MEET THE MD Graham Stevens
The company director at Anthony Hicks Ltd on the value of apprenticeships and craftsmanship
Tell us about you
I was born in Maidstone and attended Old Borough Manor School. My first job was an apprenticeship at Chatham Dockyard, where I trained as a shipwright. When the dockyard closed I was transferred to the Farnborough airbase, where I changed my trade to a carpenter and joiner. Once my apprenticeship was completed, I came home and worked with local company Mills and Sharp. I then went self employed and was involved in the restoration of Chilston Park Hotel in Lenham. During this time I was introduced to Anthony Hicks, which led to my final job move at the age of 23. I met my now wife Julie at Chilston and we have two children.
And the business?
Anthony Hicks grew up in Rye, which is where his passion for traditional oak-frame buildings began. He started our business in 1980 and was one of the first in the UK at the rebirth of building oak frames using traditional building methods and techniques. Since this time our business has grown and we now design and build all manner of new oak frames, from houses to extensions and garages. We also restore historic buildings using the same traditional techniques. I first met Anthony 32 years ago and was offered a position as a carpenter. I was then asked to manage a couple of teams, which eventually became a full-time site manager’s position looking after all of our projects. I was then offered a new position as an estimator/salesman, which I continue to enjoy to this day. Anthony retired in 2010.
Any major changes?
As with any successful business it’s important to embrace change and as our business grows we are joined by new team members and are adapting our business to ensure these skills are passed on to the next generation. We’ve recently achieved an SMAS accreditation and invest a lot of our time in health and safety.
We are passionate about what we do and at the heart of our philosophy is a desire to make it easy for clients and consultants to do business with us. We’re committed to upholding solid relationships based on trust and built on performance. Our track record of more than 30 years has earned us a reputation for professionalism, honesty, cooperation, problem solving and outstanding craftsmanship.
Our special qualities are the professional structure of our business, our specialist knowledge and the craftsmanship of our workforce. We are renowned for offering a truly bespoke service to meet the specific needs of every customer, backed by a diverse and vast set of skills which provides us with the ability to undertake and complete a wide range of projects, from new-build designs and extensions to complex building restorations and conservation projects. This is supported by our in-house drawing and technical advice service team, who provide design and planning drawings and historic oak frame surveys.
If you have an interest in traditional oak buildings, I would suggest completing an appropriate college course and trying to get on board with a reputable company. Also consider other specialist courses available such as working with lime, which is associated with timber frames and will help you become more employable.
Your role in five years?
We’re currently preparing and investing in the next generation of Anthony Hicks Ltd over the next 10 years and more. However, within five years I should be playing more of a supporting role as I pass on my experience and train my son Charlie to step into my shoes. Anthony Hicks drops in on a daily basis and it’s wonderful to know he can rest assured that his legacy and passion will continue.
How do you relax?
I love travelling and photography, enjoy socialising with friends, restoring my house and watching my football team Maidstone United.
Breakfast this morning? Salmon on a bed of prawns, lightly seasoned, and dressing drizzled over with a pinch of … no, not really, just a slice of toast and a cup of tea!
Get in touch
Anthony Hicks Ltd - Oak Frame Buildings
Jessamine Farm, Old Romney TN29 9SG
01797 366895 www.anthony-hicks.co.uk