As Park Electrical Distributors (Park) prepares to open its fifth branch in Durham and establish a London base, managing director Barry Wilkinson can be forgiven for reflecting on the early days of the business and the lessons learned over the years.
Park was launched in the garage of Barry’s home in County Durham in 1990. He had just one or two customers and little or no cash to inject into the venture. However, he had boundless energy and a steely determination to drive forward.
Fast-forward to the present day and Park has navigated setbacks and challenges to achieve a turnover of £20 million with its sights set on a £30 million turnover within the next five years.
With branches in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Teesside, the business will expand its wholesale activities with a further branch in Durham this summer. In addition to wholesale, it has specialist divisions – lighting design, energy solutions, building technologies and industrial services.
Employing 70 staff, Park prides itself on the long-term savings it can offer clients and on its environmental stewardship, having worked tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of its products by focussing on Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
Bradley O’Mahoney Public Relations is raising the profile of the business in line with its business plan and it has such a good story to tell. Park is forward-thinking in many ways, from the introduction of a hybrid electric vehicle fleet to providing truly innovative solutions to complex lighting projects in industrial and commercial environments. It also supplies state-of-the-art KNX functionality that allows total control and integration over lighting, visual, heating, blinds, CCTV and door communication.
The company has very strong core values based on openness and transparency, and builds deep relationships with staff, putting a huge emphasis on supporting their development throughout the business. These core values will form the foundation of the PR campaign.
In 2003, with the business generating a turnover of about £7 million, Barry stepped back from day-to-day running of the business to focus on strategy. As a result, the turnover increased to £20 million.
Barry says: “After initially looking externally, I realised the ideal people to move us forward were already here – loyal, long-serving employees who had the key skills required.
“Our directors, Simon Mooney, Bridget Harold, Craig Hopwood and Ian Aitchinson, combine to make an exceptionally robust board of directors. They lead a mainly young, dedicated team of people, some of whom we fully expect will mould the future direction of the business and we actively encourage them to take on new roles and progress within the business.
“There is a tremendous amount happening this year. Having established only the second KNX Training Academy in the UK, where we run regular KNX certification courses for electricians who want to learn the technology and move into new markets, we are in the process of setting up a similar distribution and training centre in London. It is a very exciting prospect and has all been made possible by the dedication and commitment of the staff here in the North East.”
Park Electrical Distribution