Bence are one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle manufacturers, creating mobile spaces for a range of sectors. Our history as a specialist coachbuilder dates back to the early 1900s, with our roots firmly planted in Yate, just north of Bristol. Focused on build quality and in-house expertise we’ve seen significant growth in size and reputation in recent years, with Bence processes continuing to exceed industry standards.
A growing history
WH Bence Ltd has enjoyed rapid growth since its foundation in 1982.
When three of the region’s specialist vehicle companies went into receivership, putting James Brown out of work, he decided to launch his own company. Using an old coach painting shop, a bank loan, six coachbuilders and two painters, WH Bence Ltd was born.
The Bence site includes three build bays and a paint bay. A new wooden shed becomes the stores, with a Portakabin for offices. Expansion is rapid. More of the Longwell Green site becomes available, so we move our paintshop and add more building bays.
Space is again at a premium so James purchases a site close by at Armstrong Way. It’s a family affair, with his brother building the new factory on the site which opened on 4 July 1988. It’s a remarkable day as the new workshop seemed absolutely enormous, which of course it is, being three times the size of our original unit.
Bence build a new paint preparation and spray shop facility on the Armstrong Way site. This includes a low bake oven with the latest paint extraction system, high tech air-powered wall mounted gantries for our sprayers to move easily across the vehicles, and a preparation bay with the latest dust extraction equipment.
Bence employs a team of around 60 full-time staff. With contracts rolling in from all sectors, this family company’s future is going from strength to strength.
Left to Right: Oliver Brown – Sales Director
Sue Brown – Company Secretary
James Brown – Managing Director
Edward Brown – Production Director.
- Leah Kane
- Office Administrator
Leah joined WH Bence in March 2016. After leaving school Leah commenced her career in an accounting practice specialising in business restructuring and insolvency. Leah spent 12 years working in this industry including 4 years working in Western Australia. Since returning from Australia Leah has moved away from her accounting practice background and is enjoying the variety this brings to her career.
In her spare time Leah is currently renovating a vintage caravan and is hoping to pick up some tips and useful information from the production staff at Bence!
- Hannah Stallard
- Service & Transport Administrator
Hannah joined WH Bence in May 2016. After leaving college, Hannah started her career in the hospitality business, providing administrative support for the hotel reception. Following this position, Hannah then briefly worked for a family friend undertaking customer service related admin until starting her career with a local coffee company. She then spent the last 6 years as a New Business Administrator.
Hannah enjoys taking on new challenges and is looking forward to learning more about the coach building industry.
In Hannah’s spare time, she enjoys horse riding and spending time with friends and family.
- Sheralyn Tanner
- Purchase Ledger Clerk
Sheralyn joined W H Bence in September 2014. After leaving college, Sheralyn secured an Accounting Technician position with a local accountants where she gained the AAT qualification. For the last 5 years, Sheralyn worked for South Gloucestershire Council and held the position of Business Information Officer at a Secure Children’s Home in Emersons Green.
Sheralyn recently completed an Open University Course and gained the qualification Certificate in Business Studies.
In Sheralyn’s spare time she helps to keep her dads accounts in order, as he is a local carpenter.
- Brad Thomas
- Stores Manager
Brad was a Gastro Chef, working in pubs and restaurants in the local area before he joined WH Bence in 2012 as a storeman. He was then promoted to Stores Manager in early 2013
Brad enjoys the challenge of sourcing rare parts for the build process of the specialist vehicles that WH Bence produce, and is always on hand to help customers source spares for their vehicles.
- Edward Brown
- Production Director
With Bence in his blood, Edward could from an early age be found at the company, either having a go at fabrication or spraying vehicles in our paint shop. In 2007 Edward officially joined Bence part time in the design team whilst attending University, helping with the production of manuals and the design stages on the vehicles.
Moving on from the degree in Quantity Surveying, Edward started in the post of Assistant Production Manager, supervising the workshop and overseeing the production of vehicles. Recently, following promotion to Production Director, Edward has been instrumental in the programming of IFM systems on the Bence range of Type B Fire Appliances.
- Jeff Trought
- Production Manager
Officially Bence’s Production Manager, but also our resident ‘agony aunt’ and troubleshooter – somebody that can make quick decisions when things don’t go quite according to plan.
