AW Group listed in Top 200 Fastest Growing Business in East Midlands

Following success as a finalist at The National Growing Business Awards last week, AW Repair Group has claimed a spot in a newly released report listing the East Midlands Top 200 fastest growing businesses.

The report, compiled by financial and business advisors Grant Thornton, highlights the region’s businesses which have the strongest profit growth over the three year period 2015-2018.

And North Kesteven District in Lincolnshire, home to AW Repair Group’s founding site, headquarters and prestige repair centre, is one of 20 national districts to top the Health, Well-Being and Happiness Indicator scale. The indicator concludes that people living and working in these vibrant districts are “leading fulfilling lives which provide individual prospects.”

AW Repair Group’s Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh said he was delighted the company’s growth has been recognised.

“The report covers businesses in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire and we are proud to have six of our sites in three of these counties,” said Andrew. “And we have of course since opened our ninth site near Leeds.

“It is always a real pleasure to be acknowledged in Top Lists compiled using only real analysed financial figures independently researched and compiled without us even knowing.”

To make it onto the list this year, the 7th annual report by Grant Thornton, businesses have achieved in excess of 11% adjusted profit growth per year for three years. Ninety-one of this year’s Top 200 are new entrants with AW Repair Group at number 67.

Mark Pashley of Grant Thornton commented: “Our region continues to exhibit a vibrant mix of successful and dynamic businesses promoting the East Midlands as a fantastic place to work, live and do business.”

Last week AW attended a ceremony at the Tower of London celebrating the outstanding companies and entrepreneurs with the company highlighted for demonstrating it has challenged conventional thinking in their market or industry and seen positive commercial results.

Click here to read the full listing:

AW Strengthen Leadership Team

AW Repair Group has announced a change to its leadership structure following the opening of its ninth site last week.

Former managing director Andrew Walsh now takes the title of Founder and CEO with newly titled Group Operations Director James Dunn welcoming on-board to the operations team Steve Hoe as Technical Development and VM Manager. Steve has worked for the group for 19 years, his current post being general manager of the group HQ and prestige manufacturer site in Sleaford for 12 years.

Andrew explained: “As we continue to grow it is so important to have the right support network in place for our teams across all areas of the business. All members of the Group Operations Team are long-standing employees of the company with years of experience, knowledge and commitment to the AW ethos. Together we discuss and implement new processes, practices and ideas with input from every area to ensure a successful and enthusiastic rollout. And of course this includes all the technical, IT and legal infrastructure that may underpin any changes.”

Established in the Group Ops Team is Finance and Legal Director Emma Walsh, Customer Relations & Aftercare Manager Lorren Bristow, Compliancy & Training Manager Ian Pearson, Partnership & Communications Manager Jade Johnson, Group Financial Controller Kantha Arumugam and HR Administrator Kim Jackson.

The nine strong team have together clocked up 135 years service with AW Repair Group.

AW release Moonwalk film ahead of ABP Convention

Having trialled a revolutionary paint mixing system for the past six weeks, AW Repair Group will be in the spotlight at tomorrow’s annual Auto Body Professionals Convention (Tuesday) and has launched a short film showcasing the product.

PPG’s MOONWALK™ automated mixing scheme can accurately mix vehicle paint shades in quantities as small as the cap on a fizzy drink bottle and has been changing the way AW Repair Group’s Nottingham site streamlines this essential part of the repair process.

At the ABP convention AW Group Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh will be on stage with PPG’s National Sales Manager for UK and Ireland Refinish Mark Clarke to be quizzed about MOONWALK™ and the many benefits already being seen during the first few weeks of the trial.

AW expand into North Yorkshire with site nine

It tookonly nine weeks to transform an oil-covered engineering workshop into AW Repair Group’s dazzling ninth site.

And it seems nine is the lucky number as the 9,000 square feet site at Sherburn-In-Elmet officially opened yesterday (Monday) and epitomises the group’s labour saving and technology advances successfully trialled and implemented throughout the group during the past two years.

The site, centrally located with a 30 minute drive time to Leeds, York and Wakefield, boasts in-house ADAS and Electric Vehicle capability and takes AW’s annualised turnover to £19.3M.

Following the success at our other sites, Sherburn also follows the group’s preferred design of skate and rail transfer system with Junair 10m drive through booth with QADs and LED lighting.

