Luxfer Gas Cylinders, which has its UK base in Nottingham, has welcomed a new sales director – one with ambitious plans to grow Luxfer Gas Cylinders Europe significantly over the next few years.
Following a distinguished career spanning almost 25 years in the automotive, manufacturing and engineering industries, Nick Herbert joins Luxfer at an important time, with the world-leading cylinder-maker recently celebrating its 125-year anniversary and earning international acclaim as a pioneer in hydrogen systems for the transport sector.
“Luxfer really is Nottingham’s best kept secret, tucked away in Colwick, and when I saw the role, it ticked so many boxes,” says Nick. “There’s a great culture here. It’s a dynamic business, a growing and stable company with the strength of a global group behind it. Luxfer clearly invests in its people – high calibre, passionate individuals – and its mission is to create a safe, clean and energy efficient world. That’s inspiring in itself.”
As Luxfer continues to expand its alternative fuel offering, designing hydrogen solutions to help decarbonise the transport sector, Nick’s mix of experience was a perfect match.
An engineer by degree, studying at Loughborough University, Nick spent the first part of his career in the profession before evolving his expertise into project management. Roles with leading automotive organisations Tsubakimoto and Gates Corporation followed, working with the likes of Toyota, Ford, Jaguar and Volvo, after which Nick secured his first director position with vehicle conversion specialists Bri-Stor Systems. He then ventured into the green energy sector with a company manufacturing components for wind turbines.
Nick attributes the move to Luxfer Gas Cylinders to being inspired by its ground-breaking work harnessing hydrogen fuel. “Before joining Luxfer, I didn’t have an appreciation of the scale and diversity of the gas cylinder industry. Nor did I realise that the hydrogen economy, from a transportation perspective, is as dynamic as it is. That was a huge draw for me.
“It was also a great opportunity to tie together all my experience as an engineer and a project manager, with my automotive experience, business development, commercial leadership, sales background, and just be a part of something inspiring, as we move forward with our growth strategy.”
Nick has no doubt that Luxfer Gas Cylinders is in good company as innovators in the region. “The Midlands is a real hotbed of industrial excellence,” he continues. “In the East Midlands we have household names like Rolls Royce, Toyota and Bombardier. Slightly further afield is JCB and in the West Midlands is Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin, to name a few. But as well as industrial excellence, we have world-leading academia through the region’s universities, right on our doorstep.”
With a passion for UK manufacturing and particularly supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education, Nick is keen to attract more young talent into the industry by shifting perspectives.
“Manufacturing and engineering is not necessarily what people think it is. There are many other routes to supporting UK manufacturing that aren’t traditional “engineering” based, and if more young people see that, it’s going to open up manufacturing to people who might have never thought of it before. Bringing in future talent is really going to help boost and support UK manufacturing, far and wide.
“Because you study engineering at university or as an apprentice, it doesn’t mean you’re destined to be doing that for the rest of your career. I’m from an engineering background but I no longer work day-to-day as an engineer. You get that grounding and then you can go on to so many other areas of interest.”
As a champion of nurturing young talent, Nick is pleased to be joining a company with an established and recognised apprenticeship scheme. “As industry manufacturing grows, the attraction of apprenticeships grows,” says Nick. “Higher education isn’t for everybody, yet if you still want to develop and progress, an apprenticeship offers that ability to earn and learn – what’s better than that?”
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He concludes: “The best career advice I would give to others wanting to build their future in this industry is work hard at being your best and doing your best. Every chance you get, give it your all. Focus on that and the opportunities will come.”