• Athena Team

Roundup with Adam Miles: 2021 in surface fabrication

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

The past year has had its ups and downs. As we head into 2022, things look uncertain as ever, with most UK industries not knowing what to expect. Through this, we have seen resilience as manufacturers and developers continue to weather the storm.


To discuss the past year and look ahead to 2022, we caught up with Adam Miles, Managing Director at Athena Surfaces. Here we hear about his year in surface fabrication and installation, supplying the nations housebuilders and kitchen retailers.


Hi Adam, how has this year been?

The past year has been very busy despite all the challenges we’ve faced. We have struggled with supply chain issues and shortages (like almost every industry). The demand for new employees has been high which has made recruitment more difficult.


However, sales have increased by 20% and housebuilders have bounced back with a vengeance. It’s been fantastic to see our customers continuing to succeed and we have been proud to support them on their projects throughout this period.


What have been your highlights this year?


It was great to host the ‘Best House’ category at the WhatHouse? Awards in November. This event is huge for our industry and it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and catch up with our network. We have just about recovered and will definitely be attending next year!


Please tell us about some notable contracts from 2021.


Persimmon Homes have pushed us hard in terms of projects, and we have moved to 72-hour turnaround for new worksurface installations. The fast and reliable service we offer Persimmon means they rely on us as sole surface supplier for UK developments.


Athena launched two new products this year. Tell us about these.


Our Magna Porcelain range of large format bathroom tiles is ready for full roll out early next year, with a number of showhomes now being fitted out. Magna allows housebuilders to offer a product normally only seen in very high-end homes at affordable prices.


Forza Quartz is our range of beautiful solid quartz worktops offered at an affordable price point. The range means we can deliver low cost, high quality quartz along with our unparalleled service levels to all UK housebuilders.



Have there been any changes to operations this year?


The launch of our Magna range has involved designing a new way of processing large format tiles. We are now able to install tiles to cover a full bathroom, including the floor, in one day. This has been a challenge, but the advantages to our customers are huge.


For worktop fabrication and installs, we have continued our route to full automation with the goal of 48-hour turnaround nationwide by the second half of 2022. The process has required many changes and refinements, but we are now at a point to deliver it.


Athena has been recruiting lots this year – is this growth set to continue?


In a word, yes. We are increasingly seen as the worksurface provider of choice for all UK housebuilders. This is due to the high level of service we offer compared to our competition, which is only set to continue. Every process we have is backed by a strong, efficient team. The more we grow, the more we continue to need people to support this.


What have been the main challenges this past year?


Strong growth always presents challenges as processes and systems need to adapt. We have grown the team by 10%, including some senior role changes. The focus is always to keep our customers happy and ensure we are passing on savings from continuing efficiencies.



What do you think Athena has done particularly well at this year?


We have prioritised looking after our customers and bending over backwards to ensure completions happen on time. We have never failed in this, and we never will.


Our reliability and fast turnaround set us apart. Our service has meant we are trusted as the sole supplier to housebuilders such as Persimmon for over 7 years now.

What are your plans for Athena in the coming year?


As well as the full-time job of looking after our customers, we want to focus on further developing our workforce. It’s something we are passionate about and it’s our goal to have all employees on some form of training or self-improvement course by March 2022.


Is the team having a Christmas party this year?


We had a small, safe one which was great. Considering the difficult period we are all in, it was the best option. It is always nice to look back on what we’ve achieved over the past year and celebrate the wins.


Are you a housebuilder looking to streamline your worktop supply chain? Talk to us about how the process works.