A construction firm is on course to hit the £20m turnover mark – just four years after it was left facing an uncertain future.
Hartlepool-based Gus Robinson Developments Ltd posted a turnover of just £5m in the 2011/12 financial year, after the firm’s figurehead Gus Robinson tragically died suddenly in November 2011.
Gus’s US-based son Dan not only had to fly home and face the grief of dealing with his father’s death, he also had to make tough decisions after stepping into the breach in a bid to stop the business from going under.
Only three years later, having submitted his latest figures at the end of 2014, Dan is anticipating a turnover figure of £20m.
Dan said: “When Dad died, I remember being on the plane on the way back from America wondering how I was going to lead the team through some very difficult times. I arrived back into the UK the following morning and immediately got to work on the transformation that same day.
“It was tough. When I looked at the business, we were poorly positioned to face the global financial crisis and the inevitable impact on the construction industry. When everything collapsed, we suffered badly.
“The whole business needed restructuring and strategically, we needed to reposition the company. I looked very carefully at the various ways in which the government was managing the country’s economic recovery and my judgement was that what they were doing was painful but sensible, that a strong recovery would come, and that house building would lead the way.
“If I’m honest, it was an educated gamble. I got the whole company together, I was very honest with them and I told them that there would be some difficult decisions to make but that I was prepared to make them. In the short term, we had to sacrifice together, collectively as a team.
“In the wake of losing dad and inheriting a business that was in such bad shape, I needed to act with decisive leadership to keep the team together during that period.
“Numerous changes were made to the firm including some very painful decisions but at the same time, we had reposition and win work. Things started to change for the firm thanks to a £1.7m contract which saw a redevelopment at Monmouth Grove in the Throston area of Hartlepool.
“That got £1.7m back into the cash flow, and off the back of that we won the contract for Crown House which was another £2.2m contract and a huge boost for us.
“That was a strategically important project for us but we delivered an exceptionally successful scheme within a very tight timeline.”
More recently, a key factor behind the firm’s rapid growth came with the appointment of Steve Bell as Land and Development Director towards the end of 2013.
With more than 20 years of experience in the construction sector, Steve’s knowledge of the market coupled with Dan’s leadership and business acumen, has made them a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
Dan added: “We complement each other exceptionally well, and the fact we are talking about a £20m turnover is testament to how well we work together.
“Our overall philosophy is to always place an emphasis on the long-term value rather than any short-term gain.
“I hope Dad would be proud.”