Your guide to who’s moving, hiring, investing, teaming up and winning awards this month.
Office moves, expansions and acquisitions
Almond Engineering, Livingston
Livingston-based Almond Engineering has doubled its factory size with additional premises at 3b Fleming Road.
The firm, which provides engineering support to a wide range of sectors using its design and machining capabilities, celebrated its expansion with clients, supporters and partners, as well as a group of school pupils who designed their own racing cars with Almond Engineering’s help.
Managing director Willie Scott said: “We have always invested heavily in training and quality with a keen eye of customer service. This ethos continues to pay dividends fuelling a growing customer base as we buck the national declining trend. I am delighted to be celebrating a doubling of our capacity and the associated jobs in the region that comes with our expansion.”
Chairman Chris Smith said: “Our success is not only attributed to our engineering expertise and the talented people we employ, but the support we get from our partners. This includes Clydesdale Bank, West Lothian Council, Scottish Engineering and our valued clients, who are all here today. While many engineering organisations have focussed on the oil and gas sector, we have a balanced portfolio of clients across a wide range of markets, allowing us to buck the current trend associated with reliance on the oil and gas industry.”
Bryan Buchan, CEO of Scottish Engineering, who opened the new premises by sending the first of the model F1 cars down a 12 metre race track, said: “By doubling the size of their premises, Almond Engineering have demonstrated their success within the manufacturing engineering sector in Scotland. To prosper in these austere times is a real accolade to the vision, expertise and hard work of the company.
“I don’t believe anyone will criticise me if I put the growth down to a resourceful management team, leading a committed and skilled workforce. I am honoured to be asked to officially open these premises and to praise Almond Engineering not only for their engineering abilities but also for the way they have blended into the Livingston community particularly with their sponsorship and support of young engineering talent at Deans Community High School. I look forward to seeing the company continue to thrive and grow within the Scottish engineering sector.”
Throughout Almond Engineering’s history it has enjoyed a long-term relationship with West Lothian Council and, more recently, with Clydesdale Bank which has helped finance the expansion.
Stephen Buchan, head of Clydesdale Bank’s Edinburgh Business and Private Banking Centre, said: “Almond Engineering’s success is a great example of how Clydesdale Bank works in partnership with companies to help bring their growth aspirations to reality. We are proud to be supporting Almond Engineering as it boosts the local economy both through the creation of new jobs, and their focus on engineering excellence.”
Councillor Cathy Muldoon, depute leader of the Council and the second guest to launch a car down the track, added: “West Lothian Council has enjoyed a lengthy relationship with Almond Engineering, indeed earlier this year we were able to support the company’s expansion with a £50,000 grant from the West Lothian Economic Growth Plan (WLEGP).
“We are proud to see them expanding and bringing a great deal to the local economy. Not only do they invest in the latest technology they understand that people are the key to continued business success. They have created jobs in the community but also have an eye on the future supporting engineering in local schools to bridge the future skills gap.”
20/20 Productions – Andrew Botros
Creative communications agency 20/20 Productions has recruited a producer to its Edinburgh office.
The firm, which has recently won a string of awards, has appointed Andrew Botros to the role.
Botros joins the team from Abu Dhabi, where he was senior producer for Endemol and Abu Dhabi Sports, as well as freelance creative producer for twofour54.
His broadcasting career spans more than 15 years, having worked for ITN, CNN and Eurosport, as well as in creative production for corporate films and commercials.
His new role as producer at 20/20 will include managing events and video production for a number of the agency’s high-profile clients.
Botros said: “I am joining the 20/20 Productions team at an exciting time, as they celebrate 25 years in business and the opening of their Dubai office. Having worked in the Middle East for many years, I feel I can bring specialist inside knowledge to the table.”
20/20 Productions has also expanded its San Francisco base by welcoming another new recruit – Alexandria Ruiz from California, who joins the team as production & marketing assistant.
Managing director Alastair Scott said: “The fact that we’re still expanding, even in our 25th year in business, is a great position to be in. We are delighted to welcome both Andrew and Alex to the 20/20 family, both of whom bring a wealth of experience and passion to our company.”
Scottish Business Resilience Centre – Ronnie Megaughin
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has appointed a Scottish Police chief, who has previously worked with the Italian Anti-Mafia Directorate, as its new deputy director.
The organisation has recruited chief inspector Ronnie Megaughin, who is a leading figure in the battle against serious organised crime, as part of a two-year secondment.
Megaughin, who was formerly head of intervention at the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), has already worked closely with the SBRC’s predecessor, the Scottish Business Crime Centre.
He said: “I am extremely excited and proud to be joining the SBRC in the role of deputy director.
