Houlder 30th Birthday

2 August 2017

back

July 27, 2017 marked Houlder’s 30th birthday

La Bamba was Number One in the charts and Timothy Dalton was James Bond when the organisation’s value as an independent design and engineering consultancy was recognised.

The name Houlder has been associated with the marine industry for over a hundred and fifty years.  It had previously owned and operated a range of vessels starting as the Houlder Brothers’ Shipping Line.  Always an innovator, the company was one of the first commercial steam ship operators before going on to develop refrigerated transatlantic cargo vessels and then running one of the world’s first gas carrier fleets. By the 1970s it was operating cutting-edge drilling and dive support infrastructure in the North Sea including the record breaking Uncle John semi-submersible. Named after the company owner, John Houlder, the vessel was responsible for the first and deepest North sea hyperbaric weld repairs.

As North Sea infrastructure changed ownership in the 1980s, it was clear Houlder’s knowledge and expertise had the potential for commercial success.  A consultancy business was formed by early shareholder’s including chairman John Harrison, John Coates, Linsley Meadows and Jean Anderson. Linsley and Jean are still working for Houlder, based in the London headquarters.

The company soon diversified from its Oil & Gas roots. It won the design and build contract for the six RoRo vessels that formed the UK Ministry of Defence Strategic Sealift Service.  This was funded by a £1.25bn Private Finance Initiative – the biggest in the defence sector at the time.

The company also grew through acquiring naval architects, Hart Fenton & Co. The new team came with a significant vessel design track record including designing ferries, cargo vessels, cable and pipelayers, and other specialist use vessels. Today, Houlder engineers design innovative solutions for offshore windfarm construction and hold patents for LNG bunkering and transfer technology (as below). The latter leading to collaborations with  leading LNG component suppliers such as KLAW LNG, Wartsila and Trelleborg.

As well as Houlder’s 30th birthday, 2017 also marks the 10th anniversary of Houlder’s Employees Benefit Trust. 2007 saw the founding management team retire. New CEO Rupert Hare established employee ownership as a framework to support ongoing growth. Today, the company’s headcount is over a hundred professionals. Current projects vary from supplying offshore wind installation equipment and upgrading drilling units off the coast of the Orkney Isles to supervising the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research vessel and advising UK Government on fleet operations and vessel procurement.

As well as Houlder’s 30th birthday, 2017 also marks the 10th anniversary of Houlder’s Employees Benefit Trust. 2007 saw the founding management team retire. New CEO Rupert Hare established employee ownership as a framework to support ongoing growth. Today, the company’s headcount is over a hundred professionals. Current projects vary from supplying offshore wind installation equipment and upgrading drilling units off the coast of the Orkney Isles to supervising the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research vessel and advising UK Government on fleet operations and vessel procurement.

Teams are often deployed to work in centres of the shipbuilding, subsea and offshore industries across the globe.   They typically comprise a cross section of experience and talent with senior, time served engineers working alongside new graduates and apprentices. This approach ensures the company continually develops new blood with an eye to the next thirty years and beyond.

Each of Houlder’s four UK offices enjoyed birthday cake to mark the event. In London, Rupert Hare, CEO led celebrations with Linsley Meadows representing the 1987 shareholders (pictured). Events marking both milestones – Houlder’s 30th birthday and 10 years of employee ownership – will continue throughout the year.

You can read more about Houlder’s history on our main site here.

 Linsley Meadows (L) and Rupert Hare (R) at Houlder’s 30th birthday celebrations    
get in touch for more information