Meet the MD: Dawn Tebbett of Sandfield Engineering Group

Meet the MD: Dawn Tebbett of Sandfield Engineering Group

Vision, integrity, intuition and listening are just a few elements Dawn Tebbett believes are essential for great leadership. As managing director of Sandfield Engineering Group, she tells BQ about her vision to double the size of the business over the next five years and what she believes makes a great business leader.

Describe your role in brief.

My role is to work closely with all departments that make up Sandfield including our sales and marketing teams, engineers, procurement, admin as well as liaising with our branches overseas such as India and China.

Also I regularly meet with our customers to ensure we fully understand their current and future needs and make sure we are delivering a first class service.

As a company that is always innovating and moving forward it’s also very important that I and the company keep abreast  of market developments, new technologies and how we can help our customers deliver on their promise. 


What is it the company does?

Sandfield Engineering have built up an enviable reputation for quality, innovation and total customer focus over the last 50 years supplying some of the world’s most recognisable brands with bespoke engineering solutions.

Now in our 50th year of trading we continue to set the bench mark with innovative solutions to customers needs, whether it is for specialist clamping, bespoke automation, specialist machining or water pollution engineering, Sandfield have the experience and knowledge to create a solution.   

Sandfield engineering, a family business was conceived 50 years ago with the primary business being the design, manufacture and supply of a whole range of Clamping solutions to the automotive industry.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I graduated London University with Geotechnical Engineering Degree, then worked in the construction industry on major civil projects as a soils engineer.

Between 1995-1997 I lived and worked in Hong Kong for Mott Connell a Joint venture between a UK and Australian consulting engineers.

I left the civil engineering industry in 1997 and joined Sandfield to assist with sales.

It was a very sharp learning curve, completely new job role in a completely different sector.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

Vision, integrity, intuition and listening are just a few elements I believe are essential for great leadership.

You must be a great listener both internally and externally to ensure you are delivering what your customer requires and creating the work environment for your staff to be happy and productive.

Added to this you need to be able to visualise what you see the company achieving in 3- 5 years time via intuition, market trends, production capacity, implementing strategy and achieving this with integrity.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Initially it was to earn the respect of my male colleagues, joining Sandfield as the Boss’ daughter and a complete rookie.

Fortunately when I started having an impact and delivering sales the respect soon followed.

Another challenge is recruiting the very best people to work with in order to develop my business vision, though I believe that at the moment I have a top class team who all share my vision for the growth of Sandfield.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

My passion for horses has stayed with me and about 10 years ago I started carriage driving.

I find training young ponies very absorbing and therapeutic, and the thrill of competing satisfies my naturally competitive nature.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Through my love of ponies I wanted to work with horses, I was persuaded by my parents  to complete my A –levels in order that I could pay someone else to do the looking after.

I always had a yearning to build and create things, so was naturally driven to engineering.


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

Cruisers, people who do not pull their weight, and let others carry them. We have had our fair share of these in the past but fortunately everyone now involved with Sandfield most definitely pull their weight.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

The Sandfield Groups quest is to double the size of the business over the next 5 years which will be achieved via further investment, new markets both at home and abroad, strategic partnerships and above all hard work and determination.     


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Pick the very best people to work with you, learn to delegate and take time off.

All things I find difficult!