Category: Press

Seymour Civil Engineering celebrates continued growth with the appointment of board of directors

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North East civil engineering firm, Seymour Civil Engineering, has taken further steps towards securing its future success, with the appointment of four new company directors.

All hailing from existing roles within the company, Adam Harker has been named as contracts director, Simon Rodgers as commercial director, Stuart Dickens as construction director and Karl Brennan as pre-construction director.

Karl, who has been with Seymour Civil Engineering for 13 years, previously as the company’s bid coordinator, said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed in this new position. It’s fantastic to have been rewarded for my commitment to the business. It’s also testament to one of Seymour’s key values, ‘A People Business’. Seymour is excellent at fostering an environment that provides opportunity.

“A major part of my new position as pre-construction director will be looking at how Seymour engages with clients and stakeholders and how those relationships develop throughout the lifecycle of a project.

“Seymour has always been a client focused contractor, and as a result will have been successfully trading for 40 years next year, but placing a continued importance on maintaining strong relationships, and promoting sustainable outcomes above short term gains, significantly contributes to a positive and robust future for the company.”

Adam added: “I feel honoured and privileged to be promoted to director. It’s coming up to 10 years that I have been with the company and throughout that time the firm has assisted me to develop and grow. It’s now my turn to help take the business forward.

“I see the appointment of a board of directors as a real statement of intent by our Managing Director Kevin Byrne. It shows his drive and determination to see Seymour grow and continue to establish itself as the leading multi-discipline civil engineering company in the North East. With the new directors in place I can only see the business going from strength to strength in the coming years.”

Speaking about the latest appointments, Managing Director Kevin Byrne, said:  “As Seymour approaches its 40th anniversary I felt this was the perfect time to undertake the re-structure and introduce the board of directors to assist with making the vision we have for the company a reality.

“I will be working closely with the new directors to identify both strengths and challenges within the business, allowing us to prioritise time and focus attention on the key areas.

“As a team I am confident we will be able to lay the foundations for Seymour’s sustainable and structured growth going forward.”

Based at Seymour House on Hartlepool Marina, Seymour Civil Engineering has enjoyed a successful year, securing and completing a number of major projects across the region.

Most recently the firm celebrated a landmark contract win securing civil and infrastructure work for the £18 million exhibition development at Beamish Museum

Hart Biologicals double celebration at Made in the North East awards

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Hart Biologicals celebrated not one but two major wins at this year’s Made in the North-East awards held by Insider Media.

The company was named Manufacturer of the Year (under £25m) and Exporter of the year on top of also being shortlisted in the Innovation category and the Apprenticeship and training category at the sixth annual ceremony at Redworth Hall in Darlington.

The awards are undertaken each year to ‘recognise and reward the manufacturing talent and skills that the North East has and to give local companies the opportunity to celebrate world-class quality and excellence.’

Hart Biologicals will now be going through to the national finals of the awards in Liverpool next year.

Alby Pattison, Managing Director of Hart Biologicals, said: “We’re incredibly honoured to have won both awards.

“All of the categories on the night were incredibly competitive and all of those shortlisted must be commended on the excellent work they are doing to bring manufacturing to the forefront of this region.

“We were shortlisted in four categories throughout, so to take away the prize for two of those was a brilliant feeling.

“The awards are a huge testament to our staff and the incredibly hard work they do every day. From our placement students and apprentices, to our Senior Management every member of staff should be proud of their contribution.

“We’re looking forward to going through the national final next year and meeting even more excellent businesses from the whole of the UK.”

The two new awards take the grand total of wins up to four awards in 2017 alone, after previously winning both the Innovation Award and Export Award at the Teesside heat of the North-East Business Awards back in April.

J&B Recycling achieves record growth

Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director of J&B Recycling

J&B Recycling has celebrated record financials for the financial year ending March 2017, reporting a turnover of £15.7m. The company also increased its gross profit by 159% to £2.3m and reported an EBITDA of £1.7m, up 87.2% from 2016.

The company has continued its strong growth into the current financial year. As at August 2017 it is now running at a £4m EBITDA run rate, as the results of previous investment into staff, machinery, process optimisation and a range of new significant contracts have begun to contribute.

Over the last year J&B Recycling has been working to dramatically increase its efficiency and most recently recorded an average of 98% of on-time services across the whole of the business during the last six months.

Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director at J&B Recycling, said: “The past 12 months have been both exciting and very successful for J&B Recycling. On top of our best ever recorded financials, we have also successfully implemented and delivered on our two-year programme of development following our initial investment from the Business Growth Fund.”

In 2014 J&B secured £7.5m from BGF in order to help the company expand its operations across the region and increase its processing capacity across the company’s three sites in the North East.

Vikki said: “This financial year sets us up perfectly to move into the next and continue the growth of the company. Over the past few years we have transformed as a business using our investment to ensure we are working at the highest possible quality, environmental and health and safety levels.”

“Significant operational capacity has also been added across our three sites which is now beginning to be fully utilised.”

Vikki concluded: “Key to our business has to be our people and ensuring they are continuing to develop through our business. We have made a number of in-house promotions and also continued adding to our team, employing 30 new members of staff over the last year.”

Over the next financial year J&B Recycling will continue optimising its operations and commencing with its next phase of growth through new development of new installations or acquisitions.

The firm was also awarded its third Corporate Livewire Award earlier this year, taking away the title of ‘UK Recycling Firm of the Year’ for 2018.

Securing the future whilst remembering the past Seymour Civil Engineering helps Stanley remember its war time history

Mick Mair from Seymour Civil Engineering with Adrian Cantle-Jones from Durham County Council, representatives from The Environment Agency, The River Wears Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, and Stanley Town Council, and local residents.

North East Civil Engineering company, Seymour Civil Engineering, has completed work on a town regeneration project that captures the history of its residents.

Due to issues with flooding across the South Moor Terraces in Stanley, Seymour Civil Engineering was called upon to install a sustainable urban drainage system, a natural approach to managing drainage and recycling water.

To do this, rain garden planters were fitted between the pavement, providing homes for five trees, each commemorating one year of fighting in the First World War.

Along with additional foliage, the trees, positioned along the length of Pine Street, act as markers within the Twizell Heritage Trail, a route which tells the story of South Moor’s origins shortly before the First World War and how the miners shaped the community. Each tree will be marked with a World War one battle insignia, remembering the hundreds of miners who lost their lives.

The project was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Durham County Council, Stanley Town Council and The Environment Agency.

Keith Love, Site Manager at Seymour Civil Engineering, said: “As a company, we are really proud to have been a part of a project that has not only contributed to environmental improvement and flood alleviation, but has commemorated Stanley’s heritage.

“Seymour Civil Engineering does everything it can to make sure it builds positive relationships with the communities affected by the projects it undertakes.”

Before starting on the Pine Street project, the Seymour Civil Engineering team attended a meeting with the residents to discuss the up and coming work.

Keith added: “Through the community meeting, we established the importance of avoiding unnecessary road closures and ensuring 24-hour accessibility to the households of vulnerable and elderly residents. Without that meeting, we would have been none the wiser and the project would have likely caused a lot of problems and upset.”

The project also saw Seymour Civil Engineering refurbish the pathways with block paving, designed in the style of old fashioned film reel to commemorate the important role that local cinemas played in war time communications.

During both World Wars, the community surrounding Stanley depended upon the five cinemas in the area for updates from the frontline.

Seymour Civil Engineering is renowned for its commitment to giving back to the communities within which it works and the Pine Street project was no exception.

Keith added: “Seymour Civil Engineering is passionate about going above and beyond to ensure its presence is considered a benefit, and its work is well received.

“Just one example of this is the work we did at the Stanley Community Centre. Mid way through the project we were approached by the centre’s management committee, asking if we could help make the facilities more accessible to the large numbers of elderly residents who use it. We offered to install dropped kerbs around the site, as it was clear that the community centre was an important part of community life, as anything we could do to help out was no trouble.”

“It’s brilliant to know that we’re making a real difference to people’s lives. The adjustments we made to our schedule and the extra work we added, had no effect on the completion of the project, but the positive impact it had on the community was ten-fold.”

Adrian Cantle-Jones, the Durham County Council Project Manager, said: “South Moor residents are delighted with the wonderful improvements to Pine Street and the wider Twizzel Burn and South Moor Heritage Trail. The South Moor Partnership is looking forward to continuing the regeneration of the South Moor Terraces and Twizzel Burn Catchment”.

