Hawk is flying high on back of investment

(from left) David Nixon and Barry Johnson, Directors of Hawk Lifting near Grimethorpe. Picture: Enterprising Barnsley
(from left) David Nixon and Barry Johnson, Directors of Hawk Lifting near Grimethorpe. Picture: Enterprising Barnsley
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Business is on the up for Hawk Lifting.

The Barnsley company, which designs, manufactures, supplies and inspects a wide range of lifting gear and rigging equipment, is confidently predicting turnover will reach £1 million this year.

Hawk’s achievement comes just six years after the company was launched by David Nixon and Barrie Johnson in Barrie’s garage and immediately after the duo invested £100,000 in specialist machinery to enable them to manufacture more of their own bespoke engineered and wire rope product.

The Grimethorpe company has also recruited an in-house design engineer, so that it can take on more design and build commissions to meet clients’ specific needs.

Hawk’s successes have included supplying hundreds of metres of black wire-rope and lifting gear that raised the Olympic rings and smoking chimneys at the spectacular opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics.

“We were a small cog in a big wheel,” says Hawk director David Nixon. “But it was exciting to be involved in such a huge national celebration and to try and spot our wire ropes on TV.”

The company has designed crane beams for Morrisons’ food production lines and inspected complex roof structures at the FA’s Burton-on-Trent National Football Centre.

It also designed hooks and lines that enable life-size models of dinosaurs to move their heads and acrobats to perform hundreds of feet above the ground in shows that tour the world, such as Walking with Dinosaurs and Cirque de Soleil’s Zarkana.

Clients include Outokumpu, Forgemasters and the Royal National Theatre, as well as Stage One Creative Services of York, through whom the company secured the work on the Olympics and the other spectacular shows.

Hawk supplies the off-shore oil and gas market and exports to India, New Zealand, Gibraltar and Libya. The company has even supplied winches for a sultan’s yacht

“We’ve surprised ourselves how quickly we’ve grown and gained clients. People have sought us out,” says David Nixon.

Hawk is now planning to double its turnover in the next three years and create further jobs, with the help of Enterprising Barnsley, which supports high-growth businesses in the borough.

Enterprising Barnsley’s John Heckingbottom, said: “It’s great to see a Barnsley SME building its reputation as a specialist manufacturer and supplier to national and international clients.”