The team of people commited to ensuring you get the best possible experience from Benfield ATT
Prof. Dr. Michael Benfield - Managing Director
Chartered Environmentalist, Chartered Builder, Chartered Surveyor and member of the Institute of Wood Science, Professor Michael Benfield is one of the four co-founders of the International Green Party movement. Born in Coventry, he ‘grew up on the tools’ as an apprentice carpenter & builder and was educated at Warwick School, Loughborough, Coventry and Newcastle Universities, becoming visiting Professor of Civil & Construction engineering research with the University of Wales, Newport. He is Chairman of specialist timber frame engineers, Benfield ATT Group.
Widely recognised as an environmentally sustainable industry leader, he was a delegate to UNCTAD for the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council, a founder member of the Community Land Trust Association, and an advisor to the Trustees of the Walter Segal Self Build Trust. Based in Caldicot, South Wales, his firm, offers all forms of timber structure, from traditional ‘Green-Oak’, post & beam, CLT and SIP’s, to panellised platform frame, portal and freeform shell structures.
Formerly a member of the national New Homes Marketing Board, Professor Benfield sat on the executive of the Home Builders Federation, Wales. He was also a board member of the Wales Forest Business Partnership (sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government & Forestry Commission Wales), for which he established and chaired Wood Knowledge Wales. This research and information dissemination body is charged with helping the Welsh timber sector achieve World Class status.
A former member of the Faculty of Building Low Cost Housing Committee, he has researched Town & Country Planning and housing issues across Europe and the former Soviet bloc and designed containerised disaster relief emergency housing for international application. He speaks internationally on environmental, timber, housing, construction and related issues.
As a developer he built the first timber frame houses for sale in the UK Midlands and promoted the £60k affordable house idea, subsequently taken up by the UK government, through the Birmingham Bull Ring ‘House Race’ reality TV programmes with ITV Central. His current concerns include the UK’s housing crisis, affordable homes, low energy housing and the state of the UK’s Town & Country Planning system.
Freda Sanders - Finance & Administration Director
Like many of Benfield ATT’s key personnel, Freda is multi-talented and qualified. As a Psychologist she brings an interesting dynamic to our understanding of staffing and personal development. This is also fed her grasp of administrative, financial and corporate matters, both practical and legislative.
After school she served a management apprenticeship with the then East Midlands Electricity Board. Involving practical field experience, as well as accounting and record keeping, she became equally at home climbing a pole or pushing a pen.
She then moved to a small manufacturers of telephone equipment, becoming adept at lending a hand to solder components as well as helping with equipment testing, packaging and despatch. This all stood her in good stead when she took up the position of Practice Manager with a burgeoning firm of Midlands based Estate Agents. Hear she rapidly gained experience of dealing with the public, marketing and promotion, as well as controlling their finance, administration, personnel selection and training.
During a market downturn, a position with the City finance department then beckoned. This quickly led to her becoming a section leader, responsible for several higher education colleges and the Civic Theatre. It also gave her an enviable understanding of the difference between public and private sector finance.
For her, the private sector won out and she moved into heavy manufacturing, taking up the position of Deputy Accountant for one of the UK’s major Construction Equipment organisations. Ever keen to further her own development, she was head hunted to become the Managing Director of the company that made talking books for the blind. However, on her first day she found herself running a rescue and turnaround operation when the Company’s bankers ‘pulled the rug’. Having restored the firm to its former leading position, she also instigated considerable R&D, including in the area of Braille computers.
Aware of her success, she was then head hunted to control the finances and administration as deputy CEO of the UK’s largest industrial removal forms who had run into administrative problems. With 19 branches around the UK and busy overseas operations, it was a big job. However, she soon had this running sufficiently smoothly to be able to be able to pursue further qualifications with the Open University, gaining her BSC and PG Dip.
When the owners decided to retire, she led a Management Buy-Out Team, but was turned down by the owners who preferred a trade sale to an international competitor. After assisting them to integrate their operations she became a freelance Management Consultant for a varied range of companies and business sectors, including undertaking due diligence exercises and developing acquisition proposals. This also gave her time to pursue her psychological interests in developing methods and programs for assisting children with learning disabilities for a PhD. While this led to her being awarded a prestigious Churchill Travelling Fellowship, taking her to Australia, Canada and the United States, unfortunately the University he was registered with proved unable to provide the equipment needed, do after over 2 years work she was forced to discontinue this.
Freda then joined Benfield ATT as Director of Finance and Administration, bringing her many skills, talents, insights and experience to bear on the group’s development.
Freda is one of the co-founders of the international political Green Party movement.
David Benjamin - IT & Security Director
When you communicate and interact with us, you can be sure that your communications are in safe hands. As the world of digital technology becomes ever more pervasive, David’s responsibility for the establishment, maintenance and security of our websites, internal IT, VOiP telephony, video link and conference capability, software, on site security, and the like becomes increasingly important for our ability to service and protect all of our stakeholders.
As rather a ‘whiz’ in maths and computer at school, he immediately applied these in the operation, support and day to day running of in house data processing and systems for one of the UK’s largest, food distributors. This was supplemented and consolidated by a move to Panasonic, where, as a shift leader he was responsible for managing support teams running in house processes.
