Ben Austin exemplifies everything that can be achieved through sheer hard work and commitment.  Leaving school at 16 and drifting into various jobs, it was at 18 that he found his first role working with sheet metal working night shifts as a general labourer.  Coincidentally, that role became available due to a large order the firm was producing for Alpha Manufacturing’s sister company Bri-Stor Systems – fast forward almost three decades and today Ben leads a dynamic and fast-paced quality management team.

Ben tells us about his career journey: “My fascination for engineering came about when I first started operating a press brake, I had a supervisor that would set the machine and I would constantly question how he was doing things and how he was interpreting the drawing and various engineering symbols. I quickly picked up how to read a drawing and realised I had a natural aptitude for visualising parts and how to create a flat pattern from a 2D drawing, an essential skill pre 3D CAD.  The real turning point in my career came about when I progressed into a programming role, I’d finally found my niche at that time.”

In 2000 Ben joined Alpha Manufacturing as a programmer and demonstrated very quickly his capacity to go above and beyond the requirements of the role to move his career forward, as he explains: “As the company has grown in the last 20 years I’ve accelerated my career by really embracing every opportunity to improve my professional competency – both from a leadership perspective and within my field of expertise.  Equally, I have been given a clear career path through the business and this is testament to the professional and progressive nature of the Bri-Stor Group.”


Without question, the highlight for Ben’s career came when he was asked to head up the quality team, a critical function within the business, Ben continues: ‘Being asked to take over the quality manager position was extremely rewarding as this felt like true recognition for all the previous hard work I’d put into my career.  Indeed, it’s with this same spirit that I manage the entire quality function.  It’s great to see your team members improve and develop over time, in fact, my proudest moments have been when members of my own team have progressed into management positions.  I always encourage my team to step outside their comfort zone and emphasise that with a positive mindset, great things can be achieved.  Heading the quality team means I have much more contact with our customers and it’s hugely satisfying to work collaboratively to overcome challenges, this open relationship really underpins our strong reputation for excellence.”


Alpha Manufacturing has made no secret about its ongoing investment strategy and this is just one factor that continues to motivate Ben, as he shares: “the fact that we continue to invest in the most up to date and cutting edge sheet metal technology keeps things really fresh and exciting.  As the Quality Manager I’m able to constantly improve the facilities around us which puts us in a strong position to support the five year strategic plan.”


As a strong and committed leader Ben has strong people values and brings tremendous value to his team, he tells us why this is important: “one of the main things that I have learnt over the years is stay calm and keep a clear head, even when faced with adversity. This enables you to make clear judgements that are correct and concise and by keeping the customer at the centre of our decisions we always achieve the right outcome and reduce the risk of those challenges reoccurring.  Alpha Manufacturing is a tremendous, world-class business and I am proud to be part of its success.”

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