For businesses based in the Republic of Ireland, the Armagh area can present an attractive proposition for expansion into Northern Ireland in terms of location, accessibility and availability of employees. For Brendan Mee, CEO of MTM Engineering Group, this was most certainly the case when he set about securing an office space to facilitate the growth of his well established family business. We caught up with him about what appealed about the Armagh region in general and in Formation Works in particular.
- Tell us a bit about MTM Engineering
MTM Engineering Group is a specialist cable installation and terminator contractor. We are currently working in about 11 countries across Europe and the Middle East. We employ around 700 people and we specialise in turnkey installations.
MTM was formed in 1997 by my parents, Martin and Patricia Mee. It’s now a second generation family company. I took over the business in around 2013. At that stage it had around 12 staff and since then, myself and my family have grown the business significantly. Last year we took on investors, Waterland Private Equity, who took a stake in the company to allow us to grow it further. We’ve done that through organic growth – taking on more staff and more business – but also through acquisitions, having just recently secured our third acquisition. We’re acquiring adjacent services to those we already provide. Our core business would be mains electrical solutions and now we’re incorporating the like of fibre optic caballing, so it has allowed us to provide parallel services in order to facilitate our growth into the future.
- With a base established in the Republic of Ireland, what made you choose to have an office in Northern Ireland also? And why Armagh specifically?
Our main hub is in Grangegeath, Slane, County Meath and with our acquisitions now we also have offices in Clonmel in Tipperary and also in Dublin. However we are now doing a lot of work in the UK so strategically we wanted to establish an office in the North of Ireland. We picked Armagh – and this location in particular – for a multitude of reasons. The location of Formation Works just outside of Armagh city gives us a good labour pool and good access to engineering talent in this area. It’s also close to the M1 which is ideal for commuting up and down to Slane for meetings etc. Strategically for us it is the right place to be.
One of the main reasons for coming to Formation Works was because of the sheer capacity to grow. Our business has grown dramatically over the last 20 years and more so we knew we had to come to a place that could facilitate further growth when it comes. One of the main pluses was that we were assured we could take a space that suits our numbers now but that the team here could adapt to our needs as we grow further and for us that flexibility is what we need. From a capital perspective it suits us so well as we’re only paying for what we have now and then we can increase that expenditure as we increase capacity, so it’s a win win for us and exactly what we need.
- How have you found the team to deal with?
We found Stuart and Claire very easy people to deal with – very honest people and that’s so important to us in business. What you see is what you get and we appreciate that on both sides. When we moved in here nothing was a problem at all. We wanted to modify the office to suit our needs and Stuart and Claire took that on board and put us in touch with the right people for comms and networks and everything was just easy! From that perspective we really couldn’t have asked for any better.
- How long was the process from first enquiry until moving into the office?
From we first met Claire and Stuart and agreed to come on board into Formation Works, despite the fact they had some fitting out to do for us, the process was around 6 weeks maximum and could have been quicker if we wanted it to be. The whole process was very efficient and very fast
- How has the experience been to date at FW Armagh?
Brilliant! We chose Formation Works specifically because of the shared workspace environment and the collective of companies operating from here – all different entities with different skill sets and the social side of things really appealed to us. I know from feedback from the team up here they really enjoy working here because of the resources here like communal areas for tea, coffee and lunches etc and there is always craic to be had with the other Formation Works members! There’s also a shared learning experience to be achieved dealing with people outside of your own company. Even the likes of the group Pilates sessions really appealed – I think it’s so important to get outside of the work zone during breaks and it’s also great to see the social outings being organised – it all helps.
- If someone was considering moving into a Formation Works property what would your advice be?
For anyone considering coming to Formation Works, I couldn’t recommend it enough. For us as a business, it has been exactly what we were looking for. The spec of the building, the calibre of it, how easy the team have been to deal with, the parking, the connectivity, internet connection all top class – which is very important in our line of work. We really couldn’t be happier with our decision to come here – it was definitely the right move for us and as we grow the business it’ll facilitate that growth which is exactly what we need.