Get To Know John Gittins Our Innovation and Engineering Manager
John Gittins CEng MIAgrE
Our Engineering team is made up of Shaun Etherington (Senior Product Design Engineer), Michael Bulzachelli (Trainee Design and Development Engineer) and James Moss (Development and Test Engineer). Their office is just steps away from the production line.
John Gittins grew up on a family run dairy farm near Oswestry in Shropshire. From an early age Lego captured his interest and combined with his love of inventing this made him pursue a career in engineering. He attended Harper Adams University to study a BEng (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering which included an industrial placement year. John was very pleased to win the Johnson New Holland trophy for his major project to design a telescopic and rotational dipper arm for a Lewis Equipment backhoe loader. After graduating John decided to take an MSc in Agricultural Engineering. On completion he took employment at Turfmech Machinery ( now Allett) as a Design and Development Engineer working on the newly acquired Allett cylinder mower range. As his career progressed he moved up to Chief Engineer then Engineering Manager and has recently become Innovation and Engineering Manager. John provides technical support for production and aftersales which became increasingly important after Allett (then Turfmech) made a large acquisition in 2011 of both the petrol and electric cylinder lawnmower ranges from Bosch Lawn and Garden Equipment in Stowmarket. This made the Allett mower brand a significant name in British manufacturing.
Education and qualifications: BEng (Hons) Agricultural Engineering, MSc Agricultural Engineering
How Long Have You Worked For Allett? 16 years
What Does Your Role Entail?
As the Innovation and Engineering Manager I oversee a team of four engineers at Allett (including myself) and I am responsible for ensuring products comply with new and current safety legislation. My main duties include compiling and managing technical construction files and negotiating third party compliance testing. I also plan and oversee the installation and setup of new plant and equipment with a focus on improving the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, I develop and implement technical procedures and assist all departments with technical knowledge. As the person responsible for the engineering department, my day to day duties include planning and managing budgets, assigning tasks to engineers, appraising their work and mentoring their development. I also give presentations to the company directors as part of the management team.
Please provide a brief outline of your career so far:
My Bachelors degree included a one year industrial placement and I was fortunate to get a position as student engineer at The Belle Group, a manufacturing organisation for the building and construction markets in 2004/5. That summer I worked as a student engineer for Lewis Equipment, another manufacturing company, but this time of amenity and horticulture equipment. In August 2007 I began my full time career at Allett Mowers, a British-owned company that specialises in the manufacture of precision, single cylinder, walk behind mowers as a Design and Development Engineer before being promoted to Chief Engineer two years later.
Have you worked on any unusual or high profile projects?
Over the last few years at Allett Mowers I’ve managed a number of design projects which have resulted in the mowers being used at a number of high profile sports grounds including,Manchester United as well as Edgbaston Cricket Ground. In addition, I have been responsible for designing bespoke mowers for use at several Royal residences. I played a key role in the design and innovation of our latest Evolution range with the C34E winning the Engineering Excellence award in 2021. Find details here. Since the introduction of the C34E cylinder mower we have introduced the Uplift86E battery powered rotary mower aswell as the C27E cylinder mower- all three use the same batteries.
We won the Queen's Award for Enterprise -International Trade in 2020 which was based on our Export sales abroad to the World Cup and other countries of which we are very proud of.
Our engineering team receiving the C34E Engineering Excellence Award
What attracted you to become registered as a CEng?
I wanted to gain professional registration as a CEng as I felt it would demonstrate continuity in learning and development after gaining my academic qualifications. Furthermore it provided me with an excellent framework to help build and establish comprehensive professional competence. This was especially important to me as I work in a small company of 50 staff. Even after registration the competence and commitment framework is attractive as it can sustain professional development and ensures that my skills do not stagnate.
How has professional registration as a CEng benefitted your career?
Becoming professionally registered has given me more confidence in decision making and provided me with skills and experience that I can use to handle larger projects. Professional registration has proven my ability over a broad range of core areas and demonstrated that I am ready to take on further responsibility.
In the words of Austin Jarrett, Managing Director of Allett Mowers: “John has shown a very high level of dedication to his career and we are extremely happy that he reached Chartered Engineer status both for John personally and for Allett! Achieving such a greatly valued qualification is a significant feat and a mark of an engineer's competence and professionalism''.