DAVE Stone opens up a YouTube video on his computer.

It shows a Canadian train hurtling through thick snow, not letting a pile up at the side of a level crossing stop it from reaching its destination.

“That shows our attitude here,” says Dave, managing director of Stone Technical Services.

“No matter what obstacles are in your way, you have to find a way to make it work.”

Richard Pavlou, business development manager, has another metaphor to use when describing the work of Stone.

“It is like running a bath – it is easier to cool the water down when it is hot than to try and warm it up when it is cold,” he adds.

But for all the clichés and phrases you can find, there is a seriousness to their message.

The company was founded by brothers Dave and Grahame Stone in 1998, and now has offices in London, Edinburgh and Stockport, near Cheshire, alongside its headquarters in Darlington.

“I left school when I was 16 years old with no qualifications,”

said Dave.

“No one in my family went into further education.

“I went round knocking on doors and giving CVs in – I didn’t know anything about the companies, I just wanted a job.”

The managing director at one firm told him to come in on a Monday morning and see how he got on, and he was there for 18 years.

“Not enough people do that nowadays – I’ve employed people who have knocked on my door,” he said.

“People say they haven’t got the right qualifications and there are ten people applying for one job, but these things aren’t going to come on a plate.”

After those 18 years at Harrison Brothers Steeplejacks, also based in Darlington, he decided it was time for a change.

He said: “I was getting frustrated – even though I loved the job. It was a watershed moment.”

And then came the birth of Stone Technical Services.

“It wasn’t really wellthoughtout – I didn’t have a managerial background. I had no idea about the buying side.

“I sold my sports car and bought a transit van. I had no track record – so I got offered the quirky jobs and I said I’ll do that.”

After three years, Dave started employing, and the company now has about 50 workers.

“Recruitment is ongoing – if we find the right people we will take more people on,” he said.

“The guys working for me are better than I was at that stage and on more money than I was.

“You’ve got to keep the momentum going.

“If I don’t shout loud enough, no one will ever hear. It is very easy to be middle of the road.

You only have to be average to be good these days – we try to be exceptional.

“The world is your oyster then – keep trying to get better and push on.”

Dave’s rather unique way of recruiting staff was emphasised only a few weeks ago.

He said: “I was walking my dog and I bumped into this guy who looked a bit like a hippy.”

The pair got talking and Dave discovered he was looking for work.

He said: “I asked him to call me the next day, and he eventually came in with a portfolio of the work he had done, and six weeks later he is working for us now.”

Stone is made up of five divisions, STS Lightning Protection, STS Restoration, STS Conservation, STS Maintenance and Facilities Management, and finally STS RopeSpec, which opened last year.

The latest of Stone’s divisions launched around the time Britain was deciding whether or not to remain in the EU, and Dave describes Brexit as “the best thing the country has ever done”.

“We have always been the flag bearer and have always got stuck in,” he said.

“This country has always had fantastic innovation and people who want to work.

“All that stuff about migrants taking all the jobs, you don’t hear about that in the NorthEast - it is only in the South.

“For business it was very positive – people are spending more money on infrastructure than they were.

“The purse strings are less restricted than they were.”

While optimistic about what the future holds, Dave describes a very different time during the banking crisis.

“Lots of companies were going bust because they just kept discounting and discounting,”

he said.

“We couldn’t touch those levels but we didn’t want to touch those levels either – doing business that way just isn’t sustainable.

“The banks just imploded, there was absolutely nil investment from them.

“The effects were felt right across, especially small businesses.

“We went to the bank and even after 18 years of working with them, they wouldn’t invest in us - they just tried to sell products that would be detrimental to the business.”

To say Stone has taken on a vast range of projects would be an understatement.

Its list of work includes Westminster Central Hall, York Museums Trust and the Forth Road Bridge, in Scotland, alongside Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road football ground and The Oval and Lords cricket grounds in London.

But out of all their projects, Dave cites work on London’s St Paul’s Cathedral as his favourite.

He said: “I remember we got to the top to do work on the cross and I looked out over London and thought how did I get here?

“It made me remember the time when we started with a little white van. It was an iconic way to put it all in perspective.”

But there is one other cathedral that Dave would like to work on, and this one is an awful lot closer to home.

He said: “I would love to do some work on Durham Cathedral.

“I have never done work there as Dave Stone, so that would be the one place I’d really like to do something with.”

He also hopes his company can be involved in the restoration of the Houses of Parliament.

“We’ve done a lot of the major buildings in London so that would be nice to get involved with,” he added.

Stone increased turnover by £1m to just over £3m in the last 12 months, and hopes to add a further £1m this year.

He said: “If you don’t set targets, you won’t reach them, but you have to keep it sustainable and in control.”

One thing Dave is in control of is his relationship with his brother, which he says has survived the trials and tribulations of running a business together.

“You know where you stand – it was a joint commitment,”

he said.

“We all get frustrated – but we have had a good relationship.”

One thing that does frustrate Dave is the current skills shortage among young people, which he describes as a major problem.

He said: “They want to do things like computer programming and graphic designing.

“Decades went by without infrastructure grants and apprenticeships being taken seriously.

“Kids have to realise there is good money in apprenticeships and working in trade is a career for life.

“There are always going to be people building houses, people fitting bathrooms, people plastering walls and people welding vessels – we have not seen a computer generated building as of yet.

“I want to see young people sending CVs into us – I can’t remember the last time we had any come in.”

And he hopes the youngsters will follow the example he set all those years ago.

He added: “You’ll never know until you try – I know people PROJECT: Queens Park Rangers take on Sunderland in the EFL Cup at Loftus Road earlier this season.

Stone has carried out work on the London ground Picture: PA who are a lot brighter than me who thought about trying it but didn’t get beyond the thought of employing people.

“Don’t worry about falling on your arse – you’ve got to be brave.

“You have to find a way to make it work.”

Stone Technical Services are not only making it work, but making it last long into the future.