Laying the foundation for 40 successful years in business

The engineering and construction industries are no doubt one of the most challenging and economically volatile sectors in the UK. Whether that’s in plugging the skills-gap, forward-planning in-line of government measures or guaranteeing regular work and future contacts. 

 This year, industry stalwart Seymour Civil Engineering celebrates its 40th anniversary and its journey from a local provider to a national award-winning contractor. To find out what has led to the company’s milestone achievement, Managing Director Kevin Byrne outlines the growth of the organisation and its legacy. 

 I am incredibly proud of the business’ evolution and its achievements since its humble beginnings back in 1978. I could never have imagined back when I joined the business, the projects, contracts, opportunities and dedicated internal team that we have created. 

 As a company, there are a number of values that we stick by and the first has to be our people. Our clients, suppliers and industry partners come into contact with our teams daily and therefore employee happiness and well-being at work is a top priority, as well as their continual development and growth within the business. 

 We firmly believe in home grown talent and currently we’re supporting 13% of our workforce through higher education, we have a thriving trainee and apprenticeship scheme which supports young engineers in to the industry, and the CPD and upskilling of all employees is considered a priority not a luxury. 

 However, our people would have nothing to do if it wasn’t for our second value, making sure we’re in demand by being the contractor of choice. We have team members dedicated to ensuring we are versatile and fitting to what our clients are looking for. The phrase ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’ may sound cliché but it’s vital as a contractor to make sure we are continually developing, adding to our services (if it’s a viable and in demand business option), adjusting to market fluctuations and being open to taking on a multitude of projects. 

 From flood alleviation, to urban regeneration, historic restoration and transport infrastructure, Seymour Civil Engineering has done it all, working on large scale projects such as ‘Remaking Beamish’ at Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham, providing the civil and infrastructure work for the £18million expansion, and the A19/A1058 improvement scheme in North Tyneside, undertaking the highway drainage and combined kerb drainage as part of the £75m junction upgrade. 

 Take the industry 4.0 and digital revolution, we’re now using digital to our advantage to improve in-house and on-site operations and improve clients and industry partners experience when working with us. Most recently we’ve developed from scratch an online portal to manage employee training and project staffing which can be easily accessed from a phone or tablets. 40 years ago, there was no internet, so it is important to constantly embrace new technologies.   

 Repeat business and partnerships are crucial to us and therefore our work must have a proven high quality. In the last 12 months alone we’ve been awarded the Investment in Training Award at the Hartlepool Business Awards, and at the Constructing Excellence Awards, alongside receiving highly commended in the People Development category, we won the Health, Safety and Well-being Award. 

 Internal processes are also streamlined, our clients have single points of contact and as a self-delivering company, we ensure there is a short chain of command to the top. If there is a problem, it’s dealt with efficiently, confidently and whilst communicating with all parties involved. We want Seymour to be a brand of quality that clients are confident to work with again and again. 

 Last but never least is giving back. As a company, how can we expect to be successful if we don’t help those around us? As I mentioned earlier home-grown talent is very important to us so we support local educational schemes, appoint STEM ambassadors, regularly engage with schools and colleges, and attend industry taster events to educate young people on the benefits of a career in engineering. This year we were awarded the ICE’s Mike Gardiner Cup for commitment to the institute’s education programme, working to inspire the engineers of the future. 

 As exciting as the next few months will be for the Seymour, celebrating this incredible business milestone, my blueprint remains the same. Standing still is not an option for us and even though it is unlikely that I will still be with the company 40 years from now, everything I do is to ensure that Seymour is in it for the long game.