COMPANY

UK VALVE MANUFACTURER SINCE 1977

 
 
 

A UK manufacturer, supplying high-quality valves to the oil & gas industry since 1977.

 

Company Overview

 

We develop design and manufacture high-quality valves for critical applications. In doing so, we have gained many approvals from major, global oil and gas providers and built an enviable reputation with our customers.

When you buy from Alco Valves you can be very confident in the quality and integrity of the product you are buying. We achieve this through tight control and continuous improvement in our manufacturing and quality control processes.

 

To meet the ever-changing needs of the oil and gas market, it’s essential that we keep a close eye on the future and are able to track and satisfy changing customer needs. That is why we have such a strong focus on recruiting and developing high-calibre staff, and developing our R&D and bespoke manufacturing capabilities.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In September 2014, we joined the Graco group – a global specialist in fluid handling solutions, based in Minneapolis, USA.

The acquisition was one of mutual benefit, with Graco enhancing their presence in the oil and gas industry, whilst Alco retains its own identity however it has now been given the scalability to take it to the next level.

Graco has built a reputation for investing in long-term assets to generate growth in their group businesses – even during downturns like the one currently affecting the oil and gas industry.

Within our first three years as part of the Graco group, their philosophy has seen us move to a purpose-built, state of the art manufacturing facility, invest heavily in specialist CNC milling machinery, and continue to recruit, train and retain new apprentices and placement students within the business.

We’re confident that in the coming years, we will see continued success for ourselves and the wider Graco group.

 Graco Inc.

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KEY PEOPLE WITHIN OUR ORGANISATION

 
 
 

Samuel Crossley

MANAGING DIRECTOR

 

As Managing Director, Sam manages the close relationship with our parent company Graco Group, whilst also providing direction to the board and management team. As we continue to invest and grow, Sam’s role is to ensure that we invest in the right areas to make the most of the opportunities in our sector.

He joined Alco Valves Group in February 2015 as Managing Director. He has extensive prior knowledge of the engineering industry, gained in senior financial and operational roles within the sector, as well as a 3 year spell operating in the Middle East.

His previous senior management roles were with the Weir Group (the FTSE 100 engineering company), John Crane (the mechanical seals division of Smiths Group Plc) and Elementis Plc.  

Sam holds a degree in Physics from Durham University and is a chartered accountant and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

 
 
 

Lauren Kellett

FINANCE DIRECTOR

 

Lauren joined Alco in March 2018 and is responsible for all aspects of Finance for the Alco Valves Group as well as overseeing the HR, ICT and Marketing departments. With 13 years experience in accountancy and experience working as an audit manager as well as overseeing numerous high profile acquisitions, Lauren’s capabilities ensure that all of the group’s financial practices are to the highest standards, whilst also adhering to statutory regulations and legislation.

Lauren is a fully qualified chartered accountant and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales. Lauren also has a degree in Physics and has worked as a Financial Controller for Colliers International, Audit Manager for BDO Global and Director of Finance for Camira Fabrics.

 
 
 

Mark Spencer

PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR

 

Mark is among our longest-serving employees, and now influences and co-ordinates the work of many areas of the business to bring new and updated products to market quickly. In such a demanding, fast-moving sector, it is vital that we continue to supply products that meet our customers’ changing needs.

Mark joined Alco in 1978 and has risen from his original role of Shop Floor Foreman to that of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Director. Aside from a 3 year spell with an engineering firm in Manchester, he has spent his entire career with Alco. Along the way he has acquired a vast amount of knowledge about the sector, and seen significant change within the group. Mark also supervises the management and maintenance of company facilities.

Bringing quality products to market quickly requires Mark to co-ordinate activities, and the efforts of many people right across the business. As such, he has considerable input into R&D, design, purchasing, inspection, auditing, and supplier arrangements throughout all of our businesses globally.

 
 
 

James R. Strang

GROUP TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

 

In a dynamic, demanding sector Ron Strang provides the in-depth technical knowledge required to ensure that our products are effective, safe, compliant and that they meet the very specific needs of our customers.

Ron joined Alco in July 2015 as Group Technical Director with responsibility for the Technical,  Engineering, Quality and R&D departments. He has over 35 years’ experience in the valve industry, gained in roles with Serck Audco Valves, Orseal Valves and Shipham Valves, where he was Technical Director for 20 years. He is currently on the BSI valve standards committee and has presented various professional theses, studies and articles in international publications and conferences. He also carries out training for the British Valve & Actuator Association (BVAA) on European Directives.

Ron is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Aston University, as well as an MBA from Hull University.

 
 
 

James Hinchliffe

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER EMEA

 

James is responsible for our sales function across the EMEA region and is probably our best example of the opportunities for career progression at Alco for students and apprentices. James was our first placement student in 1998, during his BA (Hons) degree in Business Studies at De Montfort University. He secured a £250,000 order in his final month and returned as a permanent employee after completing his studies.

Since then, James has risen through the ranks of our sales team, first as a member of our internal sales team, before progressing to Regional Sales Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Having worked for Alco since his student days, James has seen many positive changes in terms of products, international expansion and management culture.

