Meeting Trevor Williams - chair of of the Manor Royal Business Improvement District and director of Thales UK - From the Manor
For this “From the Manor” column we caught up with Trevor Williams who is Chair of the Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) and a Director at Thales UK, one of Manor Royal’s biggest employers. Trevor took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for our readers.
How long have you worked at Thales UK?
I’ve spent 20 years at Thales UK. I started off on the production side in Leicester and came to Crawley in 2010 as Site Director of the current Thales site, which was the result of consolidating 6 different parts of the business in one place.
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Why did you get involved in the Manor Royal BID?
Businesses generally can get a bit siloed. To some extent that is natural as they are busy and have their own objectives and interests.
When I came to Manor Royal it was clear to me that this approach wasn’t working. There was a need to bring businesses together to help solve some of the issues we were facing back then, and we could not do that be continuing to work alone.
A group of Manor Royal businesses keen on making a difference came together and I felt it was something we should be part of.
Businesses, including Thales, took a leap of faith and voted to create the BID in 2013. That was a big moment leading to the creation of the UK’s largest “industrial” BID. Ever since, the BID has been paying back that faith.
So, it was about networking and partnership?
Yes and no. I was very clear from the start that while the “tea and biscuit” meetings were all very nice, I wanted to be part of something that could make change happen.
Through the BID we have been able to create solid alliances with key partners – like the Councils – and delivered improved facilities, better broadband, new signage, introduced additional maintenance and security services and much more – on top of helping businesses to be better connected.
How has COVID impacted local businesses?
Almost every business has had to adapt, some more than others. There is still some nervousness around and until confidence returns and grows there will still be challenges. I have been immensely impressed at how agile and adaptable different businesses have been.
On a very practical level businesses are looking at their cost base more than ever, particularly in terms of their premises if people aren’t coming into the office as much as they used to.
Will Manor Royal be ok?
Taking a longer view what made Manor Royal attractive before the pandemic still holds: great location, well-connected, close to an airport and a dynamic community of almost 700 business supported by an increasingly influential and ambitious BID Company.
We must still be sensible, but I sense a growing “let’s just get on with it” spirit emerging and it’s that kind of attitude matched with the new investment coming into Manor Royal that gives me cause for feeling quietly optimistic about our future. I think we will be ok.
Find out more about Manor Royal at www.manorroyal.org