North East engineering company JK Lifting Equipment is celebrating a successful first year under new ownership, which has seen the firm double its turnover and headcount.

Managing director James Bright acquired the company, originally named John Kesson Lifting, in June 2019. The firm was founded by John Kesson in 1983. John remains a key member of the growing team of lifting and engineering specialists.

It’s been a hugely successful first year under new company name JK Lifting Equipment, which has seen strong growth in the marine and renewables sectors, as well as retaining all its key customers since the buy-out. The team is also designing and manufacturing an increasing number of bespoke lifting solutions in collaboration with clients across the region, using the latest engineering innovations.

Sited on the banks of the River Tyne, the firm, based at Walker Road, Newcastle, is recognised for its engineering excellence, innovative solutions and collaborative working relationships. It supports many of the region’s most significant construction, manufacturing, engineering, marine, renewable and offshore firms, helping them lift large and complex goods. JK Lifting also carries out inspections to ensure equipment is legally safe and compliant.

The firm’s growth follows five key appointments, a name change and rebrand, along with, significant investment in training and technology, adding breadth and depth to an existing team with over 35 years of experience in the highly specialised sector.

Recruits include David Hulme as general manager, an experienced lifting and inspection specialist with a particular focus on health, safety, quality and environment and with over 25 years of experience in the field, working for multi-national clients.

David is joined by design engineer Graham Waring, who brings with him capabilities which have enhanced the scope of JK Lifting’s bespoke design and manufacture services.

James, Graham and David worked together in previous roles for 17 years and their shared experience and specialist knowledge of the lifting and inspection industry means they have been able to integrate quickly into the business. Lisa McGeary also joins as finance manager along with the latest recruit, Scott Hale, as testing and inspection engineer.

Commenting on a successful first year, managing director James Bright, said; “It’s been a rewarding 12 months and I am delighted with our position at the end of year one.

“I invested in the business because it is built on solid foundations, established by John Kesson and his team. I saw the potential and an opportunity to grow what John developed over nearly four decades. John has many years of experience and by remaining with us as part of the team, has helped our business continuity and our smooth transition to JK Lifting Equipment.

“Initially it was important to demonstrate to our existing customers that we would still deliver the engineering excellence and solutions-focussed approach that they know and expect. But also that we can now support them further through our expanded capabilities, as well as driving efficiencies for them through our investment in new technology.

“For example, we now have an increased number of engineers accredited to the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA). This is the gold standard in lifting know-how, and our increased capacity allows us to support more firms to ensure their lifting equipment is legally compliant.

“We’ve also invested in a range of new technologies. This includes leading-edge software that allows us to quickly and easily certify lifting equipment from site, through to analysis and final report, usually within 24 hours. Through a shared asset management database, customers can better manage their equipment inventory, with a 360degree view of their testing and inspection cycle. This saves them both time and money.

“None of this would have been possible without a combination of teamwork and expertise, it’s the bedrock of our culture. Our recruits have integrated quickly and seamlessly into the existing team, combining complementary skills and expertise that is propelling our growth and expansion. That extends to our customers, who we always work in partnership with to get the job done.

“Our first year has exceeded expectations, but Covid19 has presented us with challenges and we’ve had to quickly adapt our ways of working; the team have been fantastic, all pulling together to navigate our way through.

“We remain focussed on delivering excellence and added-value for our customers at every step, through our in-depth industry knowledge, technical skill and cutting-edge innovation. I am optimistic about our future.”