Since the firm returned to London in 2013, Marc has presided over Rigby’s return to the top tier of London gunmaking. As passionate about making guns as he is about hunting, Marc works closely with Rigby’s team of master craftsmen on all guns that leave the workshop, including numerous stunning bespoke London Bests, and the first Rising Bite double rifles to be built by Rigby in more than half-a-century. He has also overseen the launch and rapid growth in popularity of the Big Game bolt-action rifle – which won awards on both sides of the Atlantic in 2015 – and its continued development to better suit the needs of clients around the world.
Like the rest of the team he leads, Marc is dedicated to ensuring that the Rigbys of the 21st century are worthy successors to their illustrious predecessors, such as Jim Corbett’s legendary .275 Rigby, which he re-acquired for the firm’s London museum in 2015.
Head of Production
Ed joined Rigby in 2014, bringing many years of top-flight gunmaking experience with him. He is now in charge of production at Rigby’s London factory, and his expertise is an integral part of every project. He is personally overseeing the production of the first Rigby Rising Bite double rifles in 80 years, which gives all team members a chance to demonstrate the full extent of their collective skills. What he loves about working for Rigby is being able to help a great young team carry a great old name to a future as exciting as its past. Outside work, Ed’s interests include tanks, about which he knows a lot.
Mark joined Rigby in January 2014, having spent more than 30 years working for Paul Roberts, a previous owner of the firm. Though sad to leave Paul, Mark found the opportunity to be part of Rigby back in its London home too good to turn down, and it hasn’t disappointed. “It’s a privilege to be part of such a talented team, which shares passions and goals,” he says. As to favourite projects, Mark says: “They’re all special in their own way, and each one represents a great team effort, but the Rising Bite would be top of the pile.”
Outside work, Mark likes to shoot and fish and watch nature; he is particularly passionate about birds of prey. He’s also a keen speed cyclist and sculptor. Even away from the workshop, he never stops trying to perfect his craft, and is often to be found in his shed, chequering, working and listening to metal.
Nelson Neto Jr.
Nelson joined Rigby in March 2017 with over 25 years’ experience as a gunsmith. Born in Brazil, his career started when he served in the Brazilian Army, as a gunsmith for his company in charge of more than 150 Mauser rifles.
Nelson has worked on many different types of guns, including black powder and flintlock rifles, single and double action revolvers, bolt action, lever action and semi-automatic rifles but his specialism lies in Mauser 98 actions.
As a gunmaker for Rigby, Nelson is involved in the production of Rigby’s Big Game, Highland Stalker and London Best models. He inspects every rifle to check extraction, feeding and ejection to ensure that every Rigby client receives a state of the art, reliable rifle. Nelson is “very proud to be part of the Rigby team where the excellence is the main goal”.
Brice has been with Rigby since 2014. He studied at the Liege School of Gunmaking and also worked in Paris for 12 months. He is quiet and understated on the outside, but beneath the surface he is incredibly tenacious and determined to do the best possible job.
Having a keen interest in antique firearms and accessories, one of the things he likes most about Rigby is its history: “What l like about working at Rigby is that it is one of the world’s oldest gunmaking factories, and that the firm has made everything from pocket pistols and duelling pistols, right through to target and sporting rifles – all of the finest quality. Anyone working for such a company can feel very proud of it.”
Vlado has been with Rigby since the firm’s return to London in 2013. Originally from Slovakia, he has many years of experience as a stocker and gunsmith. He’s also an experienced cabinet maker and carpenter. Outside work, his interests include football and ice hockey.
Geoffrey Lignon came to Rigby straight from the Liege School of Gunmaking, where he trained exclusively in the art of engraving. Always passionate about wildlife, especially African animals, he was thrilled to be given the chance to work for Rigby: “To engrave upon rifles of this quality is extremely satisfying, and it is wonderful having the opportunity to engrave exotic animals on them.” What’s more, he finds that the supportive atmosphere at Rigby gives him what he needs to do his best work. In his spare time, Geoffrey enjoys drawing, science fiction films, music and sport.
Stocker Martin Levis comes from the south of France and studied at the gunmaking school in St Etienne. He trained with artisan gunmaker Jean-Charles Savin for three years and subsequently spent a year working as a stocker at London’s Watson Brothers. In summer 2016 he began working at Rigby. He is pleased to be working for a firm with such history and to have the chance to work on guns of the finest quality. Outside of work, he enjoys hunting and shooting with friends, riding his motorbike and has a passion for classic cars.
Jamie joined Rigby in autumn 2015 as an apprentice, having studied mechanical engineering at college. Interested in firearms from a young age, he is enjoying learning the arts of gunmaking at Rigby. Jamie particularly enjoys the variety of the work, and accompanying Gunroom Manager David Miles to the range to regulate new and refurbished rifles. Along with history, Jamie’s outside interests include motorsport, computers and woodwork.
Tsega joined Rigby in February 2014, initially joining on a part-time basis before taking on a full-time role as Rigby’s financial controller, after her mentor Patricia Pugh retired. Originally from Eritrea in Africa, when Tsega joined Rigby she brought with her years of experience in group accountancy, working for other major nationwide firms. From a company who prides themselves in innovation and embracing change, Tsega feels really part of the growth of the company, having come on board just as Rigby moved to their new premises at Pensbury Place in London. Outside of working life, she enjoys cooking, entertaining, going to the movies and when time allows, hitting the gym.
Maria joined Rigby early in 2016, having trained as an economist and worked in private banking in her native Spain. She ensures that the Rigby office runs smoothly and she is a key link between clients and the firm’s team of gunmakers. Maria also assists with the preparation of import and export papers. Outside work, her interests include travel, languages, reading, music, cooking and sport.
