Bill Clinton was about to become US president, The Spice Girls had taken the world by storm and Damon Hill had just won the F1 Drivers championship, to become the first son of a former World Champion to lift the crown. It was October 1996 and Ian Mace also joined the team Tuffa UK.

Tuffa Tank Ian Mace
Ian Mace building a fire-protected tank for one of our customers

Last month Ian celebrated the milestone of reaching 22 years of service with Tuffa UK. During that time he has delivered and installed tanks, and now works in our small plastic tank factory building our fast-moving 1350, 1400 and 2500 litre tanks. He is also a specialist at fitting our unique, patented fire-proof material to our fire-protected oil tanks.

Tuffa tank production
“When I nod my head, you hit it…” Ian and Sam Chapman finishing a fire-protected tank

Earlier this year, Tuffa won the prestigious Employer of the Year title at the Burton Mail Business Awards. A judging panel visited the factory as part of our application and Ian impressed them with his long service and dedication to the business. It is testament to Tuffa UK that approximately 25% of our workforce have been with the company for 10 years or more.

Part of the family

During his 22 years service, Ian has seen a lot of changes. “When I started, Tuffa was a small business that had recently moved to its current Uttoxeter factory. Since then, I’ve seen a new steel workshop and plastic weld factory, new product development and a workforce that has grown from 5 or 6 to nearly 40. I’ve also seen the second generation of the Shenton family come into the business, and that “family” culture is still strong at Tuffa. All of us working here feel like a part of that family” he said.

Tuffa UK Director Jackie Shenton remembers Ian starting. “Ian has always been a hard worker and we are very fortunate to have such a loyal member of our team. He has a wealth of experience as a result of not just building our tanks, but also installing them for our customers,” she said. ” His product knowledge and technical expertise is a massive asset for Tuffa UK and he remains a key member of our production team. I would like to thank him for his loyalty and service – and wish him well for the next 22 years!”

To infinity and beyond

A little known fact about Ian is that he also had a successful modelling career at the time he joined Tuffa UK. In fact, he was the inspiration for the best selling Christmas toy in 1996, the year he joined us. After a great deal of international research, Pixar, the creators of the fabulous Toy Story series of films decided that they would base the film’s star character, Buzz Lightyear, on our Ian!

Tuffa Ian mace
Ian Mace, Tuffa’s very own super hero…
Tuffa Buzz
…and his fictional counterpart, Buzz Lightyear. You’ll never see them in the same room…




From the entire team at Tuffa UK, congratulations and well done Ian on reaching this milestone. The place just wouldn’t be the same without you!