Successful recruitment of four Regional Managers across the UK in South West England, Wales, South East England, and the West Midlands for ECA.

Appointed as Head of Regions in 2019, Phip Woodhatch Owen recognised the changing environment for ECA’s members and the need to adapt the roles within each region.

Some of the Regional Managers had been with the organisation for many years, a number of who were due to retire. Phip, who had started at ECA as a Deputy Regional Manager before moving into a Business Development role, identified the need for change and wanted to take the opportunity to bring diversity of experience to the organisation, and a “breath of fresh air.”


ECA (Electrical Contractors’ Association) is the UK’s leading Trade Association for the electrotechnical and wider engineering services industry.

ECA has been a driving force in the industry since the Association's formation in 1901 and continues to work on improving standards, supporting the industry, and creating a sustainable business environment.

Our brief

The structure of each region previously required the Regional Managers and Deputies to recruit and retain Members. The reshaped team now enables the Regional Manager to concentrate on engaging and retaining Members, working alongside a Business Development Manager who recruits new Members. The focus for the brief was to bring in best practice through appointing experienced membership professionals including from outside of the industry, to these key member engagement roles.

Having convinced the board of the need for change, Membership Bespoke was engaged to find four Regional Membership-focused Managers for Wales, South West England, West Midlands and Kent, where each had their own particular characteristics, reflecting the industrial and political structure of the area.

Membership Bespoke was required to find experienced people who had undertaken similar regional membership management roles for other membership organisations, and who could bring new perspectives to the ECA. The candidates would live and work in their region, and the level of peer contact would be quite limited, so we needed professionals who would be comfortable with that mode of working.

Our solution

We conducted a comprehensive deep-dive consultation with Phip, to understand the detailed idiosyncrasies of each role, so we were clear exactly what type of candidates we needed to find for each region. We interrogated our database of 15,500 candidates and cast our net wide, having identified the channels that would be likely to yield the most suitable candidates.

The candidates we sought needed to have some technical understanding and exposure so that they knew when to engage with an expert and understood the issues faced by Members.

Phip’s vision was to build a blend of expertise across the regions to enable the organisation to develop, while retaining the fundamental detailed expertise that its Members require.

We screened and interviewed candidates to shortlist 8-10 CVs for each role for Phip to interview, of which 4-5 were taken forward to a second interview that included Phil Surlis, Group Head of Human Resources. The second interview included an in-person presentation undertaken remotely.

Our results

We successfully placed candidates into all four roles.

Phip Woodhatch Owen, Head of Regions said, “Membership Bespoke took the time to completely understand the roles we needed to hire, along with the regional disparities.

“Knowing that we didn’t have a template in place for the type of person we needed to recruit, as we were taking a new direction for the organisation, they were very proactive to ensure the potential of the candidates they screened met our technical requirements, particularly to ensure strong candidates weren’t overlooked.

“The people we hired for these roles have so far delivered the breath of fresh air I hoped for, to drive the organisation forwards.”


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