Our People

WORK HARD, THINK BIG

As a manufacturer with diverse career opportunities, many of our people stay the course, contributing to an impressive average length of service. Meet some of our colleagues from across the business below, and you will hopefully discover how successful careers have been forged from a wide range of departments and starting roles.

Gonçalo Leonel Engineering Manager

Gary Hill Second Operations

Jenny Bebbington Commercial Manager

Michael Douglas NPI Engineer and Training Facilitator

Dean King Control Systems Engineer

Fiona Goddard Customer Service Supervisor

Gonçalo hails from Portugal, where he studied at the Instituto Superior Tecnico in Lisbon, going on to achieve an MSc in Mechanical Engineering. Right after graduating, Gonçalo relocated to the UK in search of a new challenge and discovered his first role as CAD Technician, within two weeks of arriving. He was quickly promoted to Design Engineer in 2016 and then again to Senior Design Engineer by 2020. Gonçalo is now Engineering Manager and is responsible for the management of people and production at COBA’s engineering centre, at HQ in Fleckney. Gonçalo is an avid ‘tech enthusiast’ and always tries to keep up with the latest trends in technology.

Asked about his proudest moments since being part of the COBA family, Gonçalo said:

There are two actually. Firstly, getting to the post of Engineering Manager and second, representing COBA at the 2018 ANSYS Innovation Conference as a speaker.

Gary has worked at COBA for an impressive 45 years now. After joining in June 1976 as a Machine Operator, Gary has performed an array of different functions in the production areas of COBA Plastics, now COBA Automotive. During this time, Gary has learned many new skills and has been able to work alongside a large number of colleagues, which is one of his favourite aspects of his role. Outside of work, Gary is a keen photographer and has both entered and won more than one photography competition.

Jenny joined COBA in 1999 after a family friend, working in recruitment, recommended the company and arranged an interview. Initially, Jenny’s role was that of Internal Sales Administrator, but quickly progressed to become Sales Office Supervisor and then Sales Office Manager. In her current role as Commercial Manager, Jenny is responsible for the management of the automotive costing department, including sales forecasting and monthly reporting. Notably, Jenny was instrumental in developing a costing system for COBA Automotive, which has unified and centralised the organisation’s quotation processes. When asked what she liked most about working at COBA, Jenny said:

Many things but the main ones are the people, our customers, the diversity of each working day and the fast-paced environment.

And something you probably didn’t know about Jenny is that in her spare time she writes fiction and might one day look to publish one of her novels.

After studying Motor Vehicle Engineering at Leicester College, Michael joined COBA as Production Operator in 2005. Since then Michael has progressed through several roles such as Shift Technician and Continuous Improvements Engineer, to be promoted to NPI Engineer and Training Facilitator in 2021.

I found my new role while looking to advance within the COBA family. I applied to better myself and position myself somewhere I could help others with my unique skill set. The friendliness of colleagues and the possibility to work your way up through the company has always been my positive look at working for COBA.

A career highlight has been to successfully set up Tie Down production lines at three international locations including South Africa, Slovakia, and Romania. Michael also holds a Six Sigma Green Belt, which is described as someone who possesses a thorough understanding of all aspects of the Lean Six Sigma Method. A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt understands how to implement, perform, interpret and apply Lean Six Sigma at a high level of proficiency. Outside of work you might find Michael running or playing football, which he does twice a week.

Whilst studying A-levels, Dean discovered that he could earn whilst he learnt by applying for an Engineering Apprenticeship. He would receive on-the-job training in a profession of interest, whilst getting qualified and being also being paid.

Dean joined COBA as an Electrical Apprentice in Fleckney in 1996. In only his second year, Dean was awarded Apprentice of the Year by his training centre LETG, which was presented by the well-known Rosemary Conley, in the presence of two of COBA leaders of the time, Fred Wills and Tony Cooke. Thanks to his apprenticeship with COBA, Dean holds both ONC and HNC qualifications in electrical engineering.

On his promotion from Electrical Maintenance Engineer to Control Systems Engineer, Dean said the following.

I have always been involved in machine building, refurbishment, design and specification from an electrical angle. In my previous maintenance role I was usually doing breakdowns, electrical installations, running the maintenance system and spares as well as the occasional machine build. Moving to a Controls System Engineer means that I still get involved and assist in some breakdowns, but my job is more focused on the design, spec and build of new machines for new processes for the COBA Group.

Fiona joined COBA Europe in 2016, as a Customer Service Administrator, and quickly identified that making the client central to every action not only improved customer satisfaction but made the job more rewarding too. For this and other personal developments, Fiona was promoted to Customer Service Supervisor in March 2019.

I applied for the Customer Service Admin position at COBA as the company has always been a big part of village life, around Fleckney and Kibworth, and is a well-respected, long-standing family company that I wanted to work for. It’s challenging work at times, but I would say it’s probably the most rewarding job I’ve had. I feel that I have been allowed to express my ideas very openly and have built some great relationships with customers over the years. No day is the same and there is always something to make you think and keep you on your toes!

Board and leadership team

MEET THE TEAM

Having more than 800 employees spread across more than 10 countries requires strong and stable leadership. Meet some of the people that make up our leadership team and who seed passion amongst the workforce.

Meet our leadership team

Apprenticeships

START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON

COBA has long been a supporter of the apprenticeship program… Vestibulum posuere facilisis nisi, et luctus tellus volutpat vel. Aenean semper sem condimentum convallis porttitor. Fusce nec nunc vestibulum, facilisis tortor tincidunt, luctus lectus.

 

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COBA Precision Production Facilities

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