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Higher sights C

rown International Ltd was established in 1990 as a spe- cialist designer and fabricator

of metal products for the rail safety, road safety and enforcement indus- try. Over 6000 Crown systems have been installed and are in use world- wide. A unique feature of the Avon, UK-based company’s products is the counter-balanced system that allows the unit to be lowered by a single operator for maintenance purposes, who can then complete the task working at ground level. This significantly reduces the cost of maintenance and provides major health and safety benefits. With its origins in sheet metal

fabrication Crown International has evolved into a specialist engineering company serving the highway and rail infrastructure sectors. “We typically serve the UK market

 Well-connected Down Under: Mark Stacey, MD of Crown International

but we’ve done a lot of business over the last 20-odd years in North America, South Africa, the Middle East, Australasia,” explains managing director Mark Stacey. “I like to think of what we are involved in as intelligent infrastructure. There’s a lot of pieces of metal out there on our roads and most of it sits there doing nothing – what we like to do is create and design struc- tures that solve particular problems. One of those problems is the cost of maintaining the equipment that is put onto the infrastructure – those costs are rocketing and causing prob- lems for the travelling public due to closed motorways but also in terms of worker safety. People have to work at height and that’s clearly dangerous so we look to solve problems of that nature. As a Brit it’s always great to see a British company having

such a presence abroad, but as a journalist in the ITS sector it’s always interesting to discover the circumstances that led to that work coming about. “We have built up a good reputation and specialism for pro- viding infrastructure solutions for the enforcement sector. One 31

Kevin Borras talks to Mark Stacey, Crown International’s managing director about safety, enforcement, Australia and driverless vehicles, individually and collectively

of the companies that we have worked very well with over the years and have a very good rela- tionship with is Redflex, who as you know are an Australian/Ameri- can business, and through contacts we had in the UK that had moved to Redflex we got introduced to them,” Stacey explains. “It’s ‘happenstance’ – some of your

good contacts move around and then you’re in the same universe as compa- nies like Redflex but talking to differ- ent people from different parts of that universe. In more recent terms we’ve been working in Australia because we took a stand a few Intertraffic Amster- dams ago. We don’t exhibit at events all that often but that year we had a very clever bit of kit that we wanted to present to a wider market than was available to us in the UK. So we had a nice big stand at the RAI and every

five minutes or so I demonstrated what that kit could do and it got people interested, which of course was the objective. About a year and a half later we got a call from someone who had seen what we’d been doing. One of our contacts in Australia had been working on developing a product that had subsequently got picked up by another company and it just so happened that that company knew us through a previous contact we had made in Europe and they came on board and invited us to work on a particular project with them.” In this case, it’s what you know and who you know. “Well yes, but it’s fairly typical in this industry that you have

a mix of people you know, introducing you to new ideas com- bined with you reaching out through marketing communi- cations, whether that’s through exhibiting at an ITS World Congress or advertising in a magazine like Thinking Highways, or online media or even word of mouth which is still very pow- erful…and then suddenly projects bubble up and people put two and two together and say ‘this is the company that can help us with a solution’.”


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