SJS refurbishes leadership team for further growth

Property fit-out, refurbishment and bespoke joinery expert SJS has celebrated a record £12 million year with a series of appointments and promotions.

Three long-serving members of the team have been promoted to director level, while a well-known industry professional has been appointed as a fourth director on the firm’s new leadership team.

SJS refurbishes leadership team for further growth

(from left) Alan Timlin, Gary McGurk, Brian Drake and John Anderson

Craig Murie, the managing director who has steered the firm from £900,000 a year to its current record turnover in just eight years, said the new leadership team is vital for further growth.

He added: “The team have done a magnificent job to deliver the scale of growth we have seen since late 2011. As well as hitting £12m in turnover our headcount has increased from 25 to 62. Despite the short timescale, it has been controlled growth.

“While we are proud of everything we have achieved we also recognise that what got us to where we now are will not solely be what takes us to the next level. That is why we are creating a stronger leadership team and a structure that better suits the size of organisation we are in 2019, ensuring we are fit for the professional and business challenges ahead.”

The leadership team will now build on the stellar client list and professional reputation of SJS, which has carried out high profile refurbishments and fit outs of offices, hotels, leisure outlets, niche residential, universities, schools, shops, pubs and a wide variety of other developments.

Alan Timlin and John Anderson, both of whom joined SJS in 2012, have earned promotions with Alan appointed commercial director and John becoming estimating director. Brian Drake, who has headed up the firms projects division since 2014, has been elevated to operations director.

Meanwhile respected industry professional Gary McGurk has joined the business as a director to oversee the strategic direction of business development, client relationship management and marketing.

Mr Murie added: “These promotions are a recognition of what these colleagues have put in and the passion they have to make us even more successful. It’s also about laying the groundwork to take us to the next level.

“We have a talented team across the board and our culture is hugely important to us. We want people to be happy at their work and to create a great work environment with real career progression.”

Beyond people and culture, Mr Murie said the firm’s exponential success has been built on the results they deliver.

He added: “Our growth has been delivered by repeat business and recommendations. What’s behind our success is the simple fact we provide a highly professional, experienced and quality service.

“When you start working with a client it has to be a genuinely flexible partnership. Virtually no project ends up exactly as it was at the design stage. Things change or need to be adapted, because of unforeseen circumstances or simply because a client changes their mind. We welcome that.

“We have excellent, long-established relationships with various professional services partners, including architects, surveyors, project managers and other consultants. These partnerships have been crucial to our growth.”

When Mr Murie joined the firm it was predominantly a bespoke, manufacturing joinery business. This was the foundation on which the business has developed and remains a key differentiator for SJS, and the highly-skilled CAD, joinery and French polishing team at its 25,000 sq ft production facility just outside Edinburgh, still accounts for around £3m of the turnover.

Indeed, the highly-skilled joinery offering is used by a host of other major contractors with a current order to provide 384 bespoke sleeping pods for the new Code Hostel being developed in Dublin. It also undertakes a huge range of projects from creating bespoke office reception desks to customised furniture for hotels.

However, under Mr Murie’s guidance SJS has quietly emerged as one of the most accomplished fit out and refurbishment experts in Scotland, working across multiple sectors and accounting for the company’s impressive growth.

He said a key milestone in that transition was landing a refurbishment contract which included the design, manufacture and installation of customised language translation booths at Heriot-Watt University, where he studied to Civil Engineering. On the back of that success the firm has developed an impressive reputation in Higher Education, earning further contracts with Heriot-Watt as well as the University of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh Napier University.

Another milestone project which helped put the firm on the refit map was a commercial office fit out for Knight Property Group at Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, which was the first million-pound contract for SJS. The refit of Laings flagship jewellery store in the capital was another landmark which showcased both SJS’s project expertise and quality bespoke joinery.

The business is currently delivering a £1.2m commercial office fit out at Exchange Plaza, the heart of Edinburgh’s commercial and financial district, for a prominent Scottish business.

New director Gary McGurk said: “I couldn’t have hoped for a better time to join the company, as there is no doubt that SJS is starting to attract a lot of attention for all the right reasons. All of the directors are extremely excited about this next chapter and the huge opportunities we have to continue the growth and expansion of the company.”

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