Meet Our Leaders: Leigh Butler – Managing Director, UK
“I love to see success: when we hit our targets that mean our customers are being supported; when I can offer promotions and career opportunities in recognition of a job well done; and when we are all pulling in the same direction.”
Leigh Butler is the ambitious Managing Director of Industrial Physics UK. He’s a well-rounded leader with hands-on manufacturing experience in everything from automotive and telecoms, through to MRI scanners, cryogenics, and superconducting magnets.
In this third installment of our ‘meet the leaders’ series the family man sat down to talk about his career, his team’s role in the success of a rapidly growing global business, and his enthusiastic vision for the future.
A manufacturing man
Leigh was born, raised, and educated in England and over the course of a five year apprenticeship, he worked in everything from machining, designing, production engineering, planning, purchasing to service visits across multiple departments.
Backed with technical education and experience, Leigh sought out roles to expand his knowledge and further build upon his skills in this area. Over the coming years he worked as a salesman for an advanced plastic technologies company and as a Production Engineer for a major fiber optics company.
The big brand years
Leigh’s varied experience has involved him working within technology manufacturing roles, including project Management and quality management within automotive companies such as Honda & Healthcare company Siemens . But it’s creating an impact that really drives Leigh,
– “I prefer positions where you can really make a difference and get some recognition for doing so. Positions where you can make an impact and truly see how you are driving change for customers – like my current role with Industrial Physics.”
In his next role Leigh gained experience working for a multi-brand organization somewhat similar to Industrial Physics. Leigh’s role at Oxford Instruments involved him taking on a fascinating position blending nano science with quantum computing.
Responsible for a cross-functional team of people who dealt with everything from Project Management, purchasing and all the way through to whole factory manufacturing, Leigh gained a wealth of leadership skills that prepared him for his role within Industrial Physics
The Industrial Physics connection
Hungry for more senior positions, in 2017 Leigh joined Systech Illinois – our specialist gas testing brand – as Operations Director. He was responsible for two manufacturing sites, in the UK (Thame) and Chicago (Johnsburg). It was his job to improve manufacturing efficiencies, processes and sales, to manage and to coordinate all activities to satisfy the production and operations departments.
He explained: “I hit the ground running, implementing weekly cycle meetings and bringing parts of business together. I wanted to understand and keep my finger on the pulse of the organization to make sure everyone was working in a coordinated way – pulling in the same direction with one strategy, one directive and shared ideas.”
This is the power of Industrial Physics – one global packaging, product, and material test and inspection partner that brings together expertise across a wealth of different industries. It’s the secret that allows our people to authentically impact our customers.
Regular trips to the US revealed the benefits of consolidating product lines, cutting duplicate effort, and investing in the UK, where it was easier to attract quality employees. The Chicago factory was closed and Leigh managed a regional reorganization of the UK business.
Soon he was promoted to MD of the UK, which included Thame and the Ray-Ran site in Nuneaton, where a range of polymer testing instruments are made. In this multifaceted role he’s involved in everything from pricing, discounting, and customer liaison through to coordination of the sales team and managing the price portal for distributors.
The future is bright
He said: “I’ve seen a lot of change in a short space of time. We’ve taken on eight great companies in the time I’ve been here. More specialist testing brands gives us more products, more opportunities for our customers and it strengthens our business model. At Industrial Physics, it’s our purpose to protect the integrity of our customer’s brand and product. The more expansive our offering, the more efficiently we can commit to this promise.”
Asked about the reaction from the market, Leigh continued: “We’re now big enough for brand power but small enough to be considered a family company. It’s great for our customers who enjoy the one-stop-shop, single point of contact service we now offer. Our distributors are enjoying the opportunity to offer a wider selection of solutions to customers across the globe – it opens up more business across industries and applications, and gives our customers the chance to find the most appropriate piece of equipment possible.
“Closer to home, the rapid change has led to lots of important cross-brand discussion. As the company grows and the Industrial Physics’ product portfolio is strengthened, the teams are encouraged to share knowledge, best practice, and improvement ideas. At our HQ our people can see that we’re inheriting more production from consolidation of factories, with lots of new products coming in for calibration, service and repair through our growing service team.”
These are exciting times ahead for Industrial Physics. Earlier this year the UK site was expanded with more capacity for production and Leigh can see huge growth potential through more planned acquisitions and through building the service team.
The UK MD will never take his eye from what is most important to the business – the people. He continued: “I always aim to keep the team motivated and involved. I pride myself on communication, energy, and enthusiasm – giving as much information and feedback as I can so that everyone understands how valued they are.”
Asked which is his favorite product in the Industrial Physics portfolio, Leigh singled out the OxySense range of permeation devices. In part as he was closely involved in transferring production from Chicago to the UK.
He said: “It’s a fantastic product that our customers love. I’ve enjoyed seeing it go through many stages of design, development, and performance improvement. After listening to customers and ensuring we’re consistently aware of market trends, we now make a range of sister products to meet the demands of the market and match a range of budgets.”
You can find out more about Industrial Physics’ suite of cost-effective permeation solutions here!
A happy, handy family man
Leigh has been happily married for 20 years and is extremely proud of his two children. When he gets any free time, he enjoys watching footballand renovating houses. Just like in his working life, he’s always trying to learn new skills and has taught himself to do anything from hanging radiators to electrics, plastering, and even laying a patio!