Cortez Subsea. In 2010 we did some fishing in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez and I came up with the name Cortez Subsea.
Aberdeen but we work offshore in Europe, West and North Africa and the Caribbean.
What does it produce, what services does it offer?
Our services are orientated towards the subsea sector. In particular, the installation of rigid and flexible pipelines, the intervention on subsea pipelines and production systems, and the inspection of subsea structures and pipelines. Essentially we have a toolbox of services and products we can deploy internationally.
Who does it sell to?
Operators and primary subsea contractors. We can provide both with equipment and technology to support offshore operations from production start-up to decommissioning.What is its turnover?
£3.5 million for the 2012 financial year.
How many employees?
This year we expect to have 15 full-time staff and we will have 15-20 contracting staff.
When was it formed? 2010
Why did you take the plunge?
I saw an opportunity for a service based on experience I had with other companies. I felt there was a gap in the market to take existing technology, adapt it and push it into the marketplace.
What were you doing before you took the plunge?
I began my career at the Rosyth naval shipyard serving my pipefitter technician apprenticeship with the Ministry of Defence. Once this was complete, I packed a rucksack and bought a one-way ticket to Western Australia. I wanted to play rugby and found myself playing at senior grade for two years. I got my first job in the subsea industry through some of my team mates, who were working for Australian ROV company Sonsub (now owned by Saipem). Since then, I have worked in both Perth and Singapore in the subsea sector and have spent more than two decades working for a number of service and engineering companies including Kvaerner, Saipem and Subsea 7.
In 2005, I co-founded TSMarine and was managing director until 2009. We focused on the supply of vessels and services operating in the subsea decommissioning and well intervention sector.
We operated globally and won £53m backing from 3i and ABN Amro Merchant Banking in 2008. Members of the management team sold some shares at the time. But after advancing more than 100m euros in connection with a contract to get specialist subsea intervention vessels built in Spain the group hit problems when the vessels were not delivered on time.
In 2009 the operating business in the Asia-Pacific region was sold to Champ Private equity, while TSMarine's UK business was sold to Marine Subsea AS. I spent 12 months with Marine Subsea UK but the parent company in Norway faced challenges and the UK business was put into voluntary administration.
I established Cortez Subsea in 2010 and it was self-funded.
What was your biggest break?
My decision to leave offshore life, come onshore and enter management roles led me on a huge learning curve and to see the whole industry in a new light. These management roles played an important part in inspiring me to establish my own businesses.
What was your worst moment?
In the offshore industry, as with many other sectors, the health and safety of our employees is of utmost importance. When there is an incident, this can be categorised as a "worst moment," because our safety and management systems have failed and a person(s) has been put at risk and hurt. Unfortunately, as with many others in this industry, I have witnessed some terrible accidents, which I would rather not talk about. We all have ups and downs in life and in business. There have been many moments where we could ask "can it get any worse than this?" It normally doesn't.
What do you most enjoy?
Seeing an idea go through a process and into application is good for any business, and especially one which contends with the challenges of working underwater from 10 metres to 3000 metres.
What do you least enjoy?
Seeing business greed. There is no need for this in today's world and we must all learn from the lessons of the recent past.
What are your ambitions for the firm?
We hope for significant growth over the next three to five years. We have a good footprint in Europe and we want to expand in places such as West Africa and the Far East. We want to be recognised as a top quality brand and do what we say on the tin.
What are your top priorities?
To create a dynamic, diverse, value-adding and successful international company; to have a reputation for delivering cost- effective technical, operational and commercial innovation; to deliver a safe business operation; to have financial stability; to continue to deliver sustainable business growth.
What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?
Further stimulus and investment from Holyrood and Westminster into the oil and gas sector would help. There is no clear path for new firms to become successful in our sector other than what has gone before, although there are many success stories. The oil industry generates a huge revenue for this country and will continue to do so for the next 50 years, yet it feels that only now are our politicians waking up to this. Aberdeen is the oil capital of Europe but its infrastructure needs to reflect that. It does not today!
What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?
Always rely on your instinct and trust your team.
How do you relax?
I enjoy sailing on the west coast of Scotland with the family and also doing a spot of fishing. I also support Scottish rugby and attend many a fixture at Murrayfield and in Aberdeen.
Contextual targeting label: