It’s been nearly six months since Tom Murdoch stepped into the role of Managing Director at Aberdeenshire-headquartered Brimmond.
It’s a job he landed much earlier than expected but one he’s embracing with the company, which was founded by his father, on track to record its highest ever turnover and in the midst a recruitment drive.
The business, a provider of hydraulic, lifting and mechanical equipment and services, is also looking to embark on a three-year strategy to diversify into new markets including marine, aquaculture and renewables.
Rebrand and restructure
Earlier this year Mr Murdoch was at the forefront of a restructure which saw “group” dropped from its from its title to be known as only Brimmond and it absorbed sister company Rigrun Europe.
It was then he was also handed the reins and became majority shareholder of the business which was started by his late father Alistair in 1996.
The board has also been strengthened with the appointment of qualified engineer Nigel Jenkins who specialises in business improvement and growth and joins as a non-executive director.
Speaking about his experiences nearly six months into his role as Managing Director Mr Murdoch said:
“I spent seven years at university training to be an engineer and none of that was teaching me to be a company Director of any sort. Nigel is not only a valuable addition to the Brimmond team and integral to our continued growth, he is also a mentor to myself as I get to grips with the new role and everything it encompasses.
“Before my Dad passed away it was always the plan to come back to Brimmond in the future.
“It hadn’t planned to be that soon but he got ill and passed very quickly.”
Following graduation of his second degree - an MSc from Aberdeen University - he had envisaged spending several years out in industry – he’d landed a job at Subsea 7 – before returning to the family business.
“I completed my graduate scheme and then came back to Brimmond in 2016,” he said.
“It’s been a really busy time but I’m enjoying it all.”
The rebranding and restructure followed a prosperous year for the engineering company, which announced new contracts spanning the renewables, subsea and production sectors.
Last year also saw the Kintore-based company record its highest ever turnover at £6 million.
Mr Murdoch said: “We have had three consecutive years of increasing turnover.
“This year will be the highest again. At this point we are forecasting around 10% higher.
“Looking towards the end of March for next financial year we have this unbelievable pipeline of projects that we are very close to securing.
“It’s looking as though next year is going to be another busy year which is why we are going through the recruitment drive to expand the team.”
Brimmond currently employs 33 full-time staff and is looking to recruit another six including three engineering roles, business administrator and workshop apprentice.
Mr Murdoch said: “We want to grow the team and retain existing staff.”
“Staff turnover was 3% last year which is really low and many members of the team have been here for 10 plus years.
“Last year we took on two apprentices and it’s our plan to have a rolling apprenticeship scheme in the future.”
Oil and gas back to top of the list
Part of the company strategy will see Brimmond look to move into new markets but Mr Murdoch is well aware of the importance oil and gas will continue to play.
He said: “Undoubtedly oil and gas would be the primary source of income. This year I’d estimate it to be 60-70% of the work we are doing and we’ve done a lot out with oil and gas.
“We want to grow our core business, energy and oil and gas. We are not about to turn our back on that with everything that’s happened.
“We spent last year developing an in-depth plan to help us do less work in oil and gas and now oil and gas doing really well again. But we want to diversify into adjacent sectors that compliment what we do.”
“Our key target sector will be Aquaculture. I can’t say exactly what we are doing just yet but we’ve got some really exciting products currently in development for that area. It’ll be early next year before we can say anything about that.”
Renewables are ‘key’
In March, Brimmond received funding as part of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Fit For Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme.
It is aimed at supporting companies prepare to bid for incoming renewables and energy transition opportunities.
Mr Murdoch said: “It’s key. Absolute key. The Fit for Offshore Renewables is a very intensive programme.”
“I definitely see it as being the future and don’t think in 30 years time we’ll be building diesel power packs for oil and gas - so we have to concentrate on how we will diversify.
“Offshore renewables is one of our main ones. But unlike other companies in Aberdeen it’s not our first to diversify in to. We already do a lot of work in marine and aquaculture. Offshore renewables will follow closely behind it.”
Looking to the future Mr Murdoch, who works alongside operations director Stewart Findlay and technical director Alan Glennie, said the company will continue to invest.
This includes expanding its purpose-built facility in Midmill Business Park in Kintore.