Julie White (businesswoman)
1967 (age 50–51)|
Coventry, Warwickshire, England
Julie White (born 1967) is a British businesswoman and entrepreneur, who has risen to prominence after becoming the managing director of a multimillion-pound diamond drilling company. At the time she took control of Coventry-based D-Drill in 2008, she was the only woman to run a business of its type. White and her company have won several awards, both from her industry and the wider business community.
Life and career
Born in Coventry, Warwickshire, she was raised in the city, and attended Warwickshire College where she studied business management. After graduating with moderate grades she went travelling around the world, working in a number of jobs in the process, including selling pizza on a beach and being the skipper of a yacht. On returning to the UK she studied NVQ qualifications in business, and started her first business in 2001. The company, Superfloor UK Ltd, introduced a new techniques for specialist floor preparation to the UK, and helped to establish her as a businesswoman in the Midlands. In 2008 she completed a management buy-out of D-Drill, a business her father had founded during the 1960s, at the time becoming the only woman to run a company of its type. Her father had not believed women should work in the construction industry until White made a success of her flooring business, but subsequently asked her to take over D-Drill from him. She felt she could only do so, however, if she bought the company. D-Drill's turnover fell by 40% during the first six months of her tenure, and she undertook a programme of restructuring and modernisation, a process that included making some redundancies and renegotiating supplier contracts.
Under her stewardship, White has invested heavily in training and apprenticeships, continuing a strategy first implemented by her father, and underwent some training herself to better understand her business. According to a 2012 article by the BBC, D-Drill's spending on training was five times the industry average, while some 45 percent of the company's workforce was in the process of training, or had completed their apprenticeships with D-Drill. White wrote of her belief in the importance of apprenticeship training in an article for the Huffington Post in March 2013. "We have a responsibility to invest in our own company's future and, indeed, the future of our industry because we can all have the best policies, procedures and practices, without people none of that matters." In 2013 White won government support for her suggestion of a national database of apprentices, an idea she put forward to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills after learning it was not possible for her company to obtain the contact details of recently qualified, but unemployed trainees, with a view to offering them career opportunities at D-Drill.[unreliable source?]
As of 2012 the firm was the UK's largest branch network in its industry, and has won contracts for work at the House of Commons, London's The Shard, and the Vostok Tower in Moscow. Their work involved boring into the earth as part of preparations for the deep-rooted foundations required for the skyscrapers. D-Drill has sponsored the manager of Coventry City Football Club since 1983. White is a board member of the Drilling and Sawing Association, and is the first woman to be appointed to a professional body for the industry.
In late 2011 White took part in an eleven-day trek through the Himalayas to Mount Everest Base Camp to raise funds for Coventry-based explorer Mark Wood, who was planning to walk solo to both the South and North Poles. She appeared as a guest on the edition of 5 February 2012 of BBC Radio Five Live's On the Money with Declan Curry, and on 21 June 2012 she was a panellist on the BBC political debate programme Question Time alongside guests including Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham. The programme was recorded in West Bromwich. She appeared on BBC Breakfast earlier the same day talking about ways the government could help boost businesses. In January 2013 White was a guest on BBC Radio 4's The Bottom Line, where she talked about how she reshaped D-Drill.
Since White took control of the company in 2008, D-Drill has won several industry awards for their work, including the prestigious Diamond Award from the International Association of Concrete Drillers and Sawers in February 2011. The firm picked up the award for its work in preserving a priceless 100-year piece of Royal Doulton tile art in Newcastle. In October 2011 she was also chosen as the Vitalise Businesswoman of the Year, previous recipients of which have included Karren Brady and Hilary Devey. She was shortlisted for the 2012 First Women Awards.
D-Drill was also the recipient of a Coventry Telegraph Business Award for its commitment to training and development. in April 2012 the company was honoured at the Specialist Awards, run by industry publication Construction News, while in April 2012 D-Drill became the first in its field to receive a platinum award in the Construction Standards Certification Scheme.
- "Twenty Questions: Julie White" (subscription required). Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Brown, Graeme (18 October 2011). "D-Drill boss Julie White named Vitalise Businesswoman of the Year". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "BBC Radio 5 live – On the Money". BBC. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Julie steps into her dad's shoes". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- Loveless, Helen (13 April 2013). "Female boss construction firm said building not for girls". This is Money. Associated Northcliffe Digital. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Julie White". Warwickshire Living. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "My Bottom Line: Julie White, D-Drill". BBC News. BBC. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "D-Drill is leading way in training" (subscription required). Birmingham Mail. Trinity Mirror. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- White, Julie (13 March 2013). "Apprentices Are Key to the Future". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Julie has the White idea on apprentices". Midlands Business News. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Drills 'n thrill for Julie White". The Sun. News International. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Coventry firm played its part in The Shard build". Coventry Observer. Bullivant Media Ltd. 5 July 2012. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- Waddington, Jenny (7 July 2012). "Share in national limelight for Coventry firms". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Sky Blues boss thanks sponsors who know the drill". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2012. (Subscription required (. ))
- "Boss takes on Everest challenge" (subscription required). Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Episode from 21 June 2012". Question Time. BBC. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- "Question Time panel quizzed in West Bromwich". Express and Star. Midland News Association. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Madill, Rob (21 June 2012). "D-Drill boss Julie White to appear on Question Time". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Firm hits jackpot at Vegas awards" (subscription required). Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Waddington, Jenny (28 March 2012). "Business News: Alumet and D-Drill bag construction honours at Specialist Awards". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- Waddington, Jenny (10 April 2012). "Business News: D-Drill is rewarded for high standards". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 22 June 2012.