Three years ago Paul Hollowell and I were freezing our butts off walking across Waterloo bridge when we decided to go for it and started taking the steps to build the consultancy that we had spoken about for hours and hours and on long journeys to visit client's.
Looking back, we were far too naïve to know exactly what running our own consultancy would entail but we definitely knew what it wasn’t. It wasn't cranking out spreadsheets and sales calls for 90 hours each week for the rest of our lives to meet KPI’s set by Senior Management, detached from the needs of our clients. Still, gaining the courage to leave our safe, lucrative jobs wasn’t easy.
Having discussed our idea over countless decaf skinny wet lattes (Paul’s poison of choice), we knew in our bones that a Marine Recruitment Consultancy, which covered the full life cycle of a Marine asset, needed to exist. Sure, there were agencies which recruited to parts of the marine industry but nothing out there spoke directly to our client's and candidate’s needs. There was an opening for quality and relationship based recruitment for the marine industry which was independent, knowledgeable and which could be trusted to deliver. So, in the Spring of 2013, we left our jobs and joined forces with south coast recruitment legends Andrea and Stuart Cox to form WRS Tech Ltd, and set out to scratch our own itch.
We hit the trade show circuit and sold to the industry’s leading consultancies, shipyards and fleet management companies on our vision. Thankfully enough said yes and presumably based their decision on us not because of where we were, but because of where we were going and the quality of what we delivered.
So we hustled and our community and network began to grow…slowly. We built our team - Lee Hayward, Rebecca and Matt Smith joined. No prima donnas in that group. Every consultant at WRS Tech passes the Plane Test - that is that every person is someone that you would like to sit next to on a long haul flight. It is a core part of WRS Tech’s concept that our professional are knowledgable, capable and passionate about their industry – no cheap suits and double Windsor knots.
When our paper work began to overflow into our breakroom at our initial smaller offices, we started looking for a new space. In the spring of 2014 we found one in the leafy lanes of Hambledon on the South Coast and we commissioned a refit of, what are now our current offices, Rudley Place. These offices are the best in the industry with flagstone floors, a large log burner and custom solid oak desks built by a joiner with a project history which includes MY Eclipse. Not long after moving in, Matt decided it could also use a competition sized Ping Pong table...
Writing all of this in April 2016 it’s hard to believe that it has been over three years since Paul and I sat down with Elaine, our wonderful payroll Manager, and went through setting up the standard operating procedure to ensure our contractors all got paid.
So much has changed. The tens of applications we used to receive are now thousands. Our team has grown from three cold souls wearing jackets in a 12°C uninsulated office to over twelve consultants working in a (heated) custom office. In this past year alone, we have travelled the world meeting clients and candidates in Europe, Asia and the Americas. We have partnered with some fantastic project teams and fleet operators to deliver amazing new builds and refits, as well as fleet managers for new business growth around the world.
We have always believed that a recruitment consultancy is as good as the staff and contractors it provides and that we're just the stewards. So, in perhaps one of the greatest understatements of all-time, we would like to say thank you to all of the fantastic marine and maritime professionals that we have placed and presented for staff and contract positions. I would also like to thank our fantastic client base for bearing with us through our growing pains, false starts, and trusting us with the growth of their companies and the deadlines of their projects.
I think Paul and I now realise that when we decided to go for it that day walking across Waterloo Bridge, that it was important. That for us, integrity and passion always will be at the core of everything we put our names to.
We promise that everything about the WRS Tech experience — candidate & client, Contract & staff — is going to continue to be refined, polished and built upon in 2016. The road ahead of WRS Tech includes sustainable growth of our team and of contractors and placements with our clients. Paul and I cannot wait to share the journey with all of you in the marine and maritime industry.
WRS Tech Ltd