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Mackie’s of Scotland has honoured three of its longest-serving employees, who hold a combined 93 years of experience at the family-run business.
Bill Thain, Heather Bowie and Lesley Skene have been acknowledged for their years of hard work and dedication in helping shape the growth and development of the business while embracing changes in the business and challenges in the market.
To thank the staff for their service, Mackie’s has introduced a long service rewards scheme which includes additional days holidays and sabbaticals dependant on the length of service of the individual.
Those who reach 20 years with Mackie’s are also presented with a plaque that features on its dairy wall for all to see.
Bill Thain (46) started his career at Mackie’s in 1999 as an information manager after completing a food business scheme for graduates at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
Now, 24 years later, Bill takes on a more retail focused role as national account manager, looking after some of Mackie’s major customers such as Tesco and Waitrose.
Through the years of experience, Bill has learned to embrace online working and successfully navigated the sales to help Mackie’s secure a record-breaking share of the UK market in 2022.
Bill said: “My first venture into sales for Mackie’s was around 2008 and I remember securing my first national listings with one of the country’s biggest wholesalers. This was definitely a milestone moment in my career.
“I was also heavily involved in striking a deal with Marks and Spencer in 2019. It had long been an ambition of Mackie’s to secure a partnership, as we felt our brand’s ethos resonated with that of the retailer, therefore landing a listing with them was a great success.”
Heather Bowie celebrated her 30th year of service in the agricultural department at Mackie’s Westertown farm, as young stock person she looks after the calves from newborn to two years old, welcoming around 30 new calves every month.
Since starting in 1993, Heather has played a key role in keeping the farm running smoothly and has witnessed technology become increasingly integrated into practices to allow the business to produce more fresh milk in order to make its famous luxury ice cream.
Heather said: “The farm has transformed over the years, the biggest changes being moving from parlour milking to robotic voluntary milking, and seeing the calves being machine fed instead of hand fed.
“These developments have led to a much higher milk yield which allows us to make even more ice cream.
“I love working on the farm, it’s so rewarding for me to see the calves grow and go on to become the next generation of milking cows.”
Lesley Skene is one of the longest serving members of staff at Mackie’s after joining in 1984. Lesley now plays a key role in the admin department looking after the farm’s paperwork, personnel records and payroll as the farms and personnel administrator.
Lesley said: “When I first started here, Mackie’s was a milk retail and delivery business. We had the bottling plant and delivery lorries here at Westertown farm, and there were three other dairy farms across Aberdeenshire we had for producing and supplying milk for our deliveries.
“We also had two piggeries and an egg grader, with the milkmen also delivering eggs on their rounds. In 1986 we moved into the world of ice cream and gradually ceased milk deliveries – now all our milk goes into making the delicious ice cream.”
Mac Mackie, executive chairman at Mackie’s of Scotland, said: “None of what Mackie’s has achieved since it began making ice cream in 1986 would have been possible without the hard work, dedication and professionalism of our staff, which have been vital in its growth and development in becoming a pioneer in ice cream, chocolate and renewable energy.
“We are extremely fortunate to have so many good people working at Mackie’s who so often go above and beyond the call of duty.
“It really is like one big family; made up of an energetic workforce who learn and adapt to industries which are constantly changing.
“The loyalty and hard work exhibited by Bill, Heather, Lesley and a significant number of other long-serving personnel across the business were recognised, celebrated and rewarded at a recent staff day out – we’re lucky to continue to benefit from the experience of all of our long-serving staff.”
The company produces luxury ice cream at the fifth-generation Aberdeenshire farm from “sky to scoop”, with wind and sun-powered renewable energy powering the dairy where it makes its ice cream using fresh milk and cream from its own herd.