Grandad of four, David Nicholas, has seen times changes almost beyond recognition over the near half a century he has worked at North Wales firm, Jones Bros, Ruthin.
But while there may have been huge advances in technology, a move to a new location, old work pals retired and new faces welcomed, over the years one thing has never changed.
“It’s always been a great company to work for. I’ve always enjoyed my time here,” said David, who lives with wife, Audrey in Ruthin, where they raised their two daughters.
He chose to work on past normal retirement age, accruing 45 years’ service, but now, nearly 70, he is finally bowing out of his job as general manager of the plant hire company for the family firm where he made so many friends and earned the respect of scores of colleagues.
Jones Bros managing director, Huw Jones, was a youngster when David began at the company, first working for Huw’s father, Glyn.
“Dad realised that because the business was growing he needed a workshop foreman. David was offered the role on a trial basis, but his organisational skills became immediately obvious, the efficiency of the workshop improved and the post was made permanent,” said Huw.
That was in 1963 when Jones Bros was based in Caergroes. The company has since moved to headquarters on Denbigh Road, Ruthin, and expanded to a workforce of 240 with contracts throughout the UK. But it still possesses a dump trailer which David manufactured from scratch – a testament to his skills.
In retirement he plans to turn his hand to other equally skilled crafts. His hobbies include wood-turning, and repairing and restoring antique clocks.
“I’ve always loved tinkering with them, now I’ll be able to devote a little bit more time to them,” said David.
Reflecting on how machinery and technologies have evolved in his time at Jones Bros, he recalled: “There were, of course, no computers when I first started there and the business was a lot smaller. It has steadily grown into the successful business it is today, but one constant has always been the good treatment it affords its staff. That’s why so many of us have stayed so long.”
Fellow Jones Bros retiree Dennis Hession, of Ruthin, worked with David for 40 years. He said: “ He was the best manager you could wish for. If a certain item of paperwork was required it never took him more than a few seconds to produce. “He was also an expert welder and mechanical engineer and he has a great sense of humour, a very helpful and supporting colleague who kept his cool under pressure. He was just what we needed to keep the office running smoothly.”
Founded in the 1950s Jones Bros has grown rapidly in the last decade. Turnover has increased from £12m in 2000 to a prospective £36m in 2008-09.