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Icom UK, Celebrating 40 Years of Family Led Success!

Icom UK, Celebrating 40 Years of Family Led Success!

What’s in a name? Well when it comes to a name as well known as ICOM, rather a lot in fact. ICOM is a name that 50 years ago didn't exist Now, 50 years later, ICOM is a well respected world-wide brand synomous with quality, reliability and value.

Icom UK are proud to have played a significant part in this success. Icom UK was formed 40 years ago and is still a family run company run by the Stockley family. The company started out in 1974 as a small business by the name of Thanet Electronics in Herne Bay Kent. It was in 1974 that Dave Stockley, founder and now company Chairman, opened a small retail shop in Beltinge, Herne Bay. Dave had recently retired from the Fire Service due to injuries and formed Thanet Electronics with partner Paul Nicholson. Initially they distributed various brands including the Japanese manufactured ICOM communication equipment. The pair later approached ICOM Inc. and were granted the distribution rights in the UK and Republic of Ireland, paving the way for future success.

‘It was quite a gamble’ admits his son Bob Stockley, who is now Managing Director of the company. ‘My mother was nervous for all of us at the time, but Dad’s vision came good, and though it meant starting small and working from a room in the home, the business grew and we moved to our own premises in Herne Bay.’

After several years of steady growth, the company was joined by Philip Hadler who served with the company for 30 years. Thanet Electronics Limited then launched the highly successful IC-2E handheld radio for the Radio Amateur enthusiast. This radio proved to be so reliable that it was not long before Marine and Commercial variants made their way into the expanding range.

Some ten years after the business began, the company secured a contract to supply a thousand radios for the British Army, who at that time were fighting in the Falklands War. This contract provided the business with the cash injection it needed to underpin its plans for expansion. This really was the turning point in the company’s fortunes and set the scene for future success.

Dave’s sons Bob and Andy grew up with the business and learnt their ‘trade’ first hand from their entrepreneurial father. The passion that had inspired their father was evidently infectious, for it wasn’t long before that same drive and energy were at work within Bob and Andy and their own ‘second generation’ approach to business. Thanet Electronics became Icom UK in 1989, securing the exclusive rights to the Far East manufacturing suppliers product line in a manner no other country anywhere in the world has yet duplicated, all due to the respect and trust the Stockley family’s operations had earned itself. But every business needs a team, and a team is all about fostering a spirit of joint unity and purpose which is shown by the fact that many of the people who work for Icom UK have been with the company for 25 years. This suggests something about the company and the genuine interest the workforce has in what they do.

In 2009 Icom UK moved to larger premises, still in Herne Bay. At their new purpose built facility on the outskirts of their home town, the Icom team customize, adapt, develop, repair and test products. ‘One of the reasons for our success’ states Bob Stockley, ‘is that our company is small enough to be approachable and nimble enough to be adaptable to each client’s needs, whatever their requirement. We pride ourselves on being innovative and it’s a feature of our work that maintains our position in what is an increasingly competitive marketplace. The communication business is a tough market, so we have to offer a service and product line that is hard to find elsewhere. Further testimony to the quality of the product is that the returns rate for hundreds of thousands of units is minuscule but also the fact that a large number of ICOM units are still in service sometimes ten, even 20 years after they were first bought. Icom UK are often able to service, repair or upgrade these products even after this period. This requires an efficient spares department and the Icom spare parts store is impressive in both its content and organization. In addition, we estimate that 14% of the company’s throughput in the workshop is dedicated to modification and special customization undertaken by a team of experience engineers.

Over the years, Icom UK Ltd has contributed a great deal to the local community. They have provided support for a wide range of organizations including local schools, sports teams and charities. In addition, Icom UK regularly provides sponsorship for a number of National and International events, these include the International Sailing Federation, Cowes Week, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Lasham Gliding Centre and many more. Icom UK has also supported numerous world record attempts and challenges including those involving entrepreneur Richard Branson and explorer David Hempleman Adams.

Icom UK is prepared for the 21st Century with Bob Stockley as Managing Director, Dave Stockley as Chairman, and Andy Stockley, Sam Taylor-Nobbs and Richard Owen as the company's other Directors. This is a time of significant change for Icom UK, with the introduction of innovative, market leading products. With a total staff of 31, and a gross turnover of 8 million Sterling the company moved into superb, purpose built premises just outside it home town of Herne Bay in Kent four years ago. It’s a fitting building for a British success story born out of a family business dedicated to producing cutting edge technology in the face of global competition.

For details of special events marking Icom UK’s 40th Anniversary, please stay tuned to this website for more details.

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