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The Last Word: James Griffiths, managing director at Industrial and Marine Hydraulics

Closing this month’s issue of North East Times Magazine, James Griffiths, managing director at Middlesbrough-based Industrial and Marine Hydraulics, reflects on the firm’s recent 40th anniversary, highlights the importance of staff development and reveals how the business’ global profile leaves it primed for further growth.


The business celebrated its 40th anniversary last summer, having been founded as a home-based endeavour. How did its journey begin, and what does it mean to have reached the milestone?

The journey began with my father Paul Griffiths.

Having started his engineering career as an apprentice, working with a number of companies and key industry players, he wanted the flexibility to work for himself.

Initially, there was no real intention to build what we are today.

But, through his technical ability to deliver a great job, and desire to always do right by people, he built up a strong customer base.

He was then approached to do a nine-month project, which would take him away from delivering to his regular customers.

Never one to say no, he employed someone to complete the project, so he could continue with his regular work.

At the end of the project, he didn’t want to see the person he’d employed out of a job, so he found more work for them.

And as he won more work, he took on more employees.

The company was formed from the desire to service the customer and be a responsible employer – and that hasn’t wavered.

We want to be an employer of choice and are proud to be recognised internationally for our quality and technical knowledge.

The milestone is a great reflection of how much we’ve grown as a company and, over recent years, how we have worked hard to modernise the company.

We never stand still and we’re always looking to improve.

The firm places great emphasis on staff development, highlighted chiefly by an apprenticeship programme and training centre. Just how beneficial has the creation of a regular talent stream been to its progress?

Extremely beneficial – we wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have it.

There are very few formal qualifications in hydraulic engineering, so we rely on being able to pass on that knowledge.

And our ability to grow and maintain relationships means that the people we work with and train, even if they move company, enable us to grow our customer base.

The strong company culture we have is embodied in each of us, and we’re really proud that the staff feel like a family.

The company is known globally, with its order book including work to fit parts on Pioneering Spirit, the world’s largest construction vessel. What do such contracts say about its prowess, as well as the manufacturing heritage of Teesside, and how will they hold the business in good stead over future decades?

The contracts we’ve won show the complex technical ability of the team, and we hold each project in high esteem.

We’re often able to solve challenges others can’t, which fills us with great pride and demonstrates the quality of our work.

We’re based in Teesside, but we work on these global projects because people have confidence in our reputation and quality.

We all believe in a core set of values, which include delivering to the highest standard, that we achieve through our gained experience and being hard working and trustworthy people.

These values are part of the heritage of Teesside, and so our team naturally fits very well with our company values, which gives us a good base from which to grow.
LinkedIn: Industrial and Marine Hydraulics

January 7, 2024

  • Ideas & Observations

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