1970s – 1989: Getting started
ReAgent is proud to be a family-owned business, now in its third generation. The company was started by Derek and Norma Millard back in the 1970s. Derek was a physicist working for what was then the largest chemical manufacturer in the British Empire, Imperial Chemical Industries, more commonly known as ICI.
Derek had the bold idea to set up a small chemical manufacturing business that would supply ICI with a range of analytical chemical solutions, standard solutions and chemical reagents more efficiently and more economically than ICI could produce from its own department.
After lengthy negotiations, a number of setbacks, countless sleepless nights and a host of meetings with banks, lawyers and accountants it finally all came together for Derek and Norma when they got the blessing of the ICI top brass to set up their company. So in 1977, taking with them a number of Derek’s ICI colleagues, ReAgent Chemical Services Limited was born.
Read more about our humble beginnings in The Birth of ReAgent, through the Eyes of its Founders.
Planting the seeds of growth
Reagent Chemical Services Limited developed and grew as a company, employing more staff and producing a wider range of products to satisfy demand from new customers in a diverse range of industry sectors. The company was one of the first in the UK to gain accreditation to BS 5750, the pre-cursor to ISO 9001:2008 Quality Standard and the photograph below shows the proud moment in 1992 when the Mayor of Halton presented the certificate to the company.
1989 – 2009: The next generation
In 1989 Derek and Norma stepped down from their respective positions as Managing Director and Company Secretary, handing over the reins to their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Steve Hudson, although Derek and Norma continued to be involved in the company until their retirement in 2000.
These years saw many significant changes within the organisation, with new premises and increased staffing levels to meet customer demand. Managing Director Steve grew the customer base and built close working relationships, many of which continue to this day.
Barbara led the company through a rebranding exercise and ReAgent Chemical Services Limited became ReAgent, with a new logo and branding. Barbara also developed ReAgent’s ongoing commitment to its staff as a fair and responsible employer and embarked on becoming an accredited Investor in People (IIP), a status it achieved in 2006.
2009 – 2017: Continued growth and expansion
Steve and Barbara’s son, Richard Hudson, became Managing Director of ReAgent in 2009 and since then the company has experienced double-digit growth every year. Richard’s background as a Chartered Marketer has led to a radically efficient way of working with heavy investment in a new IT infrastructure within the organisation, and many new systems and processes.
The company purchased additional premises and continued to increase its staffing levels to become one of the leading and most highly respected chemical manufacturers and suppliers within the UK.
ReAgent is proud of its green credentials and became certified to ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Standard and is working towards BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management. With exciting plans for development and expansion into Europe and beyond, Richard has ensured ReAgent’s continued growth into the future for the benefit of its employees and customers alike.
2018 – present: Development & progression
In 2018, ReAgent expanded once again with the purchase of a new factory. A total of 60,000 square feet, our new facility includes larger mixing vessels, a secure bonded storage yard, an air-conditioned quality testing lab, and even an increased water ring main among many more built-to-spec features. We have also installed a Class 7 cleanroom and are continuing to invest in new equipment in order to meet the demand of our business growth and increasing number of overseas customers.
But it isn’t just our facility that has improved. We have also received ISO 13485 certification which means that we meet the stringent requirements of a quality management system specific to the medical devices industry. ReAgent has also received Halal Certification, demonstrating that we have controls in place and can manufacture chemical products in such a way that they conform with halal rules.
The beginning of 2019 saw changes to our management team structure, with Richard taking on the role of CEO and Simon Tasker moving into the role of managing director.
We are now looking forward to implementing our three-year business plan (2019-2021) and seeing where we can take ReAgent next!