Construction group chairman Philip Hollister and accounts office manager Mike Westwood are celebrating half a century with Sheffield-based JF Finnegan.
Philip Hollister has been involved with some of JF Finnegan’s most notable developments, including Sheffield Parkway Business Park, Commercial Street offices, Wards Exchange and Butcher Works, as well as projects like the development of Q-Park’s ‘Cheesegrater’ car park in Charles Street and Sheffield City College.
Mr Hollister says: “The property industry has completely changed since my early career but the company’s ethos for reliability and deliverability has remained unchanged and it is this, along with our retention of existing clients and quest for identifying new sectors, which I’m certain has ensured our long-term success.
“Having worked through several recessions, this recent worldwide one has undoubtedly been the most challenging.
“Unlike previous years when only certain sectors were hit, there has been such widespread uncertainty. We employed a new strategy of diversification in the late 1990’s, identifying that a varied portfolio of work in both our contractual and developmental projects would enable us to ride out the inevitable peaks and troughs which different sectors experience.
“This approach still remains key as opportunities will emerge from the recession and those who are poised and ready to capitalise on them will flourish.”
Mr Hollister says he considers himself lucky to have worked through a period when there have been so many advances in technology that have transformed the way the construction industry works.
However, he thinks it is important to maintain some traditions.
“In my early career sub-contracting wasn’t yet the norm and companies directly employed all the staff from joiners through to plumbers. As the industry has evolved, we have tried to retain those traditions that built our reputation and as a result still carry out our own joinery works.”
Finnegan’s joiners have made bespoke fittings for prestige projects like the Emirates Lounge at Manchester Airport as well as individual windows for listed buildings like Butcher Works.
Mr Hollister says: “Despite working on projects nationwide, we have always seen it is a priority to contribute to our city and we are proud of our legacy of development.
“We are now seeing signs of, and readily acknowledging, recovery within the property market and South Yorkshire is uniquely placed to capitalise on this. The region has excellent connectivity, great resources with its power supply, lots of land opportunities, the Advanced Manufacturing Park which is a coup for the region, a superbly skilled workforce and a real desire among those working in the sector to ensure its success.”