Name and role: Carl Sykes, Community and Business Relations Manager, Syngenta
Describe what your business does:
Syngenta is a World-leading agribusiness helping farmers grow the crops we need to feed our planet, sustainably. We give farmers important tools and solutions needed to provide us with affordable, quality food on our supermarket shelves.
How many staff do you employ?
In Huddersfield, we employ approximately 400 people. Across the UK, we employ 2,500.
What does your role entail?
I am the Community Relations Manager and it’s my job to build relationships with partner organisations and find mutual value in our relationships. Syngenta strives to be the partner of choice in its industry and in the communities where it operates, wherever in the world that may be. We do that through mutual understanding, mutual respect and transparency.
What attracted you to start/operate your business in Huddersfield?
Our business grew from the legacy of Huddersfield’s textile trade 100 years ago. The site originally provided dyes for the cloth industry, growing in a region where people were very skilled and innovative in manufacturing – strengths that the Town still has today. Syngenta has continued to invest in its Huddersfield facility which now makes important products in crop protection and has done for many years.
Name some of your biggest business achievements:
Locally, we have won several awards for process safety, engineering standards and reputation. We started our modern apprenticeship programme more than a decade ago and we are developing the next generation of talent in our sector, providing jobs and giving strength to the economic elbow of Kirklees.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up or relocate their business in Huddersfield?
Huddersfield is delightfully quirky with ease of access to Manchester and Leeds. Property prices are very competitive in the region and the Town and its people have great pride in sports, the arts and its leisure offer. The University is a big asset to the Town as are the many schools and colleges. But most of all, I like the comfort of an urban lifestyle with quick access to the countryside, being nestled in the Pennine hills.
What are your hopes for Huddersfield 10 years from now (2030)?
I hope Huddersfield is able to embrace the digital revolution and benefit from national investment in the North.
On a personal level, what do you love most about the town?
Whenever I return from the airport, I always look for the drystone walls lining the hills. When I see them, I feel that I have arrived home.
Where is your favourite place to eat/drink in Huddersfield?
I am a big fan of Italian restaurant, Grappolos. The staff are always welcoming and put my family at ease when we walk in the door. The food is good too.
Are there any recommendations or local knowledge you’d like to share with a visitor?
People in Huddersfield are very good at organising themselves into community groups and savvy about how to get things done, to benefit those who need help in society. Don’t be shy of setting out to meet a few community groups and maybe consider doing some voluntary work. That would be a good way to get to know like-minded people locally and it can also be very rewarding.