Don Burton has just been awarded the coveted Services to Industry award at the 2021 Motor Transport Awards. As planned, the announcement came as a total surprise to him as the preparation had been done in complete secrecy. He lifted his trophy to a rapturous standing ovation and was visibly moved by the recognition.
He has worked in the industry since 1949 where he started for a coachbuilder in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent; not 100 yards away from one of the current Don-Bur Service sites. He founded Don-Bur in 1981, following a management buyout of Welfords Truck Bodies.
Today, Don is 87, remains Chairman of Don-Bur and comes into work every day without fail. His dedication and dogged determination have transformed a small, local bodybuilder to the successful multi-million-pound business it is today. The Don-Bur group now turns over circa £50 million per annum and employs around 500 staff at six divisions throughout Stoke-on-Trent.
Don-Bur's reputation has been earned on the back of well-built and innovative products. Don-Bur became very well known for their production of solidly engineered brewery vehicles and in the late 1980's, Don pushed the invention and development of Lifting Deck trailers; a flexible product line that now forms the backbone of production. Perhaps most famous was the birth of the Teardrop trailer in 2006. From humble beginnings, the radically-shaped, fuel-saving Teardrop became a household name in the industry and many thousands have been built for hundreds of savvy operators. Don-Bur has even licenced the product abroad.
The industry has consolidated over the years and it is a huge testament to Don that his business has not only survived, but grown and become the key and preferred supplier to blue chip operators in many sectors including retail, parcels and 3PL contracts. The diverse and custom-built nature of the product line has challenged standard thinking and led the way in developing unique and efficient solutions to a varied marketplace.
Although a charismatic character, Don has always shied away from recognition and it is heart-warming and fitting that the industry should recognise his lifetime efforts in such a memorable way.
Published: Mon 06 Sep 2021
Updated: Tue 09 Jan 2024
Author: Richard Owens
Published by: Don-Bur