As we reach the end of 2018, it’s an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved together as a business and a team. It’s been a year of considerable gains and growth but one also marked by a significant loss.

At the beginning of this year, we lost our colleague Mark Mercer, who died following a short illness. Mark was our Operations Director and a lynchpin of our business. This was a huge loss for us both personally and professionally.

When something like that happens, it’s a big test of your resilience as a business and as people. We’re fortunate in that our business model is one that’s built on internal training and promoting from within. This meant that a number of our team were able to take on the running of our business operations, including Tom Wicks who recently stepped up to the role of Associate Director. A huge thank you to everyone at Hemlow who pulled together at this testing time and helped make sure we could continue Mark’s legacy.

Our strategy for 2018 was to continue to grow our business sustainably by acquiring more portfolios of buildings and expanding into the Midlands. It’s safe to say we did just that – and then some.

2018 saw us mobilise two new large portfolios of properties – one in London, one in Birmingham – and saw a number of Hemlow engineers step up to management roles to deliver on these contracts. There were a total of 13 internal promotions to management positions, as well as 49 new recruits, taking us up to a now 100-strong team.

We grew our maintenance base by 23%, with a total of £2m sales, including £1.5m from referrals. Our overall growth was an impressive 20%. And we completed our largest refurbishment project to date – the £3.5m Greater London House project

We also cemented our growth in the Midlands by opening a new office in the centre of Birmingham. This office acts as hub for our engineers as well as local clients and partners, one of which is IWFM (formerly BIFM), of which our Director Chris Ward is now a committee member.

We invested in our Southeast base too, including signing the lease and starting fit-out on our new Slough office. And we continued to build our reputation as one of the industry’s leading training providers by delivering more CPD training than ever before.

It wasn’t all hard work. We hosted our inaugural company away day in September that brought as many of us together as possible. We also took part again in the JLL triathlon, which was one of several activities we did that helped raise a mighty £3k for our 2018 charity, CLIC Sargent –  the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families.

As we look ahead to next year, we’re going to be focusing once more on sustainable growth and recruiting and developing the engineering talent to deliver on our ambitions. We look forward to what 2019 brings and what we can achieve together.