“This has proven to free up space and repair more vehicles with less people,” said AW Repair Group’s Founder and CEO Andrew Walsh. “We’ve made some real tangible changes in our processes over the past two years and the Sherburn site includes all of these.

“Our sites work as an integrated team with a five day key to key target. We have always had a tight-knit team. However, there is a new feel of change and togetherness in AW which is essential as we move into a new generation of crash repair technology.”

“This is also the first site to include from the outset an Electric Vehicle Safety Kit and Tool Board,” continued Andrew. “The mobile kit includes safety hook, specific tooling and EV signage and all the staff here will be EV trained. As with our other sites all technicians also have a tablet for accessing methods and job cards, in-progress photographs and quick additional damage evidence and notification to our VDA team.”

The site will be led by General Manager, Steve Oxley who has 20 years’ experience in the industry and has been working with AW for the past 6 months. Steve & Group Operations Manager, James Dunn have hand-picked the team at Sherburn who have been integrated into AW’s procedures and processes over the past month prior to opening yesterday.

Committing to the company’s environmental sustainability policy the Sherburn site also boasts motion sensor LED lighting through the workshop and open plan corporate blue, orange and glass reception and offices.

Plastic welding and cold repair systems affirm the group’s repair over replace philosophy and other equipment includes PowerTec Miracle Pull, PPG low energy compact system, integral Minden Dust Extraction, three mid-rise lifts, eco-friendly radiant heating, Car-O-Liner and Car-O-Tronic Measuring System.

The Sherburn site, which is 25 miles from AW’s next nearest site at Denaby Main, near Doncaster, has created 14 jobs and new apprenticeship opportunities will be available shortly as the Training and Apprenticeship Academy opens for new intakes in the first quarter of 2020.

Added Andrew: “I’d like to thank our usual team of contractors who have done a wonderful job bringing this project to fruition. The building is in a great location with a secure compound but it really was in a poor condition. To think it has been turned into this high tech bodyshop with the usual AW quality, standards and corporate identity in nine weeks is just remarkable.”


Before & After:

AW turn Green to Gold

NBRA held their first Greener Bodyshop Awards on 31st October, where AW Repair Group scooped The Gold Award for a Greener Bodyshop.

AW strive for environmental sustainability across all nine sites. Their main aim is to reduce their overall carbon footprint by using eco-friendly products and processes across all aspects of Vehicle Body Repair, both in the bodyshop and offices.

AW’s commitment to environmental sustainability was pioneered this summer by providing 500 branded water bottles free to both staff and customers throughout the month of August, the campaign aimed to promote the reduction of plastic waste.

Adopting more than ten green processes across the group, all sites have energy saving motion sensor LED-lighting, fitted by IDES, compacting cardboard waste, Skate and Rail Vehicle Transfer systems, Variable Speed Compressors and Fuel Saver mode Junair spraybooths, all make for a more eco-friendly environmental footprint.

The NBRA Greener Bodyshop Awards are a great initiative to support for the future, which AW are proud to be part of.

Congratulations to all other winners on the evening, from the Bronze Awards, Silver Awards, Gold Awards & Platinum Award.

The secret to surviving 40 years in the Industry

October 2019 marks a special anniversary for AW Repair Group’s Compliancy & Training Manager, Ian Pearson, who chose vehicle body repair over mathematics 40-years ago this month.
A young Ian walked through the doors at WASS (Wallace Arnold Sales & Service) on Lenton Lane, Nottingham in October 1979 as a multi-skilled apprentice, little did he know that 40-years later he’d be a training manager himself.

Attending Peoples College to complete the five-year City & Guilds apprenticeship, Ian achieved two credits and one distinction in light vehicle body repair, trim and refinishing. After completing practical tests in various different fields, such as metal finish repair, welding, chassis pulling and painting a door skin with adjacent blends he also received his RTITB (Road Transport Industry Training Board) Craft Studies certificate.

Fast forward 10 years to 1989, Ian was working as a multi-skilled technician with five-years qualified experience under his belt at a Vauxhall dealer in Nottingham. “It was so rewarding, being able to carry out any repair from start to finish,” said Ian, remembering his Vauxhall days.

Another 10 years later, Ian decided to take a slight career change and took on the combined role of Estimator and Workshop Controller at Hooleys Ford in Nottingham.
Ian commented: “I knew it was time for me to come off the shop floor, I had built my knowledge over the years and wanted to further my career without getting my hands dirty. In those days it was quite dirty work – not like the high specification bodyshops we have today.

