December 31, 2020
We wish to announce that Alan Richardson, who has worked at Hart for 31 years, will retire at the end of the year. We wish Alan the very best for the future and a long, healthy retirement. Take a brief look at Alan’s story below or download here
Retirement is like closing a well-wornbook, hopefully as good a read as the last 31 years have been for our good friend Alan Richardson who has recently retired from Hart Doors where he was Contracts Manager.
Why Alan of Arabia? Those who have been with Hart long enough will remember those tremendous ‘Gulf’projects with which the company was involved – Dubai Festival City, DubaiMetro, Iffco, the Al Futtaim Group(Famco) and contracts with Siemens and the Beumer Group. This activity and indeed the connectivity to ‘The Gulf’ via Emirates from NewcastleInternational prompted Alan to learn Arabic. How fluent he became is lost in the sands of time but it points to one of his many strengths – determination. This determination also allowed Alan to pursue an athletics career winning the Newcastle to Blaydon Road race in 1987and clocking under 65 minutes for the great North Run.
He joined Hart’s on 11th September 1989 when at the age of 33 and he was creating his own career path by chance at a time when Hart was bringing new industrial door products to the market. The complexity of these required a competent individual who could readily comprehend the subtle art of electrical design and standards –enter Alan, a fully qualified electrician who had served his time as an electrician at the then Redheads Shipyard, South Shields, then ElectricalContract manager during the Oil platform fabrication periods on the Tyne and Tees rivers- the Klondike period on our rivers, as Alan commonly referred to.
So here was a young man joining a rapidly developing, specialist, an engineering company. How did this turn out? “Highlights – wow so many –I have been so lucky – the people you meet on the journey is so important. So many names of course such as Mike Morley, sales manager and Jack Trigwell, salesman for London spring to mind,” says Alan.
When in the South East we used to work on a minimum of five appointments a day – Jack’s wife would make up the sandwiches as we did not have time to stop – work, drive and eat was the modus operandum. Then we had the works managers Brian Craig and PeterCairns who is now Midlands sale manager.
“Really the list is too long, fitters, service engineers, office staff – all very hardworking and above all genuinely nice people to be around.”
Returning to ‘The Gulf’ Alan talks of “twelve years of great connections made in UAE/Middle East”. He adds: “For Dubai metro project I had done my homework and prepared a great presentation. The client declined to see the presentation. He had done his research into Hart and he simply wanted to know if there were any issues on the project that I would come and sort them out”.
In terms of exports Alan had successful missions to Russia, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Jeddah, Riyadh and Egypt. These came at a time of some great UK projects – St Pancras Station and the London Olympics’ Stadium where Alan was first person to run round the track after the white lines had been painted on. “I took my boots off and ran round in stocking feet,” he confesses. And what is the health of the Hart business as he leaves? “I think bringing back apprentices into the business is a major highlight so too is the successful drive with our team this year for export business, which are at record levels. I see this as planting seeds for a successful future for sure.”
And last but by no means least Alan says Doug and Cyn Hart “have been very loyal and kind to me and my family throughout my time at
Hart. “The family only wants what’s best for the business and they allowed me to manage as I saw fit. Now that Nick has the mantle of
managing director he will put his stamp on the business which is only right and proper. There will be lots of opportunities and successes for
In conclusion? “I will miss hugely the people I came into contact with throughout my time at Harts. I’ve been very, very lucky. I left school at
16 have had only three jobs, I’ve never been un-employed and I have seen lots of the World through work. “It’s been a great working life. Thank you.”
Final thoughts from Doug Hart, Chairman, Hart Doors. “On the 11th September 1989 Alan literally ran into the yard and into our lives, he decided to run from Sunderland as part of his training for the Great North Run and because the traffic was terrible. We did not have the advantage of hot showers at the time so we put his desk in his own Portacabin.
“It did not take long for Alan to get into his stride to become the dominant force managing contracts across the UK and Ireland. His tremendous work ethic allied to his great appetite for new experience and unique talents allowed him to develop into the very broad role he enjoys today.
“These unique talents increasingly used in developing the export markets for which we are so grateful in this current year. Without which clearly this year would have been a disaster. His adage ‘plan the work and work the plan’ will be remembered long after he goes.
“The company has grown strong and secure over the time of Alan’s stewardship. Thirty one years, a lifetime of proactivity and desire to
ensure only the best will do. Someone said in response to the question, how do you get on with Alan? Absolutely great, providing I do
exactly what I am told. I have to say I fully agree with that. “A great mover and shaker within the business he will leave a large gap for future
people to aspire to fill. I am sure we all join together to wish him the very best for the future and a long, active, healthy retirement.”
UKTI North East Exporters Award – Gateshead Hilton Hotel – July 2009 – Photography by David Glen Walker @ Picture Farm