Patrick Parsons expands and has sights set on Africa

A CONSULTING engineers is targeting £3m in sales as it grows its presence across the border into Scotland while also adding to its workforce.

From left, Patrick Parsons directors Grant Richardson and Mark Turner and MD Peter Stienlet

A CONSULTING engineers is targeting £3m in sales as it grows its presence across the border into Scotland while also adding to its workforce.

Patrick Parsons, which has offices in Newcastle, Huddersfield and Chester, has just acquired further space in Glasgow.

The firm has also taken on five new staff in its mechanical and electrical division as it looks to further grow its 52-strong workforce in 2013.

The company’s director Mark Turner took the reins of the historic engineering firm in 2007 as part of a management buy-out.

Since then, staff numbers have grown from 12 to more than 50 in what has proved to be the worst recession since the 1930s.

Last year, the firm was awarded a £5m Olympic Legacy contract at the Lee Valley white water course, where Team GB won gold and silver this summer.

Turner puts Patrick Parsons’s success down to his staff’s ability to be diverse in an ever-changing commercial climate. He said: “We’ve diversified the business into as many different areas as we can.

“If one market suffers a slump or a bad spell then it’s not the end of the world. All our engineers are flexible about what they can do.

“White water courses have become a fairly unique selling point for us. There are very few companies in the world that can do it the way we can.

“We’ve recently seen an upturn in conservation work. We’re now slowly starting to see the heritage money that was curtailed before and during the Olympics being spent.

“Student accommodation across the country is also a big growth area for us. There’s a lot of residence schemes going on and we’re currently working on accommodation opposite St James’ Park, in Newcastle, worth £11m.

“Geographically, the biggest growth area for us is London. I’m confident that we’ll be opening an office down there at some point this year.

“There’s also work to be had in Aberdeen and north east Scotland in the oil and gas sector. We’re already working on projects worth £40m up there collectively.”

As well as breaking into the South East and Scotland, the firm is eyeing up growing markets such as the Far East and Middle East.

Turner says fighting to grow the company in a recession has made it stronger and future-proof.

He said: “We’re conscious of the areas that are performing well and they are where we’ve opened our offices.

“The North East has contracted year on year since 2007 even though the country’s overall growth figure is somewhere around 0.5%

“London skews these figures massively as it contributes to a quarter of the country’s overall economy.

“We’ll consolidate what we have this year, but undoubtedly we’ll look abroad for work. The IMF has already said Western Europe will be in a similar economic state until 2018 so we’ll look at other areas around the world such as Tanzania, Kenya and the Far East where economic growth rates are much higher.”

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