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 then became Sales Director we having had a great few years with the introduction of the Front Line Appliance to our product range. I look forward to a great future!
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.
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.
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.
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!
From School it was off to the Alps to Ski and Snowboard then off around the world surfing a few too many snow seasons later and after working in Snowsport retail it was time to move into the supply chain side of retail. 10 years with he biggest outdoor group in Europe taught Alex an immense amount about process and supply chains.
Moving onwards and upwards it was onto one of the largest worldwide apparel and footwear companies with over 30 brands many process’s and far too many acronyms later…
Outside of work Alex loves to be outside, now a days sliding down hills has progressed to rolling down them on two wheels.
Denise joined WH Bence in November 2017 as Executive Assistant and PA to the Directors, she Matriculated and received a N6 Diploma in Management Assistance in South Africa. After immigrating to the UK, she has developed her career mostly within the corporate industry and assisting with business development.
In July 2019 she was promoted to Sales Executive and now assists with sales management and tender responses.
Steve joined the WH Bence family recently in 2017 and brings a set of skills developed over a varied career, predominantly from within production and manufacturing sectors.
As an innovative Manager with 25+years’ experience, working within industries both singular cell and high volume manufacturing, Steve gives drive and delivers our focus on process and continuous improvement strategies. With the goal of always promoting individual and team excellence, and performance, he ensures that all at WH Bence deliver a service and an end product above and beyond our customer/clients expectations.
Leaving school with a career in Childcare in mind, Becky worked her way up from a part-time Playgroup, to a full time Nursery before becoming a private Nanny. Since the Nanny role came to an end, Becky has worked in a variety of office roles including hiring out plant equipment, planning & reporting in a courier company and most recently hiring out trucks and trailers. At this stage, Becky discovered a new fondness for maths, invoicing and Microsoft Excel and started working towards an Accounting role by starting an AAT course. She’s now enjoying learning her new role with WH Bence and is fascinated seeing the specialist units being built.
In her spare time, Becky loves to get outside, walking, camping and riding horses. She has also tried out a number of bottomless brunches in bars around Bristol that have become popular in the last few years!
Stephanie started work for Bence in April 2019.
Prior to working for Bence Stephanie spent 10 years working for the NHS on both the clinical and administrative side and has adapted these skills into a Service and Transport Administrator role. Her time with the NHS has given her a unique insight into our customers’ needs and expectations.
In her spare time she loves to be outdoors with her young family and 2 dogs, walking, camping and exercising.
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!
Conrad joined WH Bence in February 2020. Having completed his Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering in the Army he served 9 years in the Royal Engineers. He moved into the Transport industry and gained experience as a Service Engineer over a variety of different vehicles and then moved into Workshop management.
Conrad’s hobbies include tinkering with American V8 engines and competing in car racing in the UK and Europe , relaxation comes in the form of trying to keep up with his two Springer Spaniel’s on walks.
Kim started working for Bence in Nov 2019. Leaving school having no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up, Kim has mainly worked in Customer Service & Sales jobs. She started in the Travel sector doing a few years as a Club 18-30 rep which literally prepared her for anything!
Coming home to a more sedate job Kim started selling concrete, aggregate and eventually scaffolding. Looking for a change, she needed a job that matched her organisation and customer service skills. Kim’s role as planner for the Bence service and transport department fits the bill perfectly. She is really enjoying the varied nature and fast pace of the planning role.