Engineering a Success Story in Dunbartonshire

An innovative company is flying flags on a number of fronts for Dunbartonshire including diversity, skills development, international trade and sustainability.

Glenhead Engineering is already tearing up the rule book with a female Operations Manager, Sharon Colvan, providing leadership for the business in one of the UK’s most male-dominated sectors.

It is under Sharon and the management team’s stewardship that Glenhead has increased its turnover more than ten-fold from £300k in 2006 to £3.5m in 2018 with profitability soaring.

Glenhead now has over 600 customers, with engineered components being exported to Russia, Norway, EU, Kuwait, India, UAE, Algeria and USA.  The wide range of services and products take in precision engineering, the manufacture of parts for life sciences, gas and wind turbines and fault testing for sub-sea.

Sharon, who started her engineering career on the workshop floor before moving into Quality, Health & Safety and then Management, puts the success down to a number of factors including an uncompromising focus on quality, responsiveness, re-investment and the development of a highly skilled and motivated workforce.

This, along with a genuine customer-focus, is what Sharon says keeps them at the forefront of the sector: “We are continuously improving our processes and systems to respond to the needs of our customers and to maintain our own meticulous quality standards to meet and exceed expectations.”

In the past 5 years Glenhead have invested almost £1 million in a new factory and machinery including the installation of a new biomass heating system that helped win the company the Crichton Carbon Centre’s “Best Overall Reduction in Carbon Footprint” Award.

Corporate culture is an important part of the mix at Glenhead with an emphasis on the value of “the team”, motivation and generating a sense of ownership and loyalty.

Sharon, who recently joined the Dunbartonshire Chamber board to lead on Skills and Workforce Development, explains: “We ask a lot of our team to maintain high levels of productivity and quality so giving something back is key to recognising their contribution. We host family days, organise an annual go-karting “grand-prix” and some of the team play in 5-a-side charity football league. We also do a lot to support charity throughout the year and hold at least one main fundraiser which is something we are very proud of raising more than £4,000 for McMillan last year.”

Sharon has a passion for fitness and wellbeing filling what spare time she does have with boxing training and gym work. It is something that Glenhead has brought into the workplace with the introduction of a well-used in-house gym.

Glenhead also have a strong commitment to developing the young workforce whether that is going out to talk to primary school children, hosting school visits at the plant or providing apprenticeship opportunities. There are currently 10 engineers working at Glenhead that were originally brought through the apprenticeship programme and this is something that Sharon wants to promote to other businesses following her recent appointment as a director at Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Glenhead were recognised for their work in this area winning the Developing Young Workforce category at the 2017 Working4Business Awards.

Sharon has also embraced flexible working with the introduction of flexible hours and the ability to respond to specific staff needs such as additional time off: “Our investment in our plant and equipment is mirrored by our investment in people. We provide ongoing training and CPD opportunities and actively encourage both work-based learning and off-site learning within our workforce. We also recognise the importance of flexibility in the modern workplace and, following consultation, the team decided to do away with an afternoon break to allow us to finish up at lunchtime on a Friday. With most staff having young families, childcare can be an issue and we always support them where we can.”

Glenhead recently joined up to “Partner+”, Dunbartonshire Chamber’s enhanced membership scheme:

Damon Scott, Chief Executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce summed up: “We are delighted to welcome Glenhead as our most recent Partner+ which demonstrates their commitment to both the Dunbartonshire Chamber and the future prosperity of Dunbartonshire.

“They have built their success on far-sighted thinking about the capabilities, welfare and workforce morale, while at the same time integrating themselves into the community and championing environmental and social values. I am confident that Sharon will also be an excellent addition to the board.”

For more information about Glenhead Engineering visit:

To find out more about the Dunbartonshire Chamber and the Partner+ Programme visit:

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Chamber admin are responsible for the day to day running of the chamber, dealing with enquiries, membership as well as organising events and meetings.