Every day during the Christmas holidays we are profiling the winners of the recent Director of the Year Awards. Brian McErlain, managing director, Genesis Crafty, won the Family Business Director award
In his 20 years as managing director, Brian McErlain has seen baked goods producer Genesis Crafty grow from a company employing less than 20 people and turning over less than £1m, to one with over 200 employees and a turnover of £16m. In the past 12 months he has restructured his senior management team, driving five per cent growth in turnover for the last financial year and bringing a projected increase for the next year of 10 per cent. Here he gives his thoughts on growth, talent and Brexit…
Who has inspired you? My parents. They started this business when they were aged 30 with five children under the age of seven.
What’s been the most pivotal moment for your business? There are two: moving to a custom-built bakery in 1993 and rebranding as Genesis in 1998.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you overcome them? We’re in a very competitive market. Growth is the only way to stay in the game.
How do you approach hiring the best talent? Intelligent, motivated people with great social skills make for a great team.
How are you feeling about leaving the EU? Brexit may scratch the sovereignty itch but it’s an own goal for the agri-food sector, particularly here in Northern Ireland.
What’s the best business book you’ve read? Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be? I’d like to learn to play a musical instrument.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned? Keep pedalling the bike!
Company vital stats
Business Genesis Crafty is a producer and supplier of bakery goods to clients including M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
HQ Magherafelt, Northern Ireland
Turnover £15.8m (2014/2015)
History Founded at home by Joe and Roberta McErlain in 1968, today the business is run by their son Brian McErlain and his five brothers. The business has maintained quality while achieving scale by producing in “small batches to keep the dough soft and moist” and working everything by hand.
Financial targets The company intends to grow turnover to £40m within the next 10 years.
is a member of IoD Northern Ireland