With a multi-million-pound turnover and a client list that boasts some of Teesside’s biggest industrial players, you might think the team at Doornbos would want to rest on their laurels. But think again.
For one thing, the Billingham-based firm does, and does well, is continually drive forward to stay ahead of the markets it serves.
If you haven’t yet come across the name, you’ll be in for a surprise when you realise its reach from a base on Billingham’s Cowpen Lane Industrial Estate.
Dutch-owned, the UK arm is celebrating 20 years serving clients in industries all over the country – and further afield.
Led by UK depot manager and Normanby lad Steve Buxton, Doornbos specialises in the rental and sales of high-pressure water jetting and vacuum equipment, servicing and repair and product and safety training.
24/7 expert advice is guaranteed and comes with pride in the job that allows clients like industrial plant building company Altrad and waste services firm Veolia to get on with their jobs safely, efficiently and quickly.
The company is on the threshold of expansion and has launched into 2020 by investing £4m in new equipment, taking on three new apprentices and signing a contract to become the UK and Ireland dealer for WOMA, a German firm which specialises in manufacturing ultra-high pressure water jetting equipment.
Doornbos is a fourth-generation and family-owned business, which started out as a fruit and veg haulier in Holland more than 80 years ago. They then branched out into transporting access machinery – equipment such as forklifts and cherry pickers – before opening a branch in the UK and moving into water jetting and vacuum equipment.
Teesside’s industrial heritage brought the Doornbos brand to the North-East where Steve was approached to build and run the UK business.
“We’ve moved from a cabin at Dawson’s Wharf to Portrack and came here to Cowpen Lane Industrial Estate seven years ago – we’ve outgrown everywhere we have been. Our next step is to move again and purposebuild a depot to serve the business,” says Steve.
The company is home to 18 staff including specialist engineers, an admin team and apprentices. Primarily rental, Doornbos provides all manner of equipment to clients – many of whom work on shutdown and maintenance projects at large-scale industrial plants.
“Around 80% of our work is industrial, supplying the machines for shutdown periods at the likes of SABIC and Suez plants,” explains Steve.
“We have a lot of equipment and there’s always new kit coming through which people expect us to have. No day is the same – one of the strengths of our business is that we can turn things around quickly, safely and efficiently for clients.”
The next step, he says, is a likely branch into access machines and plans are also in the pipeline to open a base in the London area.
Big-hearted, the Teesside company also prides itself on its local roots – giving back to local charities such as Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice and the Great North Air Ambulance. They have also proudly sponsored Guisborough Rugby Club under-nines team this year. Employing local apprentices has also been key.
“One of the things we are most proud of is giving local people opportunities and jobs, and people tend to stay with us,” adds Steve.
“You can’t send someone to college to learn what we do, so we teach them ourselves. We’re all local and we always try to put something back. We work hard and pride ourselves on doing a good job.”