More than a decade of experience in military precision has been brought to Baldwin & Francis with the appointment of our accomplished new Operations Director. Connor Beard-Bucktrout took over the role earlier this year and has an ambitious drive to help grow the group – and lead our workforce to be the very best it can be. Let’s take a look at how he came to join the business, plus his vision for the future.
Connor’s journey to Baldwin & Francis
Connor joined The British Army straight from school and became an electronics technician in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He initially worked on repairing and maintaining crucial equipment such as air defence radars and missile systems. His 11-year Army career was diverse, and he progressed rapidly, becoming a commissioned officer, and rising to the rank of Captain. Connor has around ten years of experience in electronic engineering and has worked in several roles across senior engineering to strategic leadership and management. At one time he was in command of circa 150 aircraft technicians, being responsible for the professional and engineering development of the British Army’s next generation of aviation engineering talent.
He was awarded the prestigious “Master General’s Sword” from the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, having been deemed the top officer of his cohort from his outstanding performance.
A well-rounded engineer focussed on innovation, he has around 6 years of mechanical engineering experience. He was awarded the “Trafalgar Postgraduate Award” from the University of Portsmouth for having the best MSc project of the academic year for the faculty of engineering for his work into implementing non-pneumatic and smart alloy spring tyres into the British Army’s vehicle fleet.
Connor said: “The role where I spent a year being responsible for developing all of the Army’s aircraft technicians – at the forefront of engineering – is where I really stepped up and matured my engineering, operational, and project management abilities.”
“Everything we did in the Army is operationally focussed. Equally, new technologies, threats, and budgets meant that change was essential to maintain the competitive advantage; which meant the delivery of successful projects and programmes was commonplace and paramount. So, the role as Operators Director at Baldwin & Francis really appealed to me as it’s an operationally focussed role within a fundamentally projects-based engineering business; there were clear parallels where I knew I could add immense value.”
The leading role at Baldwin & Francis
As the new Operations Director at Baldwin & Francis, Connor is responsible for operational delivery of all our projects. He will work to oversee multiple departments simultaneously, from projects to procurement, production, and quality, leading a workforce of around 30 people.
Baldwin & Francis is also part of iDESo Group, which has a headquarters in Sheffield, so the role will see Connor collaborate and integrate with the other Operations Directors of their sister companies to better leverage the potential of the group and share best practise to continually improve how we operate; look after our people; collectively deliver for our customers and do business.
We have a worldwide reputation for our bespoke, innovative electrical power solutions designed for use in the most challenging environments across many industries.
Connor added: “It is my job to make sure everything efficiently and effectively flows through the business; is of high quality; is delivered on time; and the customer and our staff are happy.”
“A big part of my role is going to be making sure that the workforce is happy and performing at its best. Unlocking each individual’s human potential is the key to success and morale plays a critical role in that.”
And Connor’s key initial focus will bring his excellence in fields such as engineering leadership, project management, productivity, planning, strategy, and execution to the very forefront. Connor said “People, process, and product are the main priorities for my initial few months in the role.” He added: “In terms of a key focus at the beginning of this role, I think it will primarily be concentrating on process.”
“I think as the business continues to grow, and as we hope to take on more people and projects, then growing with the right structure and systems is absolutely critical to our long-term success – as you cannot put a rocket on a shopping trolley and not expect it to fall apart.”
“The one thing the military does give you is a lot of structure, so that is something I can really embed into the business going forwards in a way that works for it without bogging it down with bureaucracy.”
“It’s all about growing smarter whilst developing our people and products”.
The process of transitioning from military to civilian life is one that many people find takes some time. Earlier this year the Government also released a new study into perceptions of former military personnel, which found the majority of employers welcomed working with veterans. At Baldwin & Francis we are proud to do just that with the appointment of Connor as one of our leaders.
And for Connor, moving into a private company after 11 years in the Army is a big change, but one that he is embracing. Connor added: “I left school and went straight into the Army. So, I was initially nervous about the prospect of coming into the private sector from the public sector in case I lacked any commercial experience. However, I feel like everyone has embraced the diversity in my approach and skillset and have been very welcoming to new perspectives and challenge on how we do things.”
“Personally, the biggest difference between working in the Army and working at Baldwin & Francis so far has been the work-life balance. My old job was a 24/7 role; my phone was going off constantly. With a shrinking workforce and increasing demands geo-politically and nationally it usually involved organising and sending engineers and soldiers across the globe away from their families at a moment’s notice which was becoming more emotionally draining from trying to manage the human element as the Army became more stretched”.
“The culture at Baldwin & Francis is refreshing, open, and positive. Everyone is professional, and I’ve been really impressed by the levels of focus in work. The work is still fast-paced, diverse and challenging given the nature of the business but the quality of the staff makes the weight of the role considerably lighter than my previous role in the Army, leaving me with an excess of energy to put back into the development of the company.”
“In the Army there is a hierarchical structure, whereas here, I have found there is none of that, everyone is on the same level and can speak freely – it is really refreshing and is a culture myself and Lee (Managing Director) never wish to lose as we grow and formalise our structures.”
“I am really enjoying the role and with the opportunities that a leveraged iDESo group presents, I can’t wait to see where it leads.”
Baldwin & Francis has a proud history dating back to 1919.
We provide world-class and tailor-made electrical power solutions for a wide range of industries, including the mining, transport, energy, and industrial sectors. All our products are designed and manufactured in our Sheffield facility, ensuring the finest quality throughout.
Get in touch with our experts to find out how Baldwin & Francis can assist you with your project requirements.