Son follows in late Ipswich haulier father’s footsteps – after learning from his own mistakes
PUBLISHED: 07:08 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 07:18 21 January 2020
Back in 2002, Paul Magnus was proudly celebrating the opening of a new 100,000 sq ft warehouse and distribution centre for Magnus Group – the logistics operation he founded – at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich.
Last year, his son, Olly, 46, decided to take over the 40-year-old business following his father's death, keen to move it forward into a new era and build on Paul's impressive business achievements.
For as long as he can remember, Olly was immersed in the world of freight, warehousing and haulage.
His father launched his first transportation business back in the early 1970s, and as a child, Olly and sister Emma were frequent visitors to their father's workplace.
It was hardly surprising that when Olly grew up he chose a similar career path, co-creating an independent freight forwarding company - Burhill Logistics - in 2003.
"I'm often asked why I didn't want to go straight into working for the business dad had created," he says.
"Joining the Magnus Group straight from school would perhaps have been the obvious choice, but I was determined I needed to find my own way first.
"I needed to learn the industry for myself, understand my strengths, make my own contacts - and make my own mistakes too."
Burhill provided Olly with the perfect training to enable him to step into the footsteps of his much-loved father, who died in March 2018 at the age of 71.
It was around that point that Olly recognised the chance to take forward his family's name and move the business into a new era.
"My father had sold a 40% stake in Magnus Group to businessman Mike Pattinson back in the 1990s, and together, they continued to grow the company and its opportunities.
"When dad passed, I knew that Mike would also be keen to re-evaluate his connection to the original business, so we held talks and agreed that I would buy back that portion - and effectively 'bring it home' to my family."
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The acquisition was successfully completed late last summer, in conjunction with Olly selling his portion of Burhill.
"It feels like something dad would have wanted for me, for my stepmum - who owns the other 40% - and for my sister," said Olly.
"I'm so pleased that now the Magnus Group is very much family-led, and that we have the opportunity to move it forward in a way which is really fitting for today's landscape.
"It's time for new energy, ideas and innovation - something I really feel I'm able to provide with the incredible team I've got around me."
Since his arrival, the business has moved swiftly, re-branding the fleet with bold green and black livery, and acquiring around 105,000sq ft more warehousing space.
At the same time, it has been working toward its British Retail Consortium accreditation, and has won new clients, including a major supermarket chain.
"We're absolutely hitting the ground running," says Olly.
"I'm determined to build on everything that's great about Magnus Group, and to ensure it's a 21st century logistics company which punches above its weight. I really see us as a significant global player."
Olly has also created a dedicated freight forwarding department, using his experience in the sector to his advantage.
"I am fortunate to have developed a wealth of global contacts and opportunities in the freight forwarding arena, so I was keen to bring this into the Magnus offering, and am very much looking forward to seeing this area of our business develop in 2020 and beyond.
"We are now very much able to offer a 'complete logistics package', capturing freight, haulage, distribution, and warehousing."
The company has taken on 12 more staff since completing the acquisition, and Olly believes the start of the new decade will bring more opportunities for expanding the workforce.
"There's no doubt this is an exciting time for us, and that we'll be looking to grow in terms of our network, our sector focus, and our staff number," he said.
"I'm proud of everything the business has achieved to date, and am thankful to the loyal and dedicated staff who have been part of our journey so far. For them, and for dad and my family, I'm fully focused on making this next chapter a really positive and profitable one for the group as we build on our reputation and innovate for the future."
Magnus Group has a fleet of more than 50 articulated vehicles and employs 120 staff from its base at Great Blakenham, Ipswich.
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