Honorary Doctorate - 2009
Chris Rea is managing director of Sheffield-based manufacturers, AESSEAL, a global manufacturing business that makes mechanical seals. The seals are designed to protect the environment by preventing leakage of potentially hazardous liquids. The company follows through its environmental purpose with stringent and innovative control of its own environmental impact.
During Chris’s tenure, AESSEAL has experienced an incredible 27 years of continuous growth, and aims to be the number one provider of mechanical seals in the world.
Chris bought Aurora Engineering Supplies in partnership with a former boss. The company went on to become Attercliffe Engineering Supplies.
It soon became clear that most of his purchase came in the form of debts. A deferred tax bill of £40,000 became current on the day the contract was signed. Half of the staff left, the others claimed they had been promised promotions and salary increases. An unwanted order worth £150,000, placed to secure sales staff bonuses, arrived and had to be paid for.
A break-through came two years later, with the purchase of a small company, which built a specialist type of seal for the coal industry. With British Coal and British Steel as major clients, Attercliffe Equipment Supplies soon edged into profit.
But Chris recognised that he couldn’t depend on just two clients. The company went head-to-head with larger global competitors to take on the international market and the company is now making steady inroads into a new target sector, the oil and gas industry.