An Aberdeen-based hydraulic solutions provider has been shortlisted for two export awards in recognition of its commitment to diversification and international growth.
Schoolhill Hydraulic Engineering (Schoolhill), a family-owned firm with a 67-year history in the city, has been nominated in two categories of the Scottish Export Awards 2017: Micro Exporter of the Year and Most Entrