The Deputy Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Barbara Price, described Cradley Heath engineering tool makers Whiston Industries as one of the jewels in the Black Country manufacturing crown.
She made the comments last Thursday as she toured the family firm which was celebrating 50 years in business.
The manufacturer of press tools includes Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Aston Martin, and the famous yellow American school bus company among its customers.
After the visit Councillor Price said: “It has been a fantastic experience and I have to say that Whiston Industries are definitely a jewel in the crown of manufacturing here in the Black Country and probably in the country as a whole.” Thanks Joint director Bob Whiston told the invited guests, who included councillors from both the Cradley Heath and Old Hill wards, representatives from the LEMA Advanced Apprentice Programme, and Dave Roberts from the Nat West Bank: “We’re 50 years old and unusually in this day and age we are still a family run business.
Today is the chance for the family next door to say thanks to our neighbours and friends for all their support.
“You may not have always been aware of your help, but despite running an engineering operation in Cradley Heath with residences not far away we have managed to blend in with the local community and hopefully not caused too much trouble.” He added: “We are also in the unique situation of having one half of the factory in Old Hill and one half in Cradley Heath.” The firm was started by Bill Whiston, now sadly deceased, in 1963 when he became a contract toolmaker for the automotive and motorbike industry. After 50 years of competitive tool making Whiston Industries Ltd is now known as a thoroughbred manufacturer of press tools at the vanguard of British industry.
Bob Whiston said he was proud that three generations of his family have been involved in the business, first his father Bill, then his brother Bruce and himself and now looking after the every day running of the factory is his son Andrew.
Bob added the good relationship the company has with the LEMA Advanced Apprenticeship Programme, which began two years ago, has already borne fruit. In that time eight young men have joined Whiston Industries.
He concluded: “The future is bright and with the company still in the hands of the Whiston family, we can only go from strength to strength.” See feature - page 16 Do you have a business success story to tell? Email editor@blackcountry bugle.co.uk or go on line at www.black country bugle.co.uk