Jeff began his career in the coach building industry as soon as he left school in 1968, completing his 5-year apprenticeship in 1973. He’s been building bespoke vehicles pretty much non-stop since then, with a couple of career breaks to spend a few years as a carpenter and a few more working with a company making stretched limos. Jeff first joined the Bence team in 1988 and was appointed Production Manager in 2004.
- Jason Perkins
- Head of Design Engineering
Jason joined the company after having spent over eight years in the leisure vehicle business. He’s highly skilled in 2D and 3D CAD, CADCAM and CNC programming and won the City and Guilds Medal for Excellence for 3D CAD design in 2005. He began his career as an apprentice model/pattern maker in 1988, working on various aircraft and military projects. He later moved into the vacuum forming business, creating forming for various aircraft and automotive companies and sparking his interest in CNC machining. Jason’s next move was to Britain’s largest caravan and motorhome Company as a design engineer.
When not designing Jason is an avid cook and enjoys growing his own crops!
- James Brown
- Managing Director
In 1982 James was an expert coachbuilder working for one of the South West’s leading specialist vehicle companies. When the company went into receivership, putting James out of work, he decided to launch his own company. Using the 6000sq ft coach painting shop of the former Longwell Green Coachworks, a loan from Barclays Bank, six coachbuilders and two painters, James went into business and WH Bence was born.
Since then, James has grown the company into one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle manufacturers, with its own fabrication and maintenance sites. WH Bence prides itself on being a family-run company, with James’ wife Sue, and sons Oliver and Edward taking on key roles in the organisation.
- Martin Smith
- Service Manager
Martin has been with Bence since 2005, starting as a Service Engineer for the company. He’s been our Service Manager since May 2012. Martin is responsible for all after-sales queries, from warranty repairs to breakdown call-outs. He manages a team of service engineers and drivers, and organises all departmental operations.
Martin has been working as a commercial mechanic since he left school in 1987, serving an apprenticeship with British Road Services in Bristol. Outside work he’s a British Army Reservist, having served for 15 years and acquired his Advanced Level Physical Training Instructor qualification.
- Mark Watts
- Purchasing Manager
Mark joined us in November 2001 as a Stores Assistant. His dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed, and within a year Mark moved up the ladder into the Stores Manager role.
Mark quickly developed a reputation for running a tight ship ensuring all materials were available when they were needed.
After 11 years as Stores Manager, Mark moved up to his current position as Purchasing Manager. Into this role has brought with him his dedicated and diligent attitude helping us to improve our procurement procedures. With a quick smile and quicker wit, Mark is always at hand to make sure that the procurement team work together efficiently to provide us with an ever improving integral service.
- Lucasz Klimonczyk
- Design Engineer
Lucasz joined us in May 2009 from Poland as part of our procurement team. Since then, Lucasz rose rapidly through the ranks moving into the coach building team, and finally finding his current position in February 2013 as our new Design Engineer.
Lucasz’s natural flair for languages has been invaluable to the Bence team, and has assisted the Company with forging long-lasting relationships with companies overseas.
Lucasz has proved himself to be a real asset to the design team and he looks forward to a long future with WH Bence.
- Jessica Brown
- Finance Manager
Jess joined WH Bence in August 2012 after completing the AAT qualification in Accounting.
Leaving school with a career in Early Years in mind, Jess completed all the relevant qualifications to do just that. However, whilst working as a nanny (and despite never particularly liking Maths in school) Jess picked up a part time job working for her Father’s company as a bookkeeper. What was initially intended as a temporary stand-in role became permanent and the AAT course followed.
With a new found interest and qualifications in Accounting, Jess started working in the office at Bence and now performs a variety of roles in the Finance Dept.
- Sue Brown
- Company Secretary
Having started my career as a Pharmacist it was quite a dramatic change to move over to the world of vehicle production! I came to Bence to be part of my own business and to work alongside my family. I re-trained in Finance and accounting and I am currently in charge of the purse strings (much to everyone’s annoyance!) as the Company Secretary. I enjoy being a key part of business working alongside my family to look at new ways to improve the business we love.
The change over the last 18 months in the company’s carbon footprint with a reduction in waste and recycling of materials has really made me feel we are working hard to do our bit. We are looking to the future of the business and investing in the latest technology to provide us green energy for the business.
