Econ’s production manager puts in 50-year shift

Peter Thompson

The longest-serving employee at a Ripon engineering company has begun his fiftieth – and final year – with the firm which recruited him as a teenager shortly after it launched.

Peter Thompson was just 16 when he was taken on by Econ Engineering’s founder, W George Lupton, on a three-year apprenticeship scheme in December 1970.

The firm – which now supplies 85 per cent of the winter maintenance vehicles used on Britain’s roads and employs a workforce of more than 240 – was originally based on the old Vaux Brewery site, and Peter was its eighth staff member.

Now, five decades later, Peter is the company’s production manager, responsible for overseeing the companies £8m annual spend.  However, whilst 2020 is Peter’s fifth decade with Econ, it also marks his last, as he will retire on Friday, December 11 – exactly 50 years after he walked through the door on his first day.

Peter said: “I have had a fantastic 50 years with Econ Engineering. I could not have asked for a better company to work for, the people here are what makes it so special”.

“I had initially been working as an apprentice for a small company, but was made redundant. My lecturer, Mr Harrison at Harrogate College, who frequented the public house my parents ran, told me that a new firm, called Econ, had just started in Ripon”.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Mr Lupton Senior for taking me on. Since my first day at Econ I have never looked back. And I’m delighted to say Econ still operates an apprenticeship scheme which, over the decades, has benefitted many young engineers.”

Peter added: “There have been many highlights over the past 50 years, but one of the proudest moments was moving from our original base, in the centre of Ripon, to our present location on Boroughbridge Road.

“Whilst it is a very different company to the one I joined in 1970, it still holds true to its founding values. It is an industry leader and has always been ahead of the competition. As far as I’m aware it is the only company that can turn a single sheet of steel and a chassis into a gritter – all handmade on site.”

Econ Engineering sales director Andrew Lupton said: “My father was a very good judge of character and he certainly knew what he was doing when he employed Peter.

“Peter is our longest serving employee and has devoted his working life to the company. What he doesn’t know about our production process isn’t worth knowing and seemingly, can recall every machine we have made.

“His knowledge and experience has helped us make the production and purchasing process more efficient. Peter continues to be an inspiration to his colleagues, and we know he will give 100 per cent to the company right through to his final day in December.”

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