US sales representative
Based in Texas, Gary joined Rigby in September 2018 to look after our American dealers and customers. He is the main point of contact in the US for our full range of products and also serves as a liaison to our staff in London. “It is an honour to represent a brand as iconic as John Rigby & Co. in the United States,” he says. “Helping customers fulfill their own dreams and passions is my primary focus.”
Gary spent the first 17 years of his career in the paper manufacturing business before gaining a Master of Finance degree. He spent the next 15 years as a financial adviser before serving as a member of the executive staff at a Texas family business.
An avid whitetail deer and small game hunter, Gary is an experienced shooter across many disciplines, including action pistol, shotgun sports and both service rifle and match rifle at national level in the US. Gary adds: “I have my own eclectic collection of traditional guns, many of them pre-World War II. I have always been fascinated with the history of guns and hunting.”
Jérôme joined the Rigby team in August 2020 bringing more than 23 years’ experience of working in the French gun trade, most recently as the director of l’atelier of handmade guns for Verney-Carron.
Having studied at the Liege School of Gunmaking in Belgium, where he qualified as a gunsmith and stock maker in 1997, Jérôme’s passion for hunting has been the driving force in every step of his career. At Rigby, he will be responsible for generating sales, growing business and creating greater brand awareness.
Jérôme is proud to represent such a strong and well-recognised British brand and to be a part of a team who are so passionate about what they do. Outside of work, Jérôme is married and has two sons, who he enjoys taking hunting.
Rising Bite executive
Nick joined Rigby in April 2018, bringing over 30 years’ experience working in the gun trade. From a young age he always dreamed of working on guns, so at 14 years old he helped out in his local gunsmiths’ shop. Once he turned 16, he started a five-year apprenticeship at London gunmakers Holland & Holland, working in their action shop. Upon finishing his apprenticeship, he stayed in that department for a further two years, before moving into their finishing division.
Deciding to broaden his horizons and widen his knowledge, Nick worked for the next eight years at James Purdey & Sons, in their action and finishing shop. Followed by two years exclusively working for a French gun shop in Sologne, as a general gunsmith making guns.
In his new role at Rigby, he will be responsible for quality control in the manufacture of components, ejector work and the finishing of Rising Bites.
Outside of work, Nick is passionate about antique arms and militaria, plus horology, having spent over a year dismantling and building watches and clocks, as well as manufacturing components for them.
Saija Koskialho joined the Rigby team in July 2018 and specialises in engraving animals and scenery. Born and raised in Finland, Saija graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 2011 before moving to Florence to study goldsmithing. It was here that she was introduced to the art of engraving jewellery and silverware. Saija returned to Finland to continue her studies learning about the various engraving techniques. She then attended the prestigious Liege School of Gunmaking, in Belgium. Upon her appointment at Rigby, Saija commented: “I was extremely happy to be given this amazing opportunity. I’m very proud to be part of such a historical establishment and to be a member of a passionate and dedicated team.”
Thomas Le Jendre
Thomas joined the Rigby team in June 2018 as a gunsmith. Having grown up in Brittany, France he followed his passion for hunting and fishing from a young age. Thomas thanks his grandparents for passing on core country values which have been in his family for generations. When Thomas decided to pursue a career in the industry, he attended the Liege School of Gunmaking in Belgium and remained there after graduating, working under Jacques Maiellaro for one year.
Thomas is delighted to be working at John Rigby & Co. and brings a lot of energy and humour to the role. Primarily, Thomas will be working on Rigby London Best rifles and their metal elements before the stock is added. He maintains that he has always dreamt about Rigby rifles!
Born and raised in Budapest, Tamás Szarka studied at the gunsmithing school in Csongrad in Hungary, where he learnt about the mechanics and artistry of rifles, machine guns and pistols, designed for the army and police forces. Before Tamás joined the Rigby team in the spring of 2018, he worked as a CNC programmer. Tamás enjoys hunting and clay shooting in his spare time and is a keen sportsman. Upon joining Rigby, Tamás said: “I’m very proud to be part of such a historic and iconic brand. I love that good is just never enough.”
Petr Soukup was born and raised in the Czech Republic and has had over 17 years’ experience working in the gunmaking industry. Petr’s expertise lies in side by side guns. In 2001, Petr founded his own workshop where he refined his gunmaking skills, building his knowledge of tooling machines, soldering, welding, forging, hardening and checkering with both wood and steel. Petr’s other passions include sailing and walks with his wife and son.
Gunmaker Loick Desmanet joined Rigby in January 2020, specialising in metalwork. A keen clay shot and regular visitor to his local shooting range in his native Belgium, he is looking forward to taking his Belgian hunting licence into the hunting field in Britain with tips from his Rigby colleagues. Before joining the team at Pensbury Place, he graduated from the Liège School of Gunmaking as a gunsmith and stocker, following which he worked as a trainee at Belgian gunmaker Armurerie Delattre. Out of work he enjoys listening to music, films, reading and furthering his knowledge of cigars and whisky.
PA to CEO
After assisting the Rigby team on a part time basis for over two years at trade shows in the USA, Tony officially joined the Rigby team in July 2020. Assisting with the running of the office, Tony is responsible for organising and controlling stock, fulfilling website orders, creating gun certificates and assisting with shows.
Having worked in the gun trade for over 30 years as office manager for James Purdey & Sons, Tony is delighted to return to the industry to work with the young, aspiring team at Rigby. Now in his 70s, Tony is kept busy with his family, assisting his partner with their two wedding shops in Thailand, where he also has a house and their two boys, Phum who’s seven-years old and Pat who’s five go to school.