The relationships we have with our customers and suppliers are hugely important to us here at Genus which is why we believe in putting a face to our business. Over coming months, we will be introducing and getting to know the Genus team through a series of blogs. So, check back periodically to find out more.
Rick Waterson – Managing Director and Founder of Genus
Rick started out his paper recycling career as a Management Trainee for a company called J&J Maybank who were the biggest wastepaper processor in the UK at the time. He started on a two-year apprenticeship during which the company was bought by SCA, a Swedish packaging business. Rick worked there for 13 years, becoming a Depot Manager at three different sites before leaving.
Rick’s next port of call was BPB Recycling where he joined as a Commercial Manager followed by Smurfit Kappa where he was a Regional Manager for 5 years and finally for Palm Recycling where he was the Commercial Director and played an active role in developing the strategy of the business.
New start up
In July 2015 Rick decided that the time was right to set up his own business as a 50-50 partner and Materials Recycling & Consultancy was born. In 2019 Billie joined the business as its first full-time employee. In 2020 after continued success, Rick bought out the partners and was joined by Pat to form the business you see today, Genus Recycling Ltd.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
Starting a new business during a global pandemic might seem like a risk, but for Rick he recalls the period positively saying; “the pandemic initially worried me but as people started to do their shopping online, we saw packaging demand go through the roof, the paper mills were full throttle, everything was being shipped in cardboard boxes. Of course, we saw some decline, there was a reduction in graphic media (papers & magazines) but since the collection of newspapers was key for packaging grades the demand and price of it went through the roof.” He recalls going from 40-50 loads a week to more like 120-150 loads a week right up to Jan 2021.
The peaks & troughs
Like any business of course there are peaks and troughs and when Brexit hit the economy the industry went quiet. As a young and agile business, Rick and the team were able to figure out a plan for how they would work through the red tape that was caused by Brexit.
Being ahead of the curve in this regard allowed the company to continue to deliver to their customers and once all the intricacies were worked out, we made significant increases in our turnover steadily increasing to £8m and then more than doubling to £17.8M.
The energy crisis
As the Russia – Ukraine war started to impact gas supply into Germany – one of the industry’s biggest markets – it had a huge effect on manufacturing. Rick recalls: “we have started to see a reduction in the manufacturing of packaging, which is always a good barometer for how economies are doing, if people are not buying things, it gives us advanced warning of a potential recession. We expect volatility in the market and as a business we can prepare for it.”
The future looks bright
Whilst it might seem like a difficult situation to be faced with Rick is very positive about the future and is not shy with his vision.
“We’re building a strong business here at Genus and we want to be Europe’s number one choice of supplier in the UK. Running a business with my daughters provides huge incentive to build a strong business not just for my future but for theirs as well and we are working brilliantly together.”
It seems the pace of life at Genus is perfectly suited to MD Rick, who enjoys the variety and managing the ebb and flow of the paper industry.
“One day is never the same” says Rick, “For example, our regular customers can confirm that they are desperate for us to increase supply and the suppliers do not have enough material. The next month it can be completely reversed. But through good relationships and long-term supply agreements we are able to manage all requirements. Sometimes it can be quite hair raising but I love it!”
If you want to find out more about Rick and his team, please feel free to contact us any time. With so much experience in paper recycling, we are committed to helping organisations who want to recycle do so the most efficient and economical way possible. Talk to us to see how we might be able to help you.