ROTHERHAM ROARS: ASD Lighting celebrates 35 years with record turnover and staff

Tony Stewart, ASD Lighting managing director, third from left, with, from left: Lynette Wilding, David Peck, Anthony Batty, Jo Downing, Connor Griffin, Steve Bailey and Rachel Gunning. Pic Marie Caley.
Tony Stewart, ASD Lighting managing director, third from left, with, from left: Lynette Wilding, David Peck, Anthony Batty, Jo Downing, Connor Griffin, Steve Bailey and Rachel Gunning. Pic Marie Caley.

After 35 years as boss of ASD Lighting, Tony Stewart still has the hunger and the drive - as shown by his firm’s record turnover and staff numbers.

The company, based on Barbot Hall Industrial Estate, has boosted turnover by 20 per cent in the last year, to hit £30m.

At the same time it created 40 jobs, taking headcount to 210.

This story features in Rotherham Roars, The Star’s celebration of the borough’s booming economy, published Wednesday March 28.

ROTHERHAM ROARS IS ONLINE HERE

But despite an illustrious career, including being owner of Rotherham United for a decade in April, there’s no sense of him resting on his laurels.

Challenges are as exciting as they ever were, he says, today they include automation, Brexit and export.

And he puts that down, in part, to South Yorkshire’s work ethic.

He said: “We’re getting ready for the battle post Brexit. I’m in James Dyson’s camp, it’s an opportunity. The regulations we’ve got are hard work.

“We’re already investing in export and we see Brexit as an opportunity. The pound in relation to other currencies is favourable

“I enjoy the challenge, I’m insatiable.”

Tony Stewart worked as an electrical contractor for 10 years before he saw the first infra-red motion detectors.

He combined them with a light and ASD was born. More recently, the company has embraced LED technology and last year invested £4m in a street lamp division, securing further growth.

Exports are a new focus and, after headhunting an export director, they are set to hit five per cent this year.

After 45 years in business Tony says you have to put in the effort and be smart to get through the tough times.

He’s also proud to promote those who have proved their loyalty and acumen by working their way up from the shop floor.

He added: “I’m the guy that worked through the three day week and overcame all adversity.

“In your business life you need people that will work with you and support you and bring a wealth of experience.

“It sometimes sounds a bit cheesy but the wealth of the company, as with the football team, is the players. They are the jewels of the company.

“I think South Yorkshire has the work ethic. I’m proud we are making a difference to the economy and expanding.”

Last year the firm took on 50 designers, technicians and production staff to work in its new street lamp factory.

It appointed two new directors and a new manager, all of whom started on the production line.

Tony’s son Richard became deputy managing director at the firm, having joined in 1993.

Darrell Clark became supply chain director and Ian Skirrow became purchasing manager.

This story features in Rotherham Roars, The Star’s celebration of the borough’s booming economy, published Wednesday March 28.

ROTHERHAM ROARS IS ONLINE HERE