A decade later, with Matthew Bartle
Building and maintaining lasting relationships is very important to us at Eleven Recruitment. Whether this be with our own consultants, one of whom is celebrating her 20th anniversary with Eleven this year, our clients, or our candidates - we strive to follow up on progress throughout careers including hirings, promotions and company moves.
We were delighted to hear, on catching up with Matthew Bartle, about his career progression over the past ten years, and his most recent promotion to Country Commercial Director at Quaker Houghton.
Matthew’s enthusiasm and passion for the industry is infectious, his advice is golden and his experience is sure to inspire.
“At the start of my career I was given a great piece of advice – ‘never turn down any opportunity for training, you can never learn too much’ and this is exactly what I would repeat. A great thing about this industry is that it often takes you behind the scenes of the everyday. If an opportunity arises to learn more, a new skill, a new area of the sector, I say ‘grab it with both hands’ – this industry will take you places!”
Together, we are stronger.
Jumping in at the deep end, we asked Matthew about the necessary skills and attributes needed to progress in a company. As an advocate of the team, Matthew pegged a lot of this up to having a great team around you:
“I quickly learned that you cannot win a game on your own, I needed good, solid, committed people around me, not only working with me, but also challenging me. Together we are stronger and this is reflected in our company motto ‘forward together’. The UK & Ireland team that I am fortunate to work alongside are the best in the business and we continue to deliver for the company. I believe being down to earth, honest and treating people with real respect are major attributes required within any business, I don’t deny I also had some good fortune along the way."
Speaking on the types of people that Matthew looks to include in his team, Matthew continued:
“It really depends on the role, some are hands-on, skilled roles and some are more development roles, but communication, commitment and dedication are key skills required.”
During our conversation, Matthew took us right back to the beginning to his apprenticeship straight from college.
“I left school and went straight into Sixth Form for one year and was fortunate enough to be offered an apprenticeship within a local manufacturing company in the North East, so I made the decision to move in to the big wide world and start earning money. The apprenticeship covered all areas of the business including commercial, credit control, assembly line and warehousing and gave a great insight to the way businesses work.
“My first role within the oil industry was actually working for a Shell distributor in Leeds within their oil terminal. Within the first week of starting, the GULF war began significantly effecting oil prices so as you can imagine it was a real baptism of fire.
“I imagine this is what a lot of recent graduates are feeling now. The world is currently a very strange place, especially with the added challenges of COVID-19. I imagine a lot of those heading into the world of work will go through a similar baptism of fire, but it’s a great way to learn quickly, and will pay dividends in the end.”
Hard work, motivation and passion
With a variety of skills and experiences under his belt from his apprenticeship, Matthew went on to talk about his step into the lubricant and chemicals sector:
“I didn’t plan on entering this sector specifically, but I knew very shortly after joining that this was the area for me, interesting products, diverse markets and knowledgeable people surrounding me, I felt this was an area I would build my career in. I moved swiftly through the business from the depot to internal sales, on to external sales and then into sales management.
“I was fortunate enough to know someone within the industry and he spotted my enthusiasm and commitment at an early stage, I knew hard work, passion and motivation would help me within the company.”
It was around this time that Eleven Recruitment, then named Oil Recruitment, met Matthew.
“I heard about Oil Recruitment through networking and met up with Margaret Boydell, although at that point I was not looking for a new role or filling any positions within my company I was impressed with her passion and when I eventually decided to look for further career development, Margaret was my first call.
“The process was extremely easy, the Eleven team took time to understand me, my personality, my career intentions and aspirations. They very quickly placed me with two companies for interviews Houghton PLC and a major fuel oil supplier. I interviewed at both and on the same day I was fortunate enough to be offered the position at both companies – so now I had a choice. I chose Houghton PLC.”
Matthew’s progression in the company has been rapid and hugely successful. When asked about his climb up the ladder, Matthew said:
“I joined Houghton PLC as an Area Account Manager in the North East, developing existing accounts and searching for new business, that area soon expanded into the North West as well. I was both proud and honoured to work for such a company meeting blue chip businesses within the Aerospace, Automotive and Oil and Gas industries. After a successful spell as Account Manager, where I had the fortune to visit some of my customers’ plants around the world, including Saudi Arabia, I was selected to join a small business development team focussing on new business growth across the UK. This team was very successful and a pleasure to work within. The role of Sales Director became available and I applied and again was successful. The UK & Ireland Sales Team were fantastic and welcomed me into the position, a particularly difficult transition moving from “team mate to coach” but a learning nonetheless.
“Following the successful merge of Quaker Houghton – a natural merging between two of the largest global businesses in metalwork and chemicals - I was then appointed Country Commercial Director, a role I am in today and one I am very proud of.”
Matthew also joined UKLA as Vice President two years ago through a nomination process. When asked what being part of UKLA means to him, Matthew said:
"Being part of the UKLA community allows me to meet like-minded individuals across the industry. The platform helps to give a voice to the sector, providing members with advice and information on current, future and pending legislation. The association also hosts industry events, acts as a forum for industry view and monitors UK Government departments and other agencies about proposed legislative developments, as well as much more.
“I was originally attracted by the people, their views, the ability to learn from them and help with new comments and insights, and the ability to shape this sector wherever possible. If I could give advice to anyone, it would be to join bodies, groups or associations in their sector wherever possible. It is a great way to learn more and meet like-minded people, all trying to solve the same problems or bring about changes.
“It’s an honour to be part of UKLA; to have a voice as part of a well-established team who match my passion and enthusiasm for the industry. Knowing that your voice will be heard, and that it could possibly make a change to benefit those within the industry is wonderful.”
We look forward to following Matthew’s progression further.