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Civil engineering contractor positioned for growth following senior appointments

Esh Construction is driving on with growth plans after welcoming staff to nine director and senior-level roles.

North of England contractor Esh Construction is building on the success of continued growth within its civil engineering division by announcing nine director and senior-level promotions.

Strengthening the division in all sectors, both commercially and operationally, the new appointments will drive forward growth plans across the North East and Yorkshire regions.

The announcement follows a 35 per cent uplift in turnover for the division over the past 36 months, with a £200 million forward order book now secured.

Stephen Wilkie, executive director at Esh Construction, says: “Successful growth in this industry takes careful planning and timely execution to ensure the business model is sustainable.

“Over the past three years, we have been repositioning our civil engineering division to grow organically, to secure larger capital projects, to demonstrate our abilities to deliver such schemes and to do so with client collaboration and maximum social return at the forefront.”

The firm’s civil engineering capabilities cover an array of sectors from highways and infrastructure, public realm and flood alleviation projects, to small works and capital schemes across the water and waste water network, as well as infrastructure for the region’s housebuilders.

Last year saw Esh Construction complete its largest ever civil engineering contract – the £42.5 million Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor Phase 3 (SSTC3) scheme working in partnership with Sunderland City Council.

Stephen adds: “SSTC3 was a milestone for our business.

“We positioned ourselves to secure the scheme and were successful in our bid back in 2019, at which point no one could have predicted the outbreak of a global pandemic.

“With the support of our client and supply chain partners, as a collective we managed to navigate the impact of COVID-19 and deliver our flagship project on time and within budget.

“Now is the time to drive forward our plans and build on this achievement.”

Strengthening the proven operational capabilities of the civil engineering division is Steven Garrigan, who has been appointed as divisional director.


Bolstering the construction team are, from left to right, Stephen McClean, Steven Garrigan, Alan Croft and Steve Conn


Steven takes the reigns following his success as project director for SSTC3 and builds on a 33-year career in the industry working on an array of multi- million-pound projects.

He says: “There is huge change happening throughout the North East and Yorkshire regions, and having the right infrastructure forms a major part of this.

“The Government has pledged a combined £1.7 billion, via the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement programme, to combined authorities within our operating area.

“This funding brings with it a vast amount of work to be procured and delivered over the coming years, as local authorities focus on improving the quality of their transport networks.”

The Queen’s Award-winning company prides itself on supporting the local economy and community throughout each construction scheme.

Steven adds: “We are a local contractor capable of delivering major civil engineering schemes.

“When our clients appoint us to deliver their projects, they are, in turn, providing a boost to their area, as we procure local supply and employ local labour.

“For example, £26 million was reinvested into Sunderland and its surrounding areas through our delivery of SSTC3, and as we secure larger schemes, this will provide even more reinvestment across the region.”

The operational team will be supported by Alan Croft and Stephen McClean, with the pair promoted to general civils construction manager and special projects construction manager, respectively.

Elsewhere, the division’s work-winning abilities have been boosted by the appointment of Steve Conn as pre-construction director, Giovanni Asoni as estimating director, and Ross Markwell as business development director.

The combination of sector and regional knowledge within the business development function, coupled with the technical and estimating expertise, has seen the firm recently land two significant contract wins worth more than £40 million, notably, the Tyne Bridge restoration and the Stockton waterfront regeneration scheme.

Steve Conn says: “I am focussed on the technical and design aspects of tendering and work winning, particularly supporting the design process of two-stage tenders and trying to drive the best value for our clients.

“The Tyne Bridge and Stockton waterfront contract awards are major schemes for the North East, and we are proud to be appointed as contractor for these two iconic projects.

“Both provide a substantial boost to our portfolio and our regional growth plans.”

The string of new appointments includes Lee Taylor as commercial director for Esh’s housing infrastructure division Lumsden & Carroll, as well as Norman Barnett, who has been appointed as framework director with the responsibility of managing the delivery of Esh’s small works schemes with the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water Group.

Finally, Martin O’Connelley has been appointed as group commercial director for all Esh Construction divisions.

Martin has 12 years’ experience within Esh’s civil engineering division and is now tasked with driving performance and collaboration across the wider group as part of the new leadership team.

Stephen adds: “At Esh, we are proud of our ‘grow your own’, culture which allows people within our business to develop and build their career with us.

“The knowledge, hard work and dedication of those promoted – some of which have between ten, 15 and 20 years’ experience within the business – makes each of them very worthy of their appointments.

“This new structure provides a strong platform for us to execute our ambitious growth plans over the coming years.”


Ross Markwell, Giovanni Asoni, Martin O’Connelley and Lee Taylor, pictured from left to right, have secured promotions within the commercial team


Esh Construction
Esh Construction is the main trading arm of Esh Group, a privately-owned construction, development and property services business. It has a proven delivery record throughout the North East and Teesside, Yorkshire and the Humber, working for a wide range of public and private sector clients.