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Structuring the future for engineering firm 5/5 (1)

Growing civil and structural engineering consultancy firm, Christie Gillespie Consulting Engineers, has announced the company is now owned by its employees, just six years after the company started. 

Alistair Christie and Richard Gillespie have taken their firm to £1M+ turnover after both leaving multinational firms to start their own business in 2015. The pair initially worked on small domestic projects but they quickly began to land bigger contracts – working with firms like Muir Group, CALA Homes, and Intelligent Growth Solutions. Currently the business has bases in Dundee, Lothian, and Fife – with plans to expand in the future. 

The company is hoping that the move to employee ownership will create a lasting legacy for the loyal team. 

Co-founder, Alistair Christie, said: “We had envisioned this idea of adopting a succession model for the business when we first started, we just didn’t know what that would be. We decided quickly against selling to another firm as it meant the possibility of staff relocation or job loss and a risk to the company ethos and culture built on strong client focus and communication.

“It became clear through the years that some form of employee ownership model was our number one choice, but we didn’t quite know how it would work. We approached Scottish Enterprise for support and they introduced us to Carole at Ownership Associates. She explained the process and instantly put our minds at ease.”

“It’s emotional discussing the succession plan of something you have built from scratch, but Carole understood how we felt, how the staff would feel, and what needed to be done moving forward. There was no stone left unturned.”

Operating across Scotland – as well as further afield – Alistair and Richard hope this transition will see the company continue to flourish, and develop the new leaders who will continue to advance the business while keeping true to the original ethos of generating exceptional client-driven service. 

Richard added: “We recently held our first team meeting following our transition to employee ownership, and already we could see every member of staff was more engaged than ever before – it was the most productive meeting we’ve ever had.

“Irrespective of an EOT, Alistair and I have always tried to engage with our staff in a positive way, but now they each have a genuine stake in the success of this business, and we have noticed big differences already.

“Adopting employee ownership is undoubtedly one of the biggest achievements in our careers.”

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