Biography > Hills Electrical > Timeline
1998 Yet More Sustained Growth
1998 saw growth really start to move again. A new Regional centre was started in Cardiff giving us 10 centres.
Turnover made £37m.
1999 Yet More Sustained Growth
1999 saw more new centres opening in London City, Glasgow and East Anglia. Turnover hit £46m. The company committed to major future growth. The name of the company changed to Hills Electrical and Mechanical to reflect the ever growing breadth of the business.
2000 Hills Embrace M&E
Although mechanical services had been offered since 1996 under the name of Hills Environmental based in Manchester, it was decided that all regional centres should now be able to offer both disciplines. There are now engineers who can offer both services throughout the country. The change of name has greatly helped to convince our clients of this.
Hills celebrated the new millennium, not only with a new name, but also with major expansions to the business. Turnover rose to £56M, new regional centres opened in Leeds and Newcastle and work started on 'The Pyramid' in Edinburgh. A major refurbishment and facelift was completed at Head Office, which increased office space by 25% and featured landscaped water gardens.
The new logo and corporate design was rolled out to all regional centres, on vans, clothing and letterheads..
Major projects completed were: Marks & Spencer, Manchester; Chester LMD; Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes; Global Switch, London.
Turnover rose to £66M, thanks to projects including: London School of Economics Library; St Mungo's Academy, Glasgow and various schemes in Cardiff Bay.
'The Pyramid' in Edinburgh, a stunning and ambitious project to re-house our Edinburgh Regional Centre in style, was completed. Reading Regional Centre re-located to Oxford, to better serve the needs of the thriving M40 and M4 corridors. Nottingham Regional Centre unveiled a major office refurbishment and extension scheme, to house its successful growing team.
Hills maintained it's Award Winning status by winning Construction News' 'Image of Construction' Award for it's vibrant go-getting image, coupled with sound business practice and quality installations. The 'Commitment to Service' Award at the Electrical Industry Awards, further swelled the trophy cabinet.
With turnover topping £93M and profits exceeding all previous records, 2002 must go down as Hills' most successful trading year ever.
Major completed projects included: Sainsbury's Business Centre, London; Centrica Offices, Windsor; Century House, London; Scarborough Building Society and a major security installation for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
2002 saw the introduction of One in a Million - a health & safety awareness campaign, aimed at reducing Hills' level of accidents and further improving the excellent safety track record. Supply chain development over the past three years resulted in the introduction of the 'Hills Preferred Product Awards', designed to reward and encourage suppliers who offered innovative, well-designed products.
The year was one where maintaining the turnover became the focus of activity and the focus on profitability became secondary.
The final regional centre was opened in Liverpool.
Hills were working on the biggest project in the Midlands the Bullring Shopping Centre
The infrastructure of the company came under severe strain and with some loss making contracts the company began to come under pressure. The wisdom of the many years of reinvestment was felt as the company weathered the storm
A new finance director was appointed.
A major contract for us was the fit out of Swiss Re – The so called Gherkin – 30 St Mary Axe in London
A complete rearrangement of the Board of Directors took place with the structure of the company being radically changed to form a regional structure. A new Systems Director, Phil Wainwright was appointed.
A new major contract for Hills was the Civil Justice Centre in Manchester.
The company moved back into profit. A new non executive director, Robin Williams was
Major new orders were won including a series of Schools in Scotland
This summary has been taken from the Hills website in 2008. By then we could no longer reasonably claim success. The company had succumbed to the many problems that had been brought about by the lack of controls which the management had been seeking to impose. The end when it came was the takeover by the utility company SSE. They promptly dismantled all of the hard work that had gone into building Hills. We had succeeded for 40 years, but the downfall when it came was bitter.
David Hill 2021