The business began 18 years ago and in 2012 merged with Instantprint, subsequently moving to 9,000m2 premises in Rotherham. Shirley has been involved with the launch of Route 1 Print and Route 1 Connect since then. Shirley says: “I’ve seen incredible growth while working here. When we were just a screen printer, the vision was always to get into web to print and, by a chance meeting with Adam Carnell and James Kinsella, this was achieved.”
The company has become one of the fastest growing businesses in the UK, covering the entire online print space from consumer facing with Instantprint to working with large volume purchasers in Bluetree Connect. This has been Shirley's creation with a focus on automating the print purchasing process. Sarah Kilcoyne will now run this arm of the group. “After working with Sarah for more than eight years, I know she is the right person to take the helm and drive Route 1 Connect even further,” he says.
Carnell and Kinsella have led a huge investment in the business, a second Screen TruepressJet 520 HD, is now being installed along with Tecnau handling and Horizon finishing equipment from IFS. But, says group managing director Carnell, the investment in people has been equally vital. “It has been an honour working alongside Shirley over the last six years. He has had a massive influence on the performance of Bluetree Group as we have navigated our way through times of change in a very dynamic print market,” he says.
“Bryan initiated our people focused culture which remains one of the most important aspects of our business. He brought fun into the office and bred a culture of belonging for all members of our team, setting a high bar for us to continue. I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Adam Carnell, Bryan Shirley, James Kinsella and head of Route 1 (Print) Mark Young enjoy a recent company sports day before the announcement of Shirley's retirement. Bluetree Connect has been his project in recent years following the merger with Instantprint.