true impact of it is yet to be properly felt. As an exporter with clients in 58 countries across the world, there’s undeniably a level of uncertainty about what the future will bring.

The uncertainty is perhaps made worse by the general world economic downturn, especially in the oil and gas sectors. This has had consequences worldwide, from right here in the UK through to countries in Africa we have worked with such as Nigeria and Ghana.

Yet despite this, my father is entirely confident about the future, and it’s a confidence that’s infectious.

The whole Westermans family are optimistic that Britain can go it alone, and continue to do what it does best – trade.

He’s always building relationships

Whilst many companies and countries across the world are apprehensive about the future, my father has taken the lead in identifying new opportunities. At a very young and spritely eighty years old, he’s as keen on travelling now as he was when he first entered the industry over fifty years ago.

He’s been all over the world to seek out business, from an early trip to New Zealand decades ago through to a more recent excursion to Iran. The way he sees it, nothing beats a handshake and a smile face-to-face. I think that’s a great philosophy. We’re not just a faceless, distant corporation. We’re a warm and friendly family business, and to prove it, my father’s made some great friends along the way! 

He’s still achieving

When my dad started this business back in the 1980s, there was a lot of doubt in the industry over whether selling second hand equipment was even viable.

That made me even more proud in April this year, when he won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Welding Distribution. It was great to see his contributions to industry be recognised by so many of his peers in such a glitzy ceremony!

He’s still at the forefront of the welding industry, and I’m proud to have worked for our family company with him at the top.

I know for a fact he’s still looking to work when he’s ninety years old, and I for one can never see him retiring!

Westermans International, leading exporter of refurbished welding equipment globally, deal with equipment from leading manufacturers, so that customers benefit from the reliability their products offer. Westermans also offer a bespoke service, so that they can cater for the unique welding needs of a range of industries. The award winning family business has experienced a huge exporting growth in the past year. It offers a full service which includes installation, after care, free-in house demos and tailor-made training to suit the needs of their clients.

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