“I have a long association with the SBRC and have seen it develop into the unique organisation it is today. I believe passionately in its vision of creating a secure Scotland for business and look forward to delivering on the aspirations of all our stakeholders.
“In recent years the SBRC has been able to adapt to the evolving threats to Scottish businesses and provide excellent services to members.
“I believe further partnership work with businesses, communities and the public sector are key, with the SBRC’s position between the public and private sector extremely important as we all look to tackle the same complex threats.”
During his role with the SCDEA, Megaughin worked closely with Dutch Government officials looking at their processes for tackling organised crime through Regulation and Information Exchange. He also worked with Italy’s National Anti-Mafia Directorate, to understand their approach and develop home based systems to tackle entrenched organised crime within the private sector.
Inspired by the Italian anti-mafia certification for businesses and similar Dutch legislation, Megaughin and the SCDEA led a high-profile campaign to tighten procurement laws to prevent public money from boosting organised crime.
Megaughin has been involved in a number of prestigious postings, being the first Scottish Police Officer to be invited to join the UK Steering Group for the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department in London as well as a member of the Better Governance Forum for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.
SBRC director Mandy Haeburn-Little said: “We are delighted to welcome Ronnie to the SBRC and believe he is the perfect fit for the role.
“He was awarded the role due to his extensive and diverse experience tackling fraud and corporate criminal activity. His learnings of methods to tackle wholesale organised crime and corruption will be extremely beneficial, as will his experience working alongside the insurance sector developing fraud prevention measures.
“I look forward to working with Ronnie to help create a secure Scotland for businesses of all sizes to prosper.”
Megaughin will temporarily leave his role as a West Lothian-based chief inspector with Police Scotland, joining the SBRC to help deliver its services and encourage increased partnership with the Scottish business community.
Bank of Scotland – Derek Smith and Karl Lejman
Bank of Scotland says it has strengthened its business development offering with the appointments of Derek Smith and Karl Lejman to support SME Banking.
It has recruited Smith as a healthcare business consultant for Scotland and Lejman as business development manager for the east of Scotland.
Each will play a leading role in developing strategic and innovative solutions to drive business growth and improve the customer offering, according to the bank.
Having previously worked for Clydesdale and Barlays Commercial banks, Smith has more than 26 years’ experience in SME funding across a range of sectors, such retail, technology and manufacturing.
He also has particular expertise in the healthcare sector, promoting growth for care home, dentistry and pharmaceutical customers.
Lejman, who is formerly of HSBC, has more than 12 years’ experience in commercial banking, having developed a strong portfolio of general trade customers.
He has extensive skills in managing and promoting business development, as well as delivering professional relationship management services to existing and prospective customers across the east of Scotland.
Donna Kerr-Roscoe, head of SME Business Development for Scotland, Bank of Scotland, said: “The arrival of Derek and Karl bolsters our offering across the Scottish healthcare sector and the east of Scotland as a whole at a time when we’re focused on increasing our lending to businesses across the country.
“Their extensive skills and expertise will prove vital as we continue to develop our services to support the ever-evolving needs of existing and prospective customers, strengthening our offering and demonstrating our commitment to supporting business growth and helping Scotland prosper.”
Citypress Scotland – Joe Walton and Ross Stebbing
Edinburgh-based PR agency Citypress says it’s celebrating three years in Scotland with the appointment of two new recruits after a number of new client wins and a period of sustained growth.
It has hired Joe Walton – a former secretary of the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Scotland committee who joins Citypress from the Scottish Government, where he managed the Culture, Europe and External Affairs portfolio for the communications department – as senior account manager and Ross Stebbing, formerly of the Holyrood Partnership, as account executive.
Walton previously led campaigns to promote Scotland’s international development programme and reputation overseas, and supported the health and sport, equalities and Commonwealth Games portfolios.
Stebbing was crowned CIPR Scotland’s Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year.
The Citypress Edinburgh team is now seven strong and has won six awards over the last 18 months.
It works with some of Scotland’s leading organisations and top brands, including Bank of Scotland, Scottish Gas, Coca-Cola and Seafish.
Beth Nicol, head of Citypress Scotland, said: “These appointments come at an exciting time for our award-winning Edinburgh team. Having recently moved to new offices in the heart of Edinburgh’s west end, we have added more leading brands to our client portfolio including Coca-Cola Great Britain, British Land and Scottish Investment Trust.
“The secret of our success and growth is based on how well we nurture and invest in our people. We have a culture which encourages entrepreneurialism, experimentation and innovation, which leads to great client work and new opportunities.”
Graham + Sibbald – Terry McFarlane
Chartered surveying firm Graham + Sibbald has added to its existing agency team with the appointment of national retail specialist Terry McFarlane.