The Pine Street project is one of a number of community initiatives that Seymour Civil Engineering has completed. Starting this Autumn, the firm has been contracted to carry out the civil and infrastructure work for the Remaking Beamish project, an £18 million development at Beamish museum that will see the addition of more than 30 new exhibits including a 1950’s town.

London needs to provide accessibility to all

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WITH  disabled people and their families spending power, or the ‘purple pound’ standing at £249 billion in 2017, it is vital that London businesses are ensuring their premises are accessible for all.

This year Transport for London announced that 25% of its tube stations are now step-free. With transport now leading the way, Cibes UK Sales and Marketing Director Gary Sullivan is calling on bars and restaurants in the capital to follow suit.

Gary Sullivan, Sales and Marketing Director for Cibes UK said: “London may be making a headway in its transport accessibility but a survey by the charity Scope found that 38% of disabled people feel that attitudes haven’t improved towards them since the London Paralympic games in 2012.

“When you look at the statistics they really do speak for themselves. Attitudes towards those with disabilities haven’t improved, despite the positive legacy the games intended to deliver, and this is apparent when you look at the contrast between the amount of people that use a wheelchair compared to the amount of bars, restaurants, and shops that are actually accessible and step-free.”

London – a city of contrasts

7% of Londoners consider themselves to have a mobility impairment, with 2% using a wheelchair on a permanent or regular basis.

However, a 2014 Government audit showed that 40% of restaurants in the UK don’t have an accessible toilet and 20% of High Street shops were not able to provide access for wheelchair users.

The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people from discrimination and requires that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are made when providing access to premises.

Making the High Street accessible

French eatery Villandry café recently took steps to become more accessible by installing a new Cibes lift in its St James Restaurant. The decadent Edwardian building has private rooms on the first floor and toilets in the basement.

Phillippe Le Roux, Managing Director for Villandry said: “We are committed to providing the most top quality service for all of our guests and each of our restaurants is fully accessible. This is something that is extremely important for us and that we will not compromise on.

“Our previous lift was very old and was breaking down more and more. It was imperative that we replaced our old lift with a new one as soon as possible.

“One of our other lifts had been installed by Cibes and the company’s service was exceptional, from the installation down to the maintenance and aftercare.”

Gary added: “Villandry have a reputation for excellent customer service and wanted a reliable lift that would go above and beyond disability regulations for their diners.”

“The lift was fitted outside of working hours and another lift was used during the works to ensure disabled customers could access the restaurant.”

Gary concluded: “Bars and restaurants shouldn’t fear becoming step-free. Almost every space can become accessible and our Sales Managers who are briefed in health and safety, construction and accessibility legislation, will be able to guide you every step of the way.”

Total Recycling Services is encouraging employees to take a bike.

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Almost a quarter of Total Recycling Services’ staff are now cycling to work thanks to a new employee initiative.

Out of 97 members of staff, 21 are now cycling their way into work each day thanks to the scheme in conjunction with CycleScheme, a cycle to work provider who runs the project in partnership with Total Recycling Services.

The council most recently released its Air Quality Annual Status Report for 2017, which showed that Darlington was way ahead of other areas in the UK with only 3.5% of analysed particulates relating to pollution in the air.

Carol Gee, Finance Director at Total Recycling Services who oversees the program, said: “A few members of the team initially came to us saying they would like to cycle to work and it snowballed from there.

“As a company it means a lot to see the staff taking on our company values and aiding towards continually improving our carbon footprint.

“We are constantly providing a consultancy to businesses about their environmental sustainability and waste management, so we always want to lead by example.”

The government-implemented scheme requires employees to apply to CycleScheme, who send the application back to Total Recycling Services for approval before sending out a coupon worth up to £600 to purchase a bike.

Carol continued: “It’s a great choice for our employees who want to do their part in helping the environment but haven’t got the option to go and pay for a bicycle out right. This way, they pay as little as £6 a week for their bike.”

The company most recently celebrated its ISO14001 audit, which sets out criteria for an environmental management system the company must adhere to, to lower its production of air, water, and land pollutants.

Total Recycling Services is one of the UK’s leading waste management providers, specialising in commercial recycling, hazardous waste recovery and industrial services. Based in Darlington, the recycling company recently set a target to double turnover by 2020.

J&B Recycling announced UK recycling firm of the year

Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director of J&B Recycling

The North East’s largest independent recycling company, J&B Recycling, has been crowned ‘Recycling Firm of the Year’ by the international Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards 2018.

