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MEMBER’S PRESS RELEASE: Plandescil Ltd Consulting Engineers Attleborough becomes Employee Owned

Plandescil Ltd Consulting Engineers – Planning for the next generation

Launched in 1979 and still showing strong signs of growth, the Directors at Plandescil have taken steps to ensure the company continues and remains in safe hands for many years to come.

Utilising the “John Lewis” business model of an employee owned company, the existing shareholders Julian, Sara and Simon Riley have created a trust, for the benefit of all the employees, which now owns the shares in Plandescil Ltd.

This type of succession planning works well as the current directors will, in the years ahead, look to pass over responsibility for the day to day running of the company to trusted staff, whilst managing through their exit from the business.

Plandescil currently employs 38 staff from its offices in Attleborough, the majority of which have been with the business for many years and through the internal culture this has created an extended successful family business unit.

Profit has never been the sole aim of the company. Success has come through customer relationship management and nurturing staff. It is hoped that the new structure will enable the company to progress along similar lines to the past, slowly growing, maintaining customer relationships with honesty and integrity, whilst providing interesting and challenging work to employees in a family environment.

Ownership of the company has now moved to the employees with all the shares held in trust and for the benefit of the staff. This is a modern business model built along the lines of John Lewis. Plandescil Ltd joins other more famous large consulting engineers such as Arup and Mott McDonald which are both employee owned companies. Such structures are encouraged by the government with tax incentives allowing employees to be paid tax free bonuses.

Deb Oxley, CEO Employee Ownership Association, said:

We would like to congratulate Plandescil on their transition to being an employee owned business. This is a perfect example of succession planning where a company has empowered its staff by giving them a real stake in the business and in doing so securing the future of the company, the clients, the products and its brand. Employee ownership recognises that the foundations of success are rooted in people and our research shows that companies in this sector have better staff engagement and increased productivity, innovation and resilience.

Plandescil are lucky to have a loyal workforce with many working their way up from junior positions.  The company has always had a strong emphasis on training young people and long before the governments push to encourage apprenticeships, as seen in recent years.   

Several of the staff have progressed through an education in civil engineering through HNCs to Masters Degrees and on to professional recognition including Incorporated and Chartered Status. Currently there are seven staff undertaking apprenticeship courses and others studying for higher level qualifications.

As part of Plandescil’s succession planning six new directors have been appointed.

Carl Jenkins started at Plandescil after his A levels and has been with the company for 25 years. He is a Chartered Civil Engineering Surveyor (ICES) and a Member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Carl has become our Director responsible for Surveying.

Matthew Hare also joined Plandescil after taking his A levels and went on to study for a HND followed by a degree, and is now an Incorporated Engineer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and EngTech member of the ICE. Matt specialises in Drainage and Infrastructure design and will become the Director responsible for this aspect of this type of work.

Ashley Briggs was taken on to work his gap year at Plandescil and after taking his A levels before going to Loughborough University to study Civil Engineering.  He spent every university holiday with Plandescil determined to establish his career at Plandescil post studying. Ashley graduated with a first class Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering. Ashley will be the Director responsible for the Structural Engineering in the office.

Oliver Jones, at 28, is the youngest of the new Directors. Again Oliver started at the company after his A levels and worked whilst studying for an HND and then a degree. As well as EngTech ICE he is now an Incorporated Engineer Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET). Oliver specialises in managing large projects especially in the renewable energy sector and is an expert in anaerobic digestion plants. Oliver is to take the role of Director responsible for Projects.

Sally Hare joined Plandescil after studying Environmental Earth Sciences at the UEA. Sally heads up the Environmental Team undertaking Flood Risk Assessments, Contaminated Land Assessments, Coordinating Environmental Impact Assessment and all things related to environmental and water engineering. Sally is a Chartered Scientist, Member of the Institution of Environmental Scientists (MIEnvSc), and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). Sally becomes the Director in charge of Environmental matters.

Richard Simmons joined Plandescil after two years’ post graduate experience with another firm of consulting engineers. Richard has become the Civil Engineering Director working on large and small scale Civil Engineering projects.

Julian and Simon Riley will continue as Senior Directors of Plandescil whilst gradually taking time out to pursue other interests. Sara Riley will also continue in her role as Finance Director for the foreseeable future. Roderic Riley, the founder, has stepped down from his role as a Director.

The new set up has already seen changes with the introduction of a refreshed company logo. The new brand look was created within the new team and signed off in agreement across the total management team. A new website will follow shortly.

Three directors have been appointed to the board of Trustees, Sally Hare, Nigel Gates and Andrew Harrison with an election to be held in due course to appoint an employee representative.

Sara Riley, Senior Director, commented:

We are delighted that with the Senior Directors’ help our new, young Directors will be able to carry Plandescil forward with same values and level of service that we have provided over the past 37 years. By becoming Employee Owned we have found a succession plan which will benefit all our employees and provide a stable future for the company. 

Richard Simmons, Director Civils, commented:

As new Directors, we are excited about being given the opportunity to carry on the family run company we have known and loved for years.  We hope that through our on-going commitment to the company and staff we will be able continue our high levels of service and create a great place to work.

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