McFarlane, who formerly ran his own niche property firm, McFarlane and Co, has been brought on board to develop the national retail business.
He will take up the national position of working across Graham + Sibbald’s network of 14 offices.
He said: “I am delighted to be joining Graham + Sibbald at this important time in the retail market and feel that the firm is well placed to take advantage of the significant opportunities that exist for future growth in the retail sector. We have seen a period of stability over the past year or so following the independence referendum and national elections. There are a number of market indicators, including a fall in the number of high street retail vacancies, that show opportunities exist for both landlords and retailers to build upon this and move forward with a degree of confidence into the new year.
“There is, however, a note of caution to be sounded. Household debt remains very high and should the Bank of England raise base rates in the short-medium term then this could present a significant problem to many households, with the resultant impact this would undoubtedly have on retail spend. In addition, a prolonged period of bad weather over this winter could compound the recent poor retail sales figures release by the Scottish Retail Consortium. What this shows is that there is no room for complacency going forward into the new year with the economy still in a fragile state, however there are opportunities that exist for growth and G+S will be working hard to take advantage of these.”
Morton Fraser – Scottish Government property law services
Edinburgh-based law firm Morton Fraser has been re-appointed by the Scottish Government to provide its general property law services.
It’s the firm’s second Scottish Government expanded Legal Services Framework appointment this year after it also won the bid to provide debt recovery services.
This new contract, which has an annual worth of between £150k and £200k, will see Morton Fraser’s public sector team provide a range of general property law services for the next two years initially.
Amy Entwistle, public sector property partner, said: “For the Scottish Government to place its trust in us again following a competitive tender process is a great achievement for our team.
“With recent and up-coming changes, such as Land Reform and Community Empowerment legislation and the devolution of the Crown Estate, it is an interesting time to be working with Scottish Ministers and we look forward to embracing the challenge.”
Maggie Moodie, partner and public sector lead at Morton Fraser, added: “The relationship we have with the Scottish Government is hugely important to us. We are thrilled to continue working with them on two new contracts from the expanded Legal Services Framework. We’re committed to offering clients clear advice with measurable added value and this success reaffirms our continued recognition of how important it is for public sector organisations to obtain the best value when outsourcing legal services.”
Scott-Moncrieff – Scottish Borders Housing Association internal audit support
Business advisory and accountancy firm Scott Moncrieff has won a competitive tender to deliver internal audit support to the Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA).
The successful bid comes on the back of other recent client wins which have included Key Housing Group and Waverley Housing Association.
Jennifer Alexander, audit director at Scott-Moncrieff said: “This win really underlines our dominance in the housing association sector, with clients from the Hebrides right down to the Borders. With so much going on in the sector, we are looking forward to working alongside SBHA to add value, support good practice to the benefit of their tenants. The win also complements other work we do in the Borders, with housing associations and major public bodies, such as NHS Borders.”
CALA Homes – Large Business of the Year
Housebuilder CALA Homes has been crowned Scotland’s Large Business of the Year at the Scottish Business Awards.
The group was honoured at a star-studded ceremony, whose guests included actor George Clooney, at the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre) earlier this month.
The company, whose national headquarters are in Edinburgh, recently delivered record annual results, seeing pre-tax profits almost double to £50.9 million and setting a target to achieve revenues of £1 billion within the next five years.
Chief executive Alan Brown said: “It was a privilege to collect this award on behalf of the entire team at CALA. Everyone has worked incredibly hard to get CALA to this very strong position.
“It’s also pleasing to earn this particular award because it cements CALA’s place at the forefront of Scotland’s major business names.
“It was a proud moment to get this recognition in front of such an impressive gathering of business figures, as part of Scotland’s most talked about business awards right here in the city where CALA Homes is based.
“High praise is due to the award organisers. This event is not only a celebration and showcase for the strength of Scottish business, it was also a fantastic fundraiser for some very worthy causes – another great reason to be involved.”
Blackwood – Best Practice in Developing Tenant Scrutiny
Edinburgh-based care and housing specialist Blackwood has been honoured for having the Best Practice in Developing Tenant Scrutiny at the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland Awards.
John Landon, chair of Team Blackwood East, said: “It was a proud moment when Team Blackwood was announced as the winner, especially as this category had the most nominations.
“We’re passionate about hearing from our tenants and reacting to that input, therefore this award is truly coveted and it’s fantastic to gain this kind of recognition – especially in front of our national peer group.
“We know that to provide top quality care and housing, it’s important to listen to all our tenant’s views so that we can improve our service on a daily basis. At Blackwood, we strive to do this constantly.”