LONDON Bill Laughton, who founded Aerco in 1956 and has recently celebrated his 80th birthday, still works at Aerco every day.
Laughton may not start until early afternoon but he works on until the early hours of the morning and can often be found hard at work over the weekend. As he founded the company 49 years ago, surely he can demand a certain flexibility of working hours!
Aerco (Aviation Electrical and Radio Company) started in a wooden workshop in Horsham installing radio equipment in aircraft. Over the next ten years the company developed its engineering and technical capabilities, servicing navigation lighting and other electrical aircraft equipment in both the civil aviation industry and the MOD.
Gradually, a stock-holding and distribution element was added to the business and slowly, but very surely, the company developed into the major electronics distributor that it is today.
Laughton was a pioneer of the UK electronics distribution industry. He was one of a select band of trailblazers that included Fred Lane of F C Lane, George Stuart of Sasco, Alf Pegg of AWP, Don Smallwood now of Hub Electronics and Cyril (Lofty) Freeman who at that time was at Richfield Electronics. All these entrepreneurs formed companies in the Horsham and Crawley area of West Sussex and went on to run successful and long lived businesses.