Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Start-up Engineers a Bright Future


THROW a pebble in the sea and its ripples spread far and wide.

And that’s the experience of Pebble Engineering – just an idea twelve months ago when three experienced civil engineers were facing redundancy from a major global company.

Today it is a developing engineering consultancy which has already undertaken work for a vast range of multi-million-pound projects throughout the UK.

Their Sandfields Business Centre base at Port Talbot has demonstrated what can be achieved with a lot of initiative and a good measure of support.

The company was formed in October last year by directors Ken Rogers, Dave Ollier and Huw Howell who accepted redundancy from a world-wide organisation.

Huw took up the story,” We were all chartered engineers with a huge amount of experience from small domestic designs to large infrastructure projects worth in excess of £100 million.

“In November we moved to an office within the Sandfields Business Centre and we have not looked back since. We even persuaded another of our former colleagues, Rhys Williams, to join us on our new adventure.”

What followed was a steady expansion and the four are very optimistic about the future.

Huw said: “We know what we are capable of and we are already proving ourselves with projects including flood relief for the Environmental Agency coastal defence work for Natural Resources Wales, a local barn conversion into holiday lets, the refurbishment of a beach-side restaurant and a substantial private house in Buckinghamshire.

We are already looking to expand and we would like to provide opportunities for qualified and creative graduates within three-dimensional structural modelling and analysis,

Unsure initially of what opportunities there would be at the Sandfields Business Centre Huw said a tour of the building opened their eyes.

“When we looked around and saw the range of companies operating from there and the sort of support we could get from the centre, Neath Port Talbot Council and Business Wales, we knew we could achieve our aims in Port Talbot.”

He said he and his fellow directors enjoyed running their own business and the variety of schemes they could undertake.

With the beach just yards away and great links to the rest of the UK why would we want to work anywhere else

Cllr. Ali Thomas OBE, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said: “There are so many people out there with the potential to become entrepreneurs and set up successful businesses who simply need that help and encouragement to take those first steps.”

“At Sandfields Business Centre we aim to do just that and provide the facilities and advice to set them on their way and realise their full potential.”

Sandfields Business Centre has opened doors to entrepreneurs for almost 17 years thanks to funding from Europe, the Welsh Office and Neath Port Talbot Council.

Officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1998 the centre initially housed nine offices and four workshops but such was its success that four years later further construction took the centre to 24 offices and 11 workshops at a cost of £1 million.

The centre offers a wide range of support including broadband, reception facilities and on-site business advice, together with affordable rents and a relaxed community atmosphere.

Many companies have started life at the centre over the years only to move on to larger premises and greater opportunities, opening the door for the next generation of entrepreneurs.