A leading Midlands business support figure swapped her daily role on the shop floor for the prestige of Buckingham Palace on Friday.
Rachel Eade, who currently works as the automotive sector lead for the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), received her Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) from His Royal Highness Prince of Wales in recognition of her services to the car industry.
The Birmingham-born expert has been supporting the region’s supply chain for nearly twenty-years, playing an instrumental role in ensuring component firms came through two MG Rover crises, the closure of Agco and Peugeot’s Ryton factories and, more recently, issues around Coventry-based London Taxi Company.
It is estimated that Rachel has helped more than 2000 suppliers, safeguarding 10,000 jobs and creating in excess of 5000 new positions with expanding manufacturers.
“You never expect that the job you do every day would be recognised in this way and earn you a trip to Buckingham Palace and to receive your MBE from Prince Charles,” Eade explained.
“The whole experience was fantastic and great to share with family and friends. Hopefully, it will also continue to raise the profile of the automotive industry, a sector that is currently driving the UK’s economic resurgence.”
She continued: “It is a great honour as I’ve been nominated by industry and other business support partners and it recognises what is a real team effort…I can’t do the job I do without the many people around me.”
Eade started working in the Black Country in 1995 before moving to supply chain initiative Accelerate, where she administered more than £100m of European funding to West Midlands automotive firms.
She then joined the Manufacturing Advisory Service in 2010, fulfilling a regional role first before being appointed as the National Automotive Lead earlier this year.
In this position, she has responsibility for developing the supply chain’s capacity and harnessing links with BIS, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and major car manufacturers.
Rachel also sits on the board of the Automotive Council where she provides a strong voice for component firms on issues including access to finance, skills and competitive supply chains.
“I worked with about 250 SMEs in 2013, providing mentoring, advice and signposting to other support programmes,” explained Rachel.
“There is definitely a sense of optimism in the car industry and suppliers are prepared to invest to keep up with fresh demand from the OEMs. This has seen me get involved a lot more in helping companies prepare funding bids, resulting in £millions of much needed support from the Regional Growth Fund and AMSCI.
“I will also be helping deliver Reshore UK, a new UKTI and MAS service designed to attract manufacturing investment back home and ensure our supply chain is fit for purpose.”