MARITIME-focused consultancy and recruiter Ragged Edge, has undergone a smooth trans-shipment of ownership following the retirement of founder Ian Mackenzie.
Justin Atkin is now at the helm, having brought a 16 year career with Associated British Ports to an end, one that chartered him a course that brought him in contact with Mr Mackenzie, first as a client.
The Goxhill father-of-two is relishing the challenge, having climbed the ladder from assistant operations manager to head of commercial on the Humber since joining ABP in 2000. Coincidentally, that was when Ragged Edge launched, and he is now plotting a strong future for a renowned name.
Mr Atkin said: “I’m immensely proud and privileged to be the new owner of Ragged Edge Consulting Ltd, a trusted and reputable business delivering specialist recruitment and consulting solutions to clients in the ports, shipping, logistics and transport related sectors.
“I’d like to thank Ian for helping me realise this opportunity and to wish him a very long and happy retirement, and thank a small but trusted group of friends for their advice and encouragement over the last few months.”
Underling a value-led approach that is engaging, driven, genuine and ethical, he said extensive sector experience will be applied to understand the needs of clients and deliver the right solutions.
Mr Mackenzie first started work as a solicitors’ clerk, but a friend suggested shipping would be an interesting career back in 1976.
He joined Tor Line for six years as a credit controller, moving to sales, then working as a sales manager for Davis Freight for two years, before joining Exxtor as sales manager in 1984. He became sales director and then divisional managing director, before leaving for Fred Olsen in 1997, where he was appointed as a director. His final two years working for another were spent with Portbridge Transport International as commercial director.
“I saw a niche in the regional and national shipping and logistics industry for an independent business consultant and recruiter,” he recalled. “It is coming up for 17 years and it has been a successful term. In that time we have worked with companies all over the country and overseas, large and small, and we have managed capital projects with values in excess of £10 million. We have also become the go-to place for recruitment for the shipping and logistics industry.”
Asked about highlights, Mr Mackenzie said: “Jobs created through projects we have worked on and people we have helped through our recruitment business; relationships made over the years with clients, many of whom are friends, and just working in a very interesting internationally operational business in the heart of the busiest estuary in the UK.
“It is a dynamic, challenging, fast-paced industry, and if I had my time again it would be my career choice again. I highly recommend it to any young people looking to find a worthwhile career. People don’t see it; it is not on the radar as a career choice.”
Of the handover, Mr Mackenzie said: “I have known Justin for longer than Justin cares for me to remember, a long, long time, we have worked successfully together and when Justin approached me it seemed like a natural fit.”
Recruitment consultant Jane Bayliffe who joined Ragged Edge in November last year remains with the business, having “settled very well”.
Of the name, Mr Mackenzie said: “I wanted something memorable. It is a term used in sport when people are on the edge of control, and it seemed to me that if clients wanted to talk to a consultant, it was because they were teetering on the edge for whatever reason.
“A consultant can bring an impartial, objective view to developing strategies and moving forward.”
Mr Atkin, who is married to Helen, with children Neive, 15, and Freya, 10, believes another of Ian’s highlight is the level of repeat business Ragged Edge has commanded over the years.
“That says it all,” he added. “Clients come back and that means they are happy with the quality of service.”