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Bryan Bunn, managing director of Nortech Group, of Wynyard, near Stockton
11:07am Monday 17th December 2012 in Business: Meet The Boss
BRYAN BUNN thought that his career was on a firm footing when he secured a coveted mechanical apprenticeship at ICI Billingham.
It soon hit the buffers when he was one of 102 apprentices laid off by the chemicals company as recession bit in 1982.
It was an unprecedented move by a firm that had been regarded as an employer for life for generations of North-East workers.
Bryan used the time out of work to hone his design skills at college – a move that laid the foundations for his career in engineering.
After a career in engineering that saw him gain experience in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical, nuclear, iron and steel sectors, he took the bold step in April last year of setting up his own company – Nortech Group.
Based at Wynyard, near Stockton, it serves the offshore and onshore oil and gas sectors as well as the chemical process and steel industries.
“The business has already exceeded our initial threeyear plan,” he says.
“I am a born optimist but even I have to admit that our success has taken me aback somewhat. It’s always a risk stepping out of the corporate world but I didn’t want to live my life thinking – what if?
“I’m very passionate and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I love being my own boss because I can get on with things in the way I think they should be done without the political influence you get being employed by a big organisation.”
The firm has rapidly gained credibility in a sector that relies heavily on reputation.
“Being the new kids on the block meant that people had to take a chance with us,” adds Bryan. “Getting a few wins on the board early on bred confidence both within the business and with potential clients.
“We hit the ground running with a contract from Jersey Gas Company Limited, which still has six months to run. On the back of that deal we went from six to about 20 staff.”
A multi-million pound contract from EnQuest took Nortech to another level and saw another 40 people join the firm.
The company now employs 68 and Bryan reckons he has worked with about 55 of them throughout his career.
“They have bought into the vision and taken a leap of faith. With such a young company you are asking people to take a chance, but with that comes a great opportunity to do something exciting and hopefully to have fun in the process.”
Many of the team are North-Easterners who have been keen to resettle in the region after working overseas or making the weekly trek to offshore jobs in Aberdeen.
“Our region is a well-kept secret. I’ve travelled extensively overseas for work and on almost every occasion you find that the people making the job tick hail from the North-East. Our people are one of this region’s greatest exports and our engineering skills help to power companies all over the world.”
Nortech plans to expand its client base in the upstream oil and gas sector and will take more office space in the new year that can accommodate an additional 40 staff. The company is also supporting five of its junior staff through courses at Teesside University.
“We have a great platform to take things into 2013,” says Bryan.
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