After being awarded the ‘Most Outstanding in Recycling Solutions’ for the previous two years, J&B Recycling has now been recognised and awarded Recycling Firm of the Year, due to its on-going investment and community-based initiatives.

Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director of J&B Recycling, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have been named 2018’s Recycling Firm of the Year by Corporate LiveWire, and it’s fantastic to be officially recognised for our achievements in 2017. Going forward we will continue to live up to our title, by providing the very best waste management service for all of our customers.”

The awards are thoughtfully undertaken to recognise businesses that are transforming their trade, and setting trends in innovation and improvement throughout their respective industries.

Category winners are invited to a glittering awards ceremony in London where they will be recognised for their overall performance and their exceptional customer service.

A spokesperson from the Corporate LiveWire Awards, said: “Throughout 2017 J&B Recycling has really stood out to our readers and our judges. We are delighted to award them Recycling Firm of the Year and look forward to working with the team in 2018.”

Vikki added: “Through strategically planning investment in improving our quality service, technology and staff training we have built on the momentum of our previous award wins to become a leader in the North East recycling industry.”

The awards were judged by an independent panel that use its collective experience across a range of industries to showcase the most outstanding companies in the UK within a variety of sectors.

The 2018 judging panel featured individuals from high profile firms such as Capita, Prelude and Dealmarket.

Tees Valley Mayor joins the region’s Water Babies to support Splashathon

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This summer around 1,000 babies from across the Tees Valley have taken to the water as part of a Splashathon fundraising campaign, organised by Water Babies Tees Valley.
 
The region’s children took to the pool to swim a ‘splashy width’ to raise an incredible £13k, and counting, for Tommy’s Charity, a national charity that funds research into premature births, still births and miscarriages, and provides pregnancy health information to parents.
 
Across the week around 1,000 babies and their parents, wearing their finest pirate outfits, took part across 150 classes.
 
Pamela Hargreaves, Managing Director of Water Babies Tees Valley, said: “It was a fantastic week, we’re over the moon and thrilled to have raised so much money in support of such a fantastic charity. We’ve still got a few more donations to come in too so I’m hoping we’ll be able to hit our £15k target by August.
 
“I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support from our parents and the amazing amount of effort they have all put into making their incredible pirate costumes, from Captain Jack Sparrow to Tinkerbell.”
 
Ben Houchen, the newly elected mayor of the Tees Valley, and wife Rachel came along to Priory Woods School to give their support to the parents and children taking part.
 
He said: “To raise such a huge amount of money is unbelievable but it is also extremely important that children and parents can come along to Water Babies classes and learn how to swim in a safe and secure environment.
 
“I got the chance to see children from only a few months old learn how to hold on to the side should they fall into water accidentally and how to move themselves along a ledge to get themselves to a place of safety. This isn’t just a fun class to take your child to on a morning – this saves lives.
 
“When I was younger I actually had quite a dangerous experience myself in the River Tees, it was before the Tees Barrage was there and we were fishing as a family. As we got up to leave, the ground just went underneath me and I fell into the water.
 
“Luckily my dad was only footsteps ahead and instantly came to my rescue, but to this day it still keeps my mum awake at night. Classes like this are invaluable and essential for all parents.”
 
With the school holidays now in full flow, scores of Tees Valley families will be looking to get out and about with their children.
 
Pamela commented: “With the hot weather children are more likely to want to go swimming, either at local pools or in open water sites. What Water Babies offers parents is peace of mind and the chance to bond with their children while they learn.”
 
Parents interested can find Water Babies in 11 pools across Tees Valley all the way from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton to Yarm, Stokesley and Redcar. They can also enrol in a summer school too.
 
Pamela said: “Every child should be able to swim and having these classes from such an early age, puts children so far ahead and gives them the vital life-saving skills from even just a few months old.
 
“Our youngest ever swimmer was only 10 days old, but the majority of babies start swimming with us at around three months until they are around four. It’s never too early or too late to start.”
 

Weschenfelder to enter German market after dramatic sales increase

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Sausage making specialist Weschenfelder’s has celebrated a 25% increase in online sales this year and has set its sights on the German sausage making market, thanks to Forrest Digital.

