Reece Group Launches New Division

7th May 2014

The Reece Group is bolstering its portfolio of companies with the launch of a new research and development division.

The Reece Group incorporates the likes of Pearson Engineering in Walker, Responsive Engineering in Gateshead and Velocity UK in Sunderland, which operate in the defence, subsea, construction, and oil and gas markets.

The company, which employs 500 staff, has now ploughed an eight-figure sum into setting up Reece Innovation, a division which will build upon the group’s core engineering strengths and develop new products, led by new appointment Dr James Martin, a Newcastle University graduate who returns to the region after spending 11 years at Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company.

new-divisionAn initial investment will double for successive years to £3m a year, funds the firm said will be offset by income earned from the research and development.

New employees are currently being recruited, and by the third quarter of 2014 it’s anticipated 10 to 15 new jobs will be created.

He said: “A recruitment programme is already underway to secure these jobs. We are looking for mechanical and electrical engineers as well as material scientists and lab technicians.

“The number of employees in the future will expand in relation to opportunities that develop. Some staff may be deployed into group companies or companies created specifically to take advantage of the opportunities created by the innovation centre.”

Alongside this, Reece Innovation will also target investments on university projects, some of which are already being considered in collaboration with Newcastle, Durham and Cambridge universities. These will involve internships, master student research projects and PhD projects.

The new division will initially be based at the group’s Walker premises before moving to the former Vickers site on Scotswood Road, which was bought from BAE Systems last year.

As well as working with existing customers in oil and gas and defence and military, Reece Innovation will move forward pioneering products that existing companies within the group have worked on, with “mind to market” development spanning one to four years.

For example, within oil and gas, the team will help develop solutions for technical challenges for current clients, as well as look at new techniques to aid the recovery of hydrocarbon reserves, a process which is becoming more challenging with time.

Within defence and military, the new division will be looking to move forward a series of innovative products developed by Pearson Engineering which increase capabilities of armoured fighting vehicles, and explore new markets outside of the group’s current expertise, such as mine detection.

Dr Martin added: “Reece Innovation is, in terms of expertise and innovation, streets ahead of the competition.

“The secret to its success will be niche products that will maintain a competitive advantage for a period of at least 10 to 20 years.”