“One of the most rewarding moments during my career within this industry was when I was at Sandicliffe Ford, I was given the task to introduce and maintain ISO9002. I was a naïve manager at the time, but I took it in my stride and funnily enough now I’m carrying out compliancy within AW Repair Group it’s things like ISO and BSI I have to be heavily involved in across the group,” added Ian.

Ian joined AW Repair Group in 2007 as General Manager of the Denaby, South Yorkshire site and was later instrumental in setting up the Markham Vale, Chesterfield site in 2014, which he was running until earlier this year when he was appointed to the Group Operations Team as a Compliancy & Training Manager.
Ian now ensures are all sites are compliant to BSI and other regulatory bodies and heads up AW’s Training & Apprenticeship academy, which to date has 19 students.
“It’s great that apprentices are getting stuck in and getting really doing the job rather than making tea and cleaning the floor which I had to do more times than I want to recall! I’m glad the industry has taken a huge leap forward. I love seeing the industry I’ve worked in for 40 years progress and I feel privileged and proud to have ben part of AW’s growth over the last 12 years.”

Circa 2005: Ian pictured with Wally Beeson and a very young Katie who, coincidentally, is now a multi-skilled technician herself at our Fast Finish Centre in Derby.

AW take an innovative leap with PPG

AW Repair Group is taking one small step for paint technicians and one giant leap for the paint industry as a trial site for a revolutionary colour mixing system.

Worldwide paint manufacturer PPG showcased their innovative MOONWALK™ system at the Motor & Sport Institute in Madrid earlier this year to a small group of invited guests including AW’s MD, Andrew Walsh.

And last week PPG installed the system at the group’s site in Nottingham which looks set to revolutionise the way paint is mixed in bodyshops.

General manager of the site Ben Hissitt said the technicians are excited to be using the time saving precision mixing technology. “Previously, our paint technicians were taking approximately an hour per day each to mix their base coat colour, however with MOONWALK™ this will be done by the automated system freeing up time to increase vehicle throughput.”

The new state of the art equipment not only saves labour time but it’s environmentally friendly drop-free minimal mix dispensing solution reduces waste.

Andrew added: “I’m excited that this level of intelligence is now moving into bodyshops at grassroots level. We must always embrace change and I can see many benefits to stepping away from the conventional process of paint mixing. This is unchartered territory for AW bodyshops and I’m keen to hear the feedback from the site.”

AW shortlisted for Growing Business Award

AW Repair Group is delighted to be shortlisted in the National Growing Business Awards 2019.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh will attend a finalist’s interview later this month which will decide the winner from the seven companies shortlisted. The award category is seeking a winner that can demonstrate it has challenged conventional thinking in their market or industry and seen positive commercial results.

“We are never afraid to trial new technology and processes and find new ways to improve the vehicle crash repair journey for our customers,” said Andrew. “To have been shortlisted for this award is itself an acknowledgement to the AW team, whatever the final outcome.”

Judges for the National Growing Business Awards include representatives from household names such as Virgin Experience Days, Yo! Shushi, Go Ape, Bulldog Skincare and Santander.

A spokesman for the awards added: “Shortlisted companies have already demonstrated an in depth knowledge of the competitive landscape of their sector and how innovation is a key driver of the business strategy.”

The winners will be announced at a London ceremony in November.

Chance meeting leads to best loved partnership for AW & LV= General Insurance

AW Repair Group and LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) celebrated their “unique relationship” at the official opening of the group’s second sole supply site this week.

LV= GI Claims Director Martin Milliner recalled how a chance pairing on bus ride at the International Claims Summit in Portugal first introduced him to group MD Andrew Walsh.

“I was really impressed with what Andrew said back then and five years later to have two, potentially three, sole LV= sites is testament to that,” said Martin to the gathered guests at Denaby Main, South Yorkshire.

“To have 100 percent customer satisfaction and record key to key times is phenomenal,” Martin continued before cutting the ribbon. “Being a partner with a business like AW, who feel like part of the LV= GI family, and giving our customers Best Loved Service, makes our lives so much easier to work and build on that relationship so I can’t thank you enough on behalf of our people and customers.”

The 5,500sq ft dual-branded site is located alongside the group’s 15,000sq ft site and is perfectly located for LV= GI existing customers in the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield areas, taking the groups annualised turnover to £17.5M.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh concurred that people were essential to the partnership success. “We can’t do any of this without the support of all the team and we can truly say that we have a collaborative relationship. Everyone gives 100 percent to make this unique partnership work – great teams of people working together every day for our mutual customer.

“We strive to give an empathetic, individual customer experience which is underpinned by the LV= GI brand which we are proud to be associated with.”

The official opening event included demonstrations of Smart Air, Skate and Rail Vehicle Transfer System, digital LV= GI data capture and monitoring and Electric Vehicle Safety with Martin getting hands on alongside one of five multi-skilled technicians during the dent pulling demonstration.

Guests were also introduced to the group’s first female apprentice, 21-year old Summer, who was named as ‘Best Newcomer’ at ABP’s BRIAA’s in June and enjoys the quality working environment of 1000-Lux LED lighting, eco-friendly radiant heating & integral Minden dust extraction.

AW Repair Group would like to thank everyone who attended.



Pictured (left to right): LV=’s Regional Motor Network Technical Matt Poole, AW’s Group Operations Manager James Dunn, AW’s Customer Relations & Aftercare Manager Lorren Bristow, ABP Club Chairman David Cresswell, LV=’s Claims Director Martin Milliner,  LV= Network Management Team Hannah Weber, AW Repair Group Managing Director Andrew Walsh, AW Denaby General Manager Rob Mann, NBRA Director Chris Weeks, LV=’s Director of Motor Customer Claims Brian Hodge, AW’s Vehicle Damage Assessor Tony Skelton, LV= Head of Network and Engineering Chris Payne and LV= Network Manager Michael Golding.


AW sponsor community mining memorial

AW Repair Group is proud to sponsor a touching memorial commemorating lives lost in mining disasters near its Chesterfield Site.

Phase two of the Walking Together Trail sees eight life-size steel figures join the trail of 53 figures erected last year. Each carries a tag with the name of the miner, their job title and age who lost their life in the major mining disasters of 1937, 1938 & 1973 at the Markham Colliery.

The former colliery site was reclaimed by Henry Boot Developments and Derby County Council, which is working to create jobs for local people. In March 2015, AW Repair Group opened their fourth site at the flagship regeneration park at Markham Vale, just off junction 29A of the M1 and created 14-jobs in the area.

The 15,000 sq. ft. bodyshop was constructed by the county council’s private sector developer, Henry Boot Ltd. Since opening the site has recruited three apprentices to work in the vehicle body repair industry which add to the groups other 16 students in their Training & Apprenticeship Academy.

AW employees were pleased to attend to see the unveiling of the figure they have sponsored, remembering timber drawer Herbert Wale who lost his life aged 40.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said he was privileged to support the Walking Together Trail.

It’s great to be able to contribute to a memorial that’s not only so important to this local community but also for visitors to reflect and interpret the site’s history, following the tragedies of the disasters at the colliery. We welcome anyone who visits our site at Markham Vale to walk over the road to the Markham Vale Environment Centre to view just a selection of the figures or indeed follow the whole trail,” said Andrew.

On 21 January 1937 an underground explosion claimed the lives of nine men, followed by a second explosion in 1938, where 79 miners lost their lives and 40 were seriously injured. The third disaster at the colliery took the lives of eighteen miners and 11 others suffered serious injuries when the mechanical brake on a lift carrying them to the coalface failed on 30 July, 1973.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Derby County Council (DCC) & the local community joined forces to create the trail symbolising a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again.

Designed by artist Stephen Broadbent, the dramatic figures have been created for visitors, workers and the local community to re-imagine and remember the lives of all miners, and in particular, those who lost their lives for their work.

“Markham’s three significant mining disasters must be remembered, but it quickly becomes clear that we must not forget the many other tragic mining deaths and significant injuries, and indeed the remarkable sacrifice all miners made to help build this nation’s prosperity. We believe the memorial also needs to convey a sense of celebration; of an important job well done; of a unique time and place; and a community’s spirit and resilience,” Stephen commented.

The memorial project won the award for ‘best volunteer project’ and the Markham Vale Heritage Group was also highly commended recognising the involvement of young people in heritage with its Story Mine project at the 2019 Derbyshire Heritage Awards.

The full trail map can be found here: