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Gary reaches the top; after starting at the bottom!

Congratulations to Gary McIlwaine, who has been promoted to head of operations at the Essex-based food manufacturer EDME – 19 years after starting out as a production operative.

In his new role, Gary, 37, will be responsible for a 35-strong team, as well as overseeing warehousing, transport, and engineering. The appointment comes just two years after he became production manager at the company’s Mistley plant.

Gary admits the challenges of the Covid pandemic have helped him prove how much can be achieved in a short time span.

"We’ve managed to respond incredibly quickly and efficiently to all the changes, and we’ve carried on delivering great service to customers despite the tricky conditions brought about by Covid-19,” he said “Fortunately, I have a fantastic team, and everyone pulled together to support each other – and me. We haven’t let the pandemic hold us back."

One member of the team singled out for particular praise by Gary is engineering manager Brian Shepherd, who joined EDME just as the lockdown was announced last March.

Previously with Premier Foods, Tate & Lyle, and Ferndale Foods, he now leads the firm’s team of seven mechanical and electrical engineers.

“Brian is a strong addition to the team,” Gary said. “He’s already made a great contribution in responding to the restrictions imposed by lockdown - and the management of change. The experience he brings with him has also been hugely valuable in the work we’re doing on new projects.

“He has thrown himself in, taking the initiative and helping motivate his team.”


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