Glasgow electrical specialists gain jobs in Brazil and Mexico
Names: Alan Mulligan and Alan Glen.
Age: 50 or 40.
What is your company name?
Electrical Specialist Solutions Ltd (ESS).
Where is it based?
Our recently opened office is on West George Street, Glasgow but we are more commonly found supporting our clients in Mexico, the USA or mainland Europe. We are currently preparing for a new three month contract where we will oversee our team of engineers in Brazil.
Scotland is our home and we have no desire to live anywhere else. Our families and friends are here. We have spent the last 20 years traveling and enjoying all that Scotland has to offer.
What services does it offer?
We are specialists in electrical and mechanical controls in the power generation and semiconductor industries. Our technical specialization is in gas turbine control systems, generator excitation, power generation and distribution protection and substation installations, and AC and DC electrical drives.
Our core team of engineers help organizations around the world overcome a range of common performance improvement needs, including skill gaps, crewing difficulties and issues arising from the transition from old to new technologies.
Who is it selling to?
A collection of global energy companies, often based in Florida and Texas.
What is his turnover?
We had $300,000 in sales in our first year and with the new contracts we’ve won in Mexico and Brazil, we expect to significantly increase that this year.
How many employees?
We are both company directors and employees and are on the verge of hiring an office manager to secure our Glasgow location. We work with a core of around twenty subcontractors from around the world, although the majority are British. We know them all well and have worked with them over the years.
We are looking for the best possible person for the position and their location and nationality will not affect our decision to hire them. There are many good engineers in Scotland and that is why we use Scottish shooters.
When was it founded?
Why did you take the plunge?
We were working for a global company and were made redundant amid the downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We couldn’t travel abroad to work, so our employer had to fire us. Fortunately, we are now working again for our former employer, but this time as an accredited supplier.
What were you doing before you took the plunge?
We have many years of experience as electrical engineers. I have completed electrical commissioning and qualification of high voltage, power generation, oil & gas and semiconductor facilities in Asia, USA, Europe, Russia and Australia. Alan has over 18 years of experience servicing, repairing and commissioning a wide range of instrumentation and electrical equipment gained in the marine, power generation and oil and gas sectors.
How did you raise the seed funding?
We have both been fortunate to work abroad for a number of years for major operators in our industry and have taken the opportunity to regularly save part of our income. These plus our severance payments went into the founding investment of our company. So far we have had no need for external support.
What was your biggest breakthrough?
Taking over commissioning work in Brazil and Mexico from our former employer was a great validation of our skills.
What was your worst moment?
Before we started ES Solutions it was probably laid off due to a job we both loved doing. Resigning was child’s play under these circumstances, which in turn gave us the impetus to start our own company. Luckily there haven’t been any worst moments since then.
What do you enjoy most about managing the company?
Freedom to pursue your own ideas on how we can do things better and faster; sometimes by designing new tools and devices and then working on them. We also enjoy chatting with our subcontractor colleagues who have all worked on innovative projects around the world. There is always something new to learn.
What are your ambitions for the business?
Continue to win larger and larger orders and open an office in the USA.
In the longer term, we want to make the business sufficiently attractive for our sons Kai, 14, and Thomas, 8, to get into the business and drive it forward.
What could Westminster and/or Scotland governments do to help?
Rejoining the EU would be a good start, but we are not holding our breath.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned?
When it comes to orders abroad, you have to be able to get started immediately, which is why a keen sense of local conditions, the result of many years of experience, is a great advantage.
We pack our bags and our toolkits with full awareness of what might lie ahead, but we also know that all too often we will also encounter the unexpected.
How do you relax?
We like to spend time with our families. We are often abroad, so it is precious to be with them.
I travel regularly with my daughter who competes in national figure skating competitions and I also walk my two whippets to keep fit. Alan relaxes by playing the guitar – he’s pretty good.