AN engineering manager has been praised for his "great contribution" to a food ingredients company during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brian Shepherd was appointed as engineering manager at EDME, in Mistley, at the start of lockdown.

He now leads the firm’s team of seven mechanical and electrical engineers.

He joins the company with 30 years of engineering experience.

Most of that time was spent in food production and includes roles at Premier Foods, Tate & Lyle and Ferndale Foods.

Mr Shepherd said: “I came on board just as coronavirus was changing the work and social landscape. That brought challenges over and above learning about the company I’d just joined, and getting my teeth into the new role.

“There were lots of new regulations and processes connected with the pandemic. And there was also significant change in the kind of orders customers were making. Engineers had to work closely with production operatives, making sure the equipment was functioning to meet growing demand for particular ingredients. They’ve also made me very welcome, which is much appreciated.”

The company produces natural, nutritious ingredients for bakers and food manufacturers in this country and abroad.

Gary McIlwaine, head of operations at EDME, said: “Brian is a strong addition to the team.

"He’s already made a great contribution in responding to the restrictions imposed by lockdown - and the management of change. The experience he brings with him has also been hugely valuable in the work we’re doing on new projects.

“He has thrown himself in, taking the initiative and helping motivate his team. Great to have him on board.”