Gary Craven long service award picA long-serving employee at North East property and energy company The Banks Group has been recognised for his 30 years’ service with the firm.

Gary Craven, who works in Banks’ IT team and is a keen photographer, was presented with a voucher for a one day workshop with Joe Cornish, one of the UK’s leading landscape photographers, by Banks’ founder and chairman Harry Banks at a special event to mark his long service milestone, which has included a number of different roles over the years.

Gary, who has lived in South West Durham all his life, was educated at St. Johns Comprehensive School in Bishop Auckland and studied Civil Engineering at Northumbria University before joining Banks’ Tow Law office as a draughtsman in 1984.

He moved to the firm’s Mining Department in 1990 to take on a site engineer role on a surface mine site in South East Northumberland before becoming an area engineer for all Banks’ working sites in the area.

An interest in computers saw Gary take on a new IT Support Engineer position in 1996 in Banks’ newly-created IT Department, where he first taught himself how to write spreadsheet macros and then formal Microsoft programming languages, which then led to his current role.

Based at Banks’ headquarters in Meadowfield, Gary is now an applications development analyst, and is responsible for identifying, designing, building, testing and implementing in-house computer applications which support different parts of the company’s projects and activities, most of which are web-based solutions that are used over its intranet.

Gary says: “When I started working for Banks back in the eighties, I would never have thought I would still be here 30 years on – the time has gone so quickly.

“Working for a local family business has been very rewarding and I have always been made to feel a valued member of the company.  I can’t imagine working for a large corporate multi-national where you are no more than a payroll number”

Founded in County Durham in 1976, The Banks Group now employs over 420 people in surface mining, renewable energy, property development and energy from waste with offices in Durham, Hamilton and Chesterfield.

Harry Banks, Chairman of The Banks Group, who founded the business in 1976, adds: “Gary is another member of staff who joined the business at an early age and has made his career with us.  We are pleased to celebrate this important stage with him, and offer our thanks and best wishes.”