 
 
 

Graham Ellis

HEAD OF COMMERCIAL

 

Graham joined Alco in August 2017. Prior to Alco he had 29 years’ experience in the valve industry covering products for the Oil & Gas, Power and Nuclear industries. This exposed him to key commercial management disciplines as well as Quality Management and Materials Technology.

At Alco, his key responsibilities are Commercial Management, Commercial Project Management and Key Account Management. Graham also holds a Postgraduate degree in Business Management.

 
 
 

Mark Seah

GENERAL MANAGER - ASIA PACIFIC

 

As General Manager of a growing business, Mark’s role involves building and maintaining a young, enthusiastic sales and technical team to grow our market presence in the region. He also maintains a close relationship with the UK business, to ensure that his local team benefit from the experience of the established UK business.

Mark joined Alco in October 2016 to help us build stronger relationships through a physical presence in the region in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Prior to Alco, he had gained over 10 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry within the Asia Pacific region, and also completed national service with the Singapore Armed Forces Commandos.

Mark holds a graduate diploma in Marketing & Public Relations from Oxford University.

 
 
 

GLOBAL OFFICES

 

As well as our Head Office in the UK, we have a presence in seven other territories throughout the world. We also have a network of global partners in other parts of the world, who can advise you on the most cost-effective way for you to buy our valves locally.

 
 
 
 

Graduate Opportunities & Apprenticeships

 
graduate-programs
 

Student Placements & Graduate opportunities

 

Student placements are another great opportunity for us to bring new skills and ideas into the business, from students who already have an in-depth knowledge of engineering theory. You will be exposed very quickly to projects that will build on your academic knowledge, leaving you with very useful experience to build on when you complete your studies.

Recent students have taken up very hands-on roles, with several of them returning to the business permanently after their studies, to take up senior management roles.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how your experience and qualifications could help us grow our business further.

internships
 

Apprenticeships

 

Our engineering apprenticeships give you a structured programme of career development. This will include academic studies – typically NVQ and BTEC qualifications, with many apprentices going on to complete a HNC or HND qualification.

More importantly though, you will gain early exposure to important processes within the business such as quality management, sales and manufacturing. Many previous apprentices have progressed quickly into management roles as the business has grown.

 

“I joined Alco in 2013 on an apprenticeship which I’ve now completed. I’m now being supported to study my HNC in Mechanical Engineering, which I’m really looking forward to starting to develop my career even further.

I worked in several different departments as part of my apprenticeship and I now work on the larger valves such as subsea and large trunnion mounts. I find the work really interesting and I just want to keep working hard and progress further up the chain with Alco, and my HNC will help me do this. A lot of my friends from college also went through engineering apprenticeships and it feels like Alco compares very well with some of the other apprentice schemes my friends have been through.”

 
jordan-clavin

Jordan Clavin

ASSEMBLER & FITTER

“I joined Alco in 2013 partway through my apprenticeship and the company supported me in advancing on to my HNC, which I have now achieved. I really enjoy working at Alco because I like to be involved in key processes and I have had a lot of opportunities to do this.

I have had a really hands-on role with work such as fire testing and type approval testing, and I even flew to Oman to help a vendor set up their own testing procedures. I want to keep doing more of this kind of work and maybe get more involved with finished products that we develop within the R&D team. I feel like Alco really listen to their staff and give us all plenty of opportunities to progress.”

 
mark-smith

Mark Smith

R&D ENGINEER

“I really enjoy working so closely with customers - many of them in other parts of the world - and building relationships with them. I recently secured a very large contract for over 20 valves going to Egypt which was really rewarding and I got some great help from my colleagues to secure the deal.

I really enjoy working at Alco and having worked at the old premises and moved to the new one, it’s great to see that Graco are investing in us. I also feel that I personally am getting great support from the business to build my career and see a good future for myself here. ”

 
sam-walland

Sam Walland

APPRENTICE SALES SUPPORT ENGINEER

“My first experience of Alco was two weeks’ work experience while I was at 6th form college. That then turned into a part-time job, and when I completed college I started an apprenticeship and will start my HNC studies shortly.

What I enjoy most about working at Alco is the real responsibility you get. For example I am very involved in testing at all stages of the manufacturing process, and I have worked alongside third party inspectors to demonstrate my methods as part of our quality management accreditations. It just goes to show that if you work hard and use the knowledge you’ve picked up from your studies, you will get opportunities to progress quickly.”

 
josh-milthorpe

Josh Milthorpe

QUALITY CONTROL INSPECTOR

“I joined Alco in 2015 as an apprentice and have worked across the full range of valve products as an assembler. I am studying for an NVQ in Engineering Maintenance and I am impressed with how well my studies fit with the work I am doing.

I see good long-term potential at Alco and the things I enjoy most are the variety of the work, the fact that it’s challenging and teaches you new things regularly and the way the whole team work together and support one another.”

 
sam-lane

Sam Lane

APPRENTICE ASSEMBLER