- Oliver Brown
- Sales Director
W H Bence was founded the year I was born so I think this business has always been in my blood. I love the excitement of the ever changing work, from the design of the new version of the mini fire appliance to creating a mobile hospitality space.
I enjoyed an adventurous early career working as a sailing instructor at both the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes and ICC in Salcombe, Devon. Having completed my Degree at Loughborough University I moved over to run the Events Department for W H Bence. I became Sales Director five years ago, and we have had a great few years with the introduction of the Front Line Appliance to our product range. I look forward to a great future!
- Rachel Murphy
- PA to the Directors
Rachel has been with us since February 2011, and her principal (and most important) role is making sure James (Managing Director), Oliver (Sales Director) and Keith (Sales Manager) are in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people with the right paperwork!
Rachel has a degree in English and began her career with BBC South West. She then worked at BBC Television Centre for five years for Ceefax before taking a career break to have children. She enjoys the challenge of working at Bence and in particular managing the website!
Rachel would describe her strengths as organising the world, writing prose, and making tea!
Bence have built their reputation on designing and manufacturing specialist vehicles and trailers to the very highest standards. To do this, we employ the most skilled workforces in the coachbuilding industry.
Interested? Drop us an email at email@example.com or call us at +44 1454 310 909
Rates of pay circa £34,000 per annum (Dependant on experience)
Due to expansion, specialist coachbuilder WH Bence requires a skilled Design Engineer. The successful candidate will work at our main office in Yate, near Bristol, but on occasion may be required to travel to meet existing customers.
The successful candidate will join the current design team to produce working drawings for our production facility.
Bence have built hundreds of vehicles for medical use and the emergency services so we have a large archive of existing drawings which can be used for reference. The successful applicant will be working with the current team to design and develop existing and new products. A sound knowledge of mechanical engineering will be required. An engineering degree would be advantageous but not crucial.
The 3D drawing package currently in use at Bence is Solidworks and knowledge of this software is essential. We also use AutoCad for basic line drawings & proposals.
To apply, please send a CV and covering letter via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE
Due to increasing workload, we are looking for an experienced Coachbuilder to join our established team. This is a full time post with the opportunity to work overtime. Successful applicants will be time served and capable of working on a wide variety of specialist vehicles and trailers and able to supply references.
W H Bence has been in business for over 30 years as specialist coachbuilders. Contracts include the manufacture and conversion of vehicles for the emergency services, command & control vehicles, hospitality trailers, racing trailers and mobile medical units. Bence also provides full after sales back-up servicing throughout the UK and Ireland.
This role is based at the Bence purpose built factory in Yate, Bristol.
Rate of pay circa £12 to £13 per hour dependent on experience.
To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to email@example.com
STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE
Vehicle Service Technician
Due to expansion, specialist coachbuilder WH Bence requires a skilled vehicle service technician. The successful candidate will work at our services premises in Yate, near Bristol, but will also be required to work on our specialist vehicle contracts throughout the UK and Ireland.
The successful candidate will join the current team to provide after-sales support and fulfil long term contracts for preventative vehicle maintenance, and after training will be expected to be able to problem solve whilst on a client’s site with telephone support from the WH Bence Service Manager.
Bence have built and now maintain a fleet of specialised emergency service and medical vehicles numbering in excess of 250. The successful applicant will be working on these vehicles and should have a heavy goods vehicle service background. A sound knowledge of servicing and maintaining trailers & vehicles required. Experience in auto vehicle electrics and hydraulics will be advantageous though not essential.
A full driving licence is required, and a C + E licence would be preferable.
Rates of pay circa £36,000 per annum. The package includes a service van as Bence service engineers share a stand by call out on rota.
To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE
HGV CLASS I DRIVER (C + E)
Due to increasing workload, we are looking for an experienced HGV Driver to join our established team.
W H Bence has been in business for over 30 years as specialist coachbuilders. Contracts include the manufacture and conversion of vehicles for the emergency services, command & control vehicles, hospitality trailers, racing trailers and mobile medical units. Bence also provides full after sales back-up servicing and transportation.
Duties will be varied and will include the moving of high value specialist trailers and vehicles predominantly within the UK.
The successful candidate will have at least 5 years HGV driving experience and a clean driving licence, Category C + E. A mature attitude to working and appearance is also required as the post requires liaising with Bence customers.
Remuneration circa £30,000 per annum, plus expenses.
To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to email@example.com
STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE