A North-East engineering firm celebrates 30 years in the business by looking back on its growth from a small fabrication company to a thriving business spanning 7 companies and 3 sites able to survive the oil and gas crisis.
Renown Group started its journey back in 1986 when Messrs Rennie and Brown combined their names to create Renown Engineering. They fabricated high-strength armoured steel products to support the manufacture of vehicles for the defence industry.
The current owners took over the business in 2005, when the founders of Renown retired. This change of ownership heralded a new phase of growth for the business. Renown Group expanded to a 37,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Cramlington. Shortly after, there was also an addition of two more companies and two more sites — Renown Oil and Gas, based in Washington and PJ Engineering Products, which specialises in offshore and marine engineering in South Shields. These three companies form the basis of Renown Group.
Over the years, Renown Group has experienced significant growth and diversification. They now consist of 7 trading divisions over 3 manufacturing sites, employing over 130 people and has an annual turnover of £12m.
John Hamilton, Renown Group’s Managing Director, has said: “Not only has increasing the company’s capabilities, skills, accreditations and facilities improved the overall services we’re able to offer to our customers, but it allows the Group to adapt to the ever-changing market and withstand economic and industry changes. For example, after the recent plunge in oil and gas we have been able to focus our efforts on the increasing defence and security market.’
These efforts have not gone unrecognised, with the Group recently receiving a Supplier Recognition Award from prestigious global aerospace and defence company, Lockheed Martin, for work they did on a project for the Ministry of Defence. They were commended for their excellent communication skills and work ethic.
For their 30-year anniversary, Renown Group are celebrating their longest-serving employees - some of whom have been with the company for 27 years - as well as the apprentices and graduates who have moved throughout the company in various roles. Renown Group has continued to invest in apprenticeship training and maintains a constant level of approximately 10 apprentices. In pursuit of a growth strategy, the Group has also partnered with Northumbria University, which has led to three Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. This collaboration involves a student working at Renown, which will help further their own studies, research and career prospects, but also help Renown to innovate and grow. Our current KTP, Lydia Chan, started at Renown in March 2015 and is seeking to optimise the production of offshore subsea components.
And for the next 30 years? Despite the recent Oil and Gas downturn, Renown has a significant breadth of capability and is enjoying an upturn in the Defence and Infrastructure sectors. They have also been fortunate enough to have had an increase in export, and have been trading and operating around the world in territories such as Western Europe, North America and the Middle East. One of their divisions, Pensher Skytech, has also branched out into the healthcare industry with its development of anti-ligature products for NHS mental health environments. The Group is continuously looking for ways to invest in people, skills, training and capabilities so that they can look forward to another 30 successful years.