Futureserv team Futureserv p Futureserv

The Futureserv team in Manchester. Credit: via Futureserv

Futureserv becomes employee-owned

The Manchester-based engineering consultancy is the latest company to embrace the employee ownership trust model.

Futureserv founders Craig and David Cleary have retained a minority stake in the company, but most of the shares have been transferred to the trust.

Founded in 2010, Futureserv has more than 60 employees. The consultancy offers advice and design services regarding mechanical, electrical, public health, and vertical transportation.

Notable projects include the residential towers at New Victoria and the refurbishment of Hanover House in Manchester.

In Liverpool, Futureserv worked on the creation of the University of Liverpool’s Yoko Ono Lennon Centre and the expansion of the university’s Derby and Hartley buildings.

Other projects include Birkdale Retirement Village in Southport and the £77.5m transformation of the Carlisle Citadels into a University of Cumbria campus.

Futureserv has more than 60 employees spread out across three offices. In addition to its Manchester headquarters, the company has bases in Liverpool and Leeds.

“Today marks a new chapter in Futureserv’s history,” said founder Craig Cleary.

“Ever since our first hires joined the business, we have retained a real sense of family across Futureserv, so it felt a natural next step in our journey to transfer to employee ownership,” he continued.

“This model gives everyone the opportunity to take a stake in the business’s future and feel a real sense of ownership of Futureserv, from our staff through to our partners and clients.”

Cleary’s co-founder, Dave Cleary, agreed.

Dave Cleary added: “As a building services consultancy, our greatest asset will always be our talented team of engineers and support staff. Moving to an employee-owned business will ensure that Futureserv’s continued success provides benefits for all and also help attract the brightest, forward-thinking candidates in the future.

“Over the last 12 years witnessing the company grow to over 60 staff across three office locations has been incredible, the new structure provides both a succession plan and opens up clear opportunities for career progression.”

Azets provided tax and corporate advice to the Futureserv founders regarding the transition to an EOT. Napthens Solicitors gave legal advice. HSBC provided a senior debt facility.

Keith Melling, head of corporate and partner at Napthens, praised the Clearys for the decision to have the company become employee-owned.

“David and Craig have done a remarkable job with Futureserv over the past twelve years and it’s inspiring to see the team they have built over that time take the reins,” Melling said.

“Employee ownership is an increasingly popular option for owners looking to pass the business they have built from scratch into trusted hands. As a firm, we are speaking with more owner-managed businesses about the prospect, with the model having considerable cross-sector appeal.”

Jenny Pape, tax partner at Azets, echoed Melling’s sentiments.

“Futureserv is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values, and an emphasis on the quality of its people,” she said.

“It has been a privilege to assist Craig and David with this significant transition and I am confident that the company has a bright future as an employee-owned business.”

Futureserv is the sixth company Place has documented as transitioning to employee-owned status this year, joining the ranks of architecture firms Shedkm and Day Architectural, industrial agency B8 Real Estate, engineering consultancy Crookes Walker, and landscape architect, urban design, and visualisation firm Planit-IE.

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