Aycliffe Today Business - Page 28

28 | Aycliffe Today Business Bringing Aycliffe Business Park Together | 29 John Finley won his first award in business when Finley Structures was named Company of the Year at the Make Your Mark awards. The Aycliffe firm also helped to build the 500-tonne Middlesbrough Sports Village, which opened in 2015. By Martin Walker Family steel firm Finley Structures named Aycliffe Company of the Year A family steel has been recognised for a hugely-successful year in business. Finley Structures was named Company of the Year at Aycliffe Business Park’s Make Your Mark awards ceremony, held at the Xcel Centre. The fabrication firm, which is based in the former British Steel factory on Aycliffe Business Park, beat off competition from Hitachi, Gestamp Tallent, Samwon, Baltic Training Services and Caring Caretaker to scoop the top prize at Wednesday night’s bash. Finley Structures announced a record turnover year in 2015, with sales growing to £16.4m – up from £10m four years ago. High-profile contracts, including Hitachi Rail Europe’s new facility, also included a new 1,400-tonne factory for Nissan at Washington, a 2,300-tonne project at the Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds, the 500-tonne Sports Village in Middlesbrough and a 300-tonne frame for the £38m National Biologics Centre in Darlington. Finley Structures also completed a 500-tonne project for Teesside University and a 620-tonne contract for the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC) to round-up a busy year. The company was launched by John Finley in 2000 and was originally based at the former NCB Works in Tursdale near Bowburn with 20 staff. It was only when, during a chance drive-by in 2002, the opportunistic John spotted the 87,000 sq ft factory, once home to British Steel, being emptied by its tenants at the time, Alexander-le-Skerne, that he stopped by to have a look. “We were outgrowing our site at Tursdale and were looking to relocate,” says John. “It was just by chance I drove down Whinbank Road one day and saw it being emptied, so I just went in for a look around, and I remember thinking to myself ‘I can see Finley Structures thriving in here’. “We eventually did the deal to buy the building and moved in. We invested £250,000 in the place in 2003 so it was a lot of money for us back then, and the business started to grow. “I initially thought we would rent part of the building out to help pay the bills but we quickly started to fill it out and before long we were looking to expand again. We then bought other adjoining buildings in 2010 and our sister company, SCH Site Services, relocated there in order to grow and is now thriving in its own right.” Finley Structures is a truly family-run firm. John’s wife Valerie is a company director and was a part-time receptionist until retiring in December, while daughter Julie is jointmanaging director and son Gary is jointmanaging director of SCH Site Services. Combined, the two companies employ 104 people, while the new family venture, ROF 59 – an activity centre whic