By RJ Mitchell
PADEL TECH are delighted to announce that we have ended 2023 on a real high after receiving an award for continued improving performance across 2023 at the prestigious AFP Group VIII International Padel Days conference held in Barcelona.
Finance director Guy Heathcote attended the conference which saw 150 delegates drawn from AFP’s distributors across 33 countries visiting the Catalan capital with all in attendance for the ritzy rooftop opening ceremony of AFP COURTS’ industry leading new corporate headquarters and production plant in Les Franqueses del Vallès.
While acknowledging that there have been challenges for us to overcome in 2023, Guy was keen to highlight a string of high end projects we have concluded in the last 12-months, featuring some of the most iconic brands in the UK.
While Guy has no doubt that the looming New Year is already looking exciting with our position as a key and long-standing partner of the AFP Group set to enhance our ability to deliver a UK market-leading service as we enter 2024.
But first Guy was keen to acknowledge the importance of both the conference and the recognition we received in Barcelona and he said: “First of all we were thrilled to receive the award in recognition of our continued improving performance and dedication, and to a certain extent we were surprised as we have had a mixed year with ups and downs, but to be recognised amongst 150 colleagues and distributors and to gain the award was just very pleasing.
“We’ve always felt valued by the AFP Group and AFP COURTS and we have been a partner of theirs for years and we have been right in it from the beginning and we have always been valued and respected by them from the start.
“So it was a fantastic event to round the year off and the award was the icing on the cake and a real bonus.”
As AFP COURTS’ co-CEO Jose Delgado admitted his company’s long standing relationship with Padel Tech is one he treasures and he said: “The first court we installed outside of Spain was in 2014 and the aim of our company, and I think this is the success of AFP, is to work exclusively with our distributors, as we do with Padel Tech in the UK, and sharing with them all the knowledge we have built up from the last 15 years.
“I felt so much satisfaction to see all of these distributors from around the 33 countries that work with us and that some of these people, like Padel Tech, have been working with AFP for some years now – that is very special to me.”
Guy was also present as AFP COURTS’ co-CEOs Jose Delgado and Jorge Caña along with AFP Group CEO José Luis Sicre cut the ribbon to pronounce the state – of – the - art 2500 square metres corporate HQ and plant open and he believes the facility is “unparalleled” in our industry.
Guy said: “This facility is second to none and absolutely world leading and in the padel community it is unparalleled, it is absolutely market-leading.
“As a result we’ve got the capacity now to turn jobs round very quickly so our lead time is significantly reduced, we’ve got an in-house paint plant and the efficiencies that come with the whole set up will translate into better delivery for our customers in a number of aspects. So that is all really exciting.”
Yet Guy was also working hard behind the scenes in Barcelona as he attended a string of meetings that bode well for 2024 as he revealed: “There is a lot going on in the industry and the event was a great chance to swap notes, talk with colleagues, pick their brains, gain help if we need any support in anything technical and also for us to provide advice in return, so it was just a great forum to exchange views.
“The networking aspect of it also can not be underestimated. When distributors have valued customers in their own territory looking to expand abroad and possibly the UK, we get to hear about that very early doors and hopefully we can then take advantage.
“In this respect there have been a couple of opportunities I will be following up when I get home.”
2023 has seen Padel Tech complete on a string of blue chip projects involving some of the biggest brands in UK leisure and hospitality like the multi-million pound Padium premium padel development in Canary Wharf.
Looking back on these seismic successes, Guy admitted Padel Tech’s satisfaction: “Firstly to get the Padium project across the line during the course of this year was a real achievement for the whole team.
“So my thanks go to everybody at Padel Tech without whose support it wouldn’t have been possible, this is an eight-court centre, seven of which are covered by a canopy, at the very heart of Canary Wharf and it stands upon Europe’s biggest freestanding scaffold structure.
“So from start to finish we’ve had to engage with engineers from the canopy company, Canary Wharf plus various construction partners and all the way through it has been a really challenging technical project. But the results are absolutely fantastic.
“We’ve also completed on a number of projects and a couple of highlights would be the courts for the Wentworth Club, and Gleneagles Hotel, they are very prestigious clients and we are delighted to work with them and for them.
“We also completed three centres for the David Lloyd Group, so very high level clients who are really promoting the game of padel across all of their centres now, which is exciting and bodes well for the future.”
Yet 2023 has not been without its challenges as Guy revealed: “I would just mention one lowlight which was Island Padel being hit in very early November by a 150mph tornado with a 30 metre wide vortex which went straight across their site and decimated everything.
“There isn’t a canopy structure in existence that could withstand that but we’ve worked very closely with them for the last couple of months and although they are not up and running quite yet, I am delighted to say they will be trading again in the New Year.
“So we are just really pleased we have been able to get them on their feet as quickly as possible and the courts will go out for the New Year and on target to be installed in the first and second week of January.”
To conclude Guy was keen to record his grateful thanks to all our valued clients and partners and he said: “We always want every project to go really well and to build long term relationships with all of our clients, some of them might be rolling out long term plans in the future and others might have one court now but want to extend to another court.
“So we want to keep in touch with them and thank them for their valued business from 2023 and look forward to their success as they go forward while also thanking our partners on these various projects.
“Hopefully Padel Tech will continue to help them build on all of that in 2024.”