Electronic components distributor Rapid Electronics this year marks 40 years since it was founded, and celebrated last week with a party and networking event at its Colchester headquarters. The event attracted guests from the electronics industry, local business representatives and the company’s charity partners.
James Bates, Rapid’s Managing Director, said it was a great success.
“We were delighted that so many of our suppliers, customers and partners were able to attend. It was a very enjoyable afternoon,” said Mr Bates. It was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the company and the contributions of its staff, several of whom have been with the firm for over 30 years.
“Your 40th birthday is always a big moment, but when people get to that milestone they are normally starting to slow down”, said Mr Bates. “At Rapid however we are speeding up – becoming more responsive to our customers’ needs, investing in new technologies and adapting to and influencing market trends.
“For example, we were selling electronic project kits and chips that helped children learn about coding, prototyping and programming long before the Raspberry Pi was launched – which we have also greatly supported – and were the first UK distributor of the NAO and Pepper humanoid robots.”
As part of its celebrations the company compiled a list of its 40 Key Moments, with former employees and the original founder Chris Stevenson sharing their memories of days gone by. What it shows is that a company is more than just about profit and loss, revenue and shareholders. It is about people and making a difference – whether to fellow employees, your community or young people.
Rapid, for example, has long been a supporter of educational initiatives, especially those that encourage skills in engineering and technology – vitally important areas for UK industry, now and in the future. It co-founded the Toyota Technology Challenge in 2004, and since 2012 has helped to co-ordinate the VEX Robotics and VEX IQ robotics competitions, which give students aged 8-18 the opportunity to design and build robots and compete with them at regional, national and international level. In 2018 Rapid launched a new STEM initiative called Airgineers, which combines CAD and CAM technologies with drone engineering.
“We are proud of our past but have exciting plans for the future,” says Bates. “As a distributor of electric vehicle charging stations we are leading the way with building the infrastructure the UK will need for the switch to zero emission cars. With this in mind we are about to launch a brand new EV charging brand, offering a full service solution for EV charging installers”, says Bates.
There will be more events and initiatives to mark the anniversary throughout the rest of the year.