Having thus gained exceptional knowledge and comfortable control of the computerised applications at many levels of intricacy, he applied his expertise to computer programming for an international group of white goods manufacturers. Progressing quickly through the ranks, one of his main achievements as their senior programmer was the conversion of a foreign language based back office system to one that could be readily used throughout the UK market.
David then turned his attention – and by now not inconsiderable talents – to programme analysis. Working with a major international credit rating agency, as their senior analyst, he led a highly qualified team which developed and rolled out data matching systems for each European country.
After this varied experience of national and international high level operations, David decided to apply the lessons learned to the benefit of smaller companies, becoming Finance Director for a household goods retailer. Applying his considerable knowledge, he developed an integrated in-house stock control, booking, and website system for them. This included providing training for staff at many levels, as well as providing appropriate support alongside his related duties as finance director.
Alongside this – and partially as a ‘spin off’ activity - David owned and developed a franchised computer support organisation. This reinforced his links and added to his reputation as a trustworthy and reliable source for IT support and computer consultancy.
David joined Benfield ATT in 2009, taking responsibility for legality, conformity and effectiveness of our websites. This involves managing and controlling our web hosting, CRM systems, backups, and VOiP recording, as well as data protection and observance of relevant legislation. It also includes research and implementation of appropriate software systems and search engine guidance, analysis and computer generated reports. Overall his activities as Director of IT & Security assist all staff and operatives in delivering Value Engineered solutions for all of our clients, whatever their size, discipline or nature.
David is qualified in
- Microsoft Server and Desktop Infrastructures (MCSE)
- Microsoft Desktop and Server Support (MCSA)
- Microsoft Security Systems Protection (SSP)
- Rapidshare.eu Secure Socket Layer Encryption (SSL)
… using the following development languages
- COBOL CICS
- C & C#
Robin Dale - Sales Estimator
Robin is one of those increasing number of bright and able people who choose to pursue a practical applied route to further their career, rather than go to University. While at school he built several hi-spec computers and became proficient in their use for gaming as well as commercial software for business.
Having achieved excellent grades in his formal national examinations from both comprehensive school and sixth form college, he gained invaluable experience in the hospitality industry. It was not long before his skills and ability to take on financial and supervisory responsibilities were recognised via various promotions. He then applied much of what he had learned to the lonely task of writing, the challenges of which he continues to follow both in and outside his normal work activities.
As a non-graduate entrant to his career with Benfield ATT, he initially shadowed others in constructing and monitoring websites and other front facing promotional activities. Besides enabling him to apply his love of art and computer graphics, this also gave him a keen overview of how our IT installations, programmes and systems, together with electronic and other security operate.
Required to set and control all of this in the context of design, manufacture and construction gave him a keen insight into the way our purchasing, costing and project delivery systems work. This gave him an excellent grounding to make his next career advancement into estimating. In this role he first shadowed others in the way our estimating programmes work, progressively adding other functions and knowledge to this as he incorporated his knowledge of costs, stock and supply chain control.
Proficient in office management, these skills, accumulated experience, and capacity for empathising with and caring for customer needs, give him a rare capacity to source unusual materials and other supplies, as well as keep these well within budgetary requirements in pursuit of our philosophy of Value Engineering best value for every project.
Andrew Leighton - Eco Rating & Energy Assesor
Building on his original degree in applied physics, Andrew is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology, and a Licensed Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor. He is committed to aiding developers, professionals, self-builders and others to improve the energy performance of their buildings. Combined with his Diploma in Business Excellence, his eye for innovative development brings invaluable support to Benfield ATT’s quest for excellence in the design and build of Low Energy Buildings.
Andrew’s formative career was as a development engineer for modulators and power supplies, a position that also saw his appointment as an electrical safety engineer and a maintenance engineer responsible, in particular, for that all important test equipment.
This excellent grounding led to a significant appointment, first as product reliability engineer and then as manufacturing engineer with international giant, Hewlett Packard, a world class manufacturer of data storage and computing devices. Here he was responsible for designing and commissioning production equipment, as well as resolving quality problems and the introduction of new products. In addition to improving their test systems to save time and many hundreds of thousands of pounds, he reduced test development time from 3 months to 1 week.
With a growing awareness of, and interest in, environmental and related issues, he was then head hunted by one of the World’s most productive and advanced ports – the transport of goods playing a significant role in environmental sustainability. As their quality manager he completed and maintained their ISO Certifications, combining this with his role as Engineering Administration and Systems Controller. Under his hands-on direction their data base of maintenance costs and servicing histories was re-established, including incorporation of advanced featured for the pro-active identification of plant maintenance requirements.
Armed with this wealth of experience, knowledge and ‘know how’, Andrew then established his own Eco Rating Services consultancy. Focussing on residential development and business quality he assisted many commercial concerns, professional practices and self-builders. To this end he devised and developed systems and procedures to help clients achieve “Code for Sustainable Homes” ratings. This included the preparation and presentation of a 30 minute Master Class for self-builders.
Through his work with clients Andrew continually uncovered and addressed productivity issues for clients, devising procedures to help them resolve these for themselves if they preferred. Lined to this he designed and delivered 1 day courses in quality auditing, as well as data bases to facilitate client’s requirements for the availability, aggregation and input of data for their controls and returns.
Andrew is a detailed planner who thrives on building relationships and creating networks. Skilled in using appropriate technologies to apply his scientific approach, he is a good communicator with a genuine concern for customers and finding the best way he can to help them realise their objectives.