In a busy career, Toni has taken his company from a back bedroom to a £5 million turnover, 60 employee business, with world wide connections.
After studying for his BSc in Electrical Engineering at Salford University, his career began in quartz crystal oscillator and filter development for Salford Electrical Instruments (SEI). Moving on to technical sales in 1984 he set up the precursor to Rowe Hankins to distribute the Heinemann range of Swiss circuit breakers. To exploit this opportunity he formed Rowe Hankins Components in 1986 in partnership with fellow sales engineer Roger Rowe.
Rowe Hankins also holds the UK distribution franchises for various other safety related rail products. These include on-train monitoring and recording systems – black boxes – from HaslerRail; power transformers, contact breakers and high speed DC circuit breakers from Sécheron and point’s sensors from LEM. All three companies are Swiss.
In addition to distributing systems for the rail industry, Rowe Hankins has developed in-house design, development and manufacturing capabilities. The most significant part of this is the production of devices that are used for precise monitoring of speed and distance. These are in use in rail propulsion systems throughout the world including Washington, Moscow, Hong Kong and most recently Shanghai, as well as London Underground and the UK rail network.
Toni has been a passionate advocate for the use of wheel flange lubrication in the UK rail industry. This technology saves energy, reduces wheel and rail wear, improves availability and avoids the squeal that arises with dry flanges. Substantial research and investment has been made in developing a system specific to UK needs. This has been rewarded with pioneering trials in Merseyside and Manchester. “The main legacy I want to see to my rail engineering career is Rowe Hankins Intelligent Wheel Flange Lubrication in use on every train in the UK,” Toni commented.
Five years ago, the company launched their Cudis Division to market domestic consumer units, circuit and sockets under their own brand – CPN. These products are designed and tested by Rowe Hankins in the UK, but are manufactured under contract in China by various partners selected and qualified by Rowe Hankins. Terry Walker the sales manager for Cudis, who has made a major contribution to this growth, also retired earlier in the year.
Toni’s son Michael continues the family tradition. As assistant managing director and company secretary, working alongside managing director Amanda Jones he also has special responsibility for the development of the Cudis business. “I am happy that I have built a strong team and am stepping away from a sound and successful business that will continue to grow and prosper,” commented Toni.
Toni and his wife, Linda, plan to travel and devote more time to their garden. Tony will continue to have an involvement in business, however, as chairman of Bury Enterprise and Loan Company, a local business support company, and with several non-executive directorships.
A joint celebration for Toni and the recently retired sales manager for Europe, Peter Michalke, was held by the company on June 7 at Ramsbottom cricket Club.
Mike Hankins, T: +44 (0)161 765 3000 F: +44 (0)161 763 1421
Rowe Hankins Ltd, Power House, Parker Street, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0RJ, UK