Consultancy Engineers Growth from Within

One of the region’s most respected civil and structural engineering design consultancies, has announced the appointment of two new shareholders as it strengthens its team for future growth and succession.

Gateshead-based Portland Consulting Engineers (Portland) is both planning for the future and rewarding staff for hard work by offering a shareholding to two members of staff – Mark Quigley and Stephen Hunter. 

At the same time, Jonathan Eeles, a chartered structural engineer, who joined Portland in 2017, has been promoted to associate from senior engineer.

These operational changes come at a time when the consultancy is expecting to break the £1.5m turnover mark, based on the first six months’ trading of this financial year.  Portland’s forward order book is also healthy with a raft of new instructions. 

These include work on a £2m facelift for Metropolitan House Hotel on behalf of The High Street Group at 19-21 Collingwood Street in Newcastle city centre.  The boutique hotel, built over four floors with 13 individually themed bedrooms, will benefit from a 1920s themed restaurant and rooftop terrace – The Boardwalk Brasserie.

Portland is also working on two further hotel developments for The High Street Group at Thinford and Washington with leisure sector work currently accounting for ten per cent of turnover. 

In terms of recently completed projects, Portland have successfully delivered the design of the 3.3 acre state-of-the-art dealership and maintenance facility in Team Valley for MAN Truck & Bus Ltd, with UK Land Estates. This has led to a further commission for the redevelopment of the Stockton dealership.

Whist working across a diverse sector base, which encompasses retail, education, industrial and manufacturing, dealerships, extra care and supported living, it is the development of private and social housing which continues to add pace to Portland’s success.

Commenting on the recent changes and what they mean for Portland, managing director and major shareholder, Lee Barr, said: 

“I am very pleased with our current trading position and incredibly proud of Mark, Stephen and Jonathan’s  impressive work ethic and commitment to the company.  As well as having a strong team in place to drive the business forward in the future, I also think it right to recognise the contribution to our current success that they have made, each playing a key role and more than earning their promotions.

“Portland prides itself on being a close-knit team and this is one of our great strengths, helping us to secure repeat business and deliver proactive project support.  As we continue to grow the business and respond to client demands, we will not lose the focus of Portland’s professional family ethic.”

The three new appointees will each be expected to take on more responsibility in the future.  New shareholder Stephen Hunter commenced work at Portland in 2014 as a senior civil engineer but it is Mark Quigley who has perhaps made the biggest leap to the top, joining Portland as an apprentice in 2004 when the firm was first established.  He has seen the consultancy thrive despite significant challenges throughout the recession and is absolutely bowled over by being offered a stake in the business.  He said:  “When I joined as an apprentice I never expected to become a shareholder, but it reflects the sort of leadership, support and encouragement that I have experienced from day one that I now find myself in this fortunate position.  I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to help shape the fortunes of the company going forward.