Peter celebrates 50 years in business world
Peter Catlow (67) embraced the world of work as an enthusiastic 16-year-old and, half a century on, his passion for business remains just as strong.
Peter left Nelson Grammar School with a string of O–levels. He secured apprenticeship interviews, but it was Lucas Engineering, Burnley, which caught his attention and he started work there in August, 1964.
Peter said: “In those days apprenticeships ran for five years and it was common practice to spend two of those five years working on machinery on the shop floor.”
Apprenticeship completed, he was put on computer programming, on one of the first commercial computers in the area.
He soon returned to what he knew best and left here for Birmingham to run the accounts department at the Lucas’ headquarters, with his new wife Sue by his side.
Further promotions within Lucas and its sister company, Smith Industries, saw Peter, Sue and their children – Christopher and Faye – moving between Barrowford, Birmingham and South Wales before finally settling in Colne and later Laneshaw Bridge, where Peter and Sue now live.
Peter said: “I went on to work for a German car instrument manufacturer who, bizarrely, had bought out Smiths Industries; the company I had once been tasked to turn around.
“I heard on the grapevine they were set to close it, which saddened me, and after careful consideration I decided to buy it.”
The keen runner and cyclist enjoyed 11 years at the helm of the business, but with both children moving to America and having children themselves, he finally decided it was time to slow down and enjoy more family time, so sold his shares in the business.
Peter and Sue started to pay more frequent visits to their son and family in California and daughter Faye and family in Oregon.
In between trips, Peter was advisor and mentor to a number of companies, improving efficiencies.
And, last year, he spotted an article in the Colne Times which marked the start of yet another new chapter, Nelson company Businesswise Solutions.
Peter said: “I saw a lot of press about Businesswise Solutions’ directors Dean Cockett and Frazer Durris in the media and it really struck a chord with me. Here were two young, local men doing well, and creating employment and opportunities within Pendle.
“So, I approached them to see if they wanted any advice on how to take the next step up the ladder of success and I am glad to say they agreed.”
His advisory role turned to director of cost reductions for the business, and it was there Peter celebrated his 50 years – and 67th birthday - with staff and his wife Sue, who has proved a huge support throughout his career.