System builders in Glasgow retain jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis


Name: Shepherd’s Gary.

Age: thirty-eight.

What is your company’s name?

Ramsay James (Glasgow) Ltd.

Where is it situated?

In Glasgow’s East End, just off the M8.

What facilities does it offer?

We are experts in heating, drying and piping systems for industrial and commercial use. We provide a wide variety of services, including on-call support 24/7, but our niche is in advanced work in gas, combustion and steam.

To whom is the business selling?

We work for some of Scotland’s biggest and most known production and processing plants. Our experience has also led us to work on many big ventures in the field of renewable energy, such as energy centers and district heating systems. With the Scottish Prison Service, numerous NHS industries and some local authorities, we also have maintenance contracts.

What is the turnover of theirs?

Roughly £8 million.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has had an impact on our organization and we have had to change our working practices to ensure that security remains high on our agenda. Although we remain busy because of our work in many important fields, including the NHS and the Scottish Prison Service, due to the tough working climate, we have found that new contracts are being awarded more slowly.

How many workforce?

54. The Coronavirus Work Retention Scheme was very grateful to us. Although our office workers continued to operate from home and our key staff continued to retain service contracts, at the start of the shutdown in the spring, we had to furlough twenty of our 40 technical staff for a brief period of time. Company has recovered well and we have returned to full capacity. We have, however, seen an increase in our price base, particularly for personal protective equipment (PPE). At higher costs, we are buying greater amounts.

When was the firm founded?

The 1920 (100 years ago).

Why did the plunge take you?

In 2002, I left university, went back to college and did a modern apprenticeship with James Ramsay in heating and ventilation. To the degree that I had hoped, university did not stimulate me and I saw an opportunity to establish myself in an industry that I was passionate about. I’ve worked my way up from apprentice to general manager since then, which I have become this year.

Until you made the switch, what were you doing?

I was operations director for the company until I became general manager this year.

What was the biggest breakthrough you made?

I like to believe that through hard work, you make your own breakthroughs, but I must agree that it was a major turning point for me to become Operations Manager in 2013. That was when Nevis Capital, an investment company, and my father Raymond bought out the previous owners, and that allowed me to put my own stamp on the day-to-day business.

What was the toughest moment you had?

There were a few along the way, from supporting team members through difficult events in their personal lives to factors that have spent a lot of time and resources beyond our control affecting contracts. Disappointments will always occur along the way, but I think it’s important to proceed with a positive mindset. I believe they will finally get you back on track if you stick to your work ethic and principles.

What do you love most about running a business?

I love the field in which we work: helping our customers overcome the wide range of technological challenges and issues we deal with every day is satisfying. If I had to pick one thing, though, it would be providing our employees with healthy, secure workplaces and watching the team grow and thrive around me.

What are you enjoying the least?

Highly contractual work.

What is your main frustration?

That the relationship between prime contractors and subcontractors is often confrontational rather than collaborative.

What are your ambitions for the company?

We’ve grown by about 20 percent per year over the last few years, and I’d like to see us continue to grow over the next three years while maintaining the same ethos and way of working and developing our team.

What are your top five priorities?

Health and safety; quality; our people and culture; future growth and the resilience of the business.

What could the government in Westminster and/or Scotland do to help?

We need a period of political stability


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