In a partnership that spans over 12 years, the digital marketing specialist has led to the the evolution of Weschenfelder’s web presence, undertaken ROI analysis and perfected an online marketing approach, that has helped the company sell to over 15 different countries from its base at Riverside Park in Middlesbrough.

Weschenfelder Direct sell sausage making equipment, casings and seasonings to individuals and businesses who want to make their own sausages.

Tim Weschenfelder, Director of Weschenfelder Direct said: “As our business has grown so has our partnership with Forrest Digital. When we first started working together we were selling around 30% of our products online, this has now dramatically increased to 70%.

“Countries we export to include France, Portugal and Spain with our latest target being king of the sausages, Germany.

“This would never have been within our reach without Forrest Digital, they have helped us build a professionally translated German site, complete with a strategic digital marketing campaign and incorporating data insights from the German market that will stand us in good stead next to our competitors.

“Every country is different and that’s why if you are going to export, you need to find an experienced digital consultant with knowledge of the preferences and behaviour of your target market. I never would have known that German customers are more cautious when paying online and less likely to use credit cards and that small changes like implementing a PayPal or a debit card payment system would give potential customers that extra confidence to shop with us.”

The German ecommerce market is growing rapidly and was worth over 66 billion euros in 2016, an increase of seven billion euros since 2015. Over half of internet users in Germany have bought a product from a foreign country.

Iain Forrest, Managing Director of Forrest Digital, said: “Tim came to us back in 2005 after using another digital marketing company he was not completely happy with.

“As one of our long-term clients Weschenfelder has truly reaped the benefits of a partnership that has seen us working together to build an online presence and content that is market leading. Together we’ve created one of the most trusted sites in this market and Weschenfelder is now a go-to destination for businesses and individuals seeking advice about these types of products.

A long-term relationship like this really enables clients to leverage the working partnership we have with internet-giant Google, which allows us to test and trial new services, keeping them a step ahead of their competitors.

“Achieving success in the German sausage market is ambitious but very achievable as far as we’re concerned. When we were looking at site statistics we noticed already a large number of visitors were from Germany. When we discussed this with Tim, it turns out it was something he’d been thinking about for a while and was keen to develop.

“We use a professional translator for all our German AdWords, SEO and site content, in order that the right colloquial language is used throughout, with none of the bad grammar or comical translation errors that come as part and parcel of automatic translation services and which instantly put a potential customer off.”

Tim concluded: “My grandfather Ludwig Weschenfelder emigrated from Bavaria to Middlesbrough in 1895 to work as a butcher’s apprentice and from there grew Weschenfelder. Hopefully we can now come full circle and start selling our products back to the German market.”

Total Recycling Services makes further progress towards its 2020 Vision

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Waste management firm Total Recycling Services, has celebrated a turnover of £15m, with hopes to increase its employees in the next six months.

Currently collecting over 100,000 tonnes of recyclable waste annually, Total Recycling Services is striving to double turnover to £30m as part of its 2020 vision.

The plan includes the further acquisition of a site, allowing the company to expand on its already successful areas of the business, which includes commercial recycling, hazardous waste recovery and industrial services.

Alex Foreman, Founder and Managing Director at Total Recycling Services said: “Over the past eight years Total Recycling Services has grown from strength to strength, alongside building up a large portfolio of high profile clients in the North East, including Caterpillar, TRW Systems and Aldi.

“The region is currently going through a period of growth and we are delighted to be growing with it. We have already embraced the increase in demand through our newly established industrial cleaning services division, which resulted in the creation of 3 new jobs.

“We believe the current market condition is promising and overall I feel very confident. Looking at it, we feel it’s the right time for an acquisition as the market is strong and robust.“

Total Recycling Services received further support towards achieving their 2020 turnover goals when they received backing from the Business Growth Fund in the form of a £6.7m growth capital investment in August 2015.

Ross Smith, Total Recycling Services Non-Executive Chairman said:

“In a short space of time, Total Recycling Services has developed into a profitable business with solid roots in the North East and I am confident the business will continue to move forward and achieve its ambitious target.

The Business Growth Fund was delighted to provide Total Recycling Services with financial support because of its strong management team and clear plans for the businesses future. The companies ambition and drive is admirable and they set a brilliant example to other SME’s in the region.”

Total Recycling Services currently manages a 30+ strong fleet of vehicles, operates from 2 custom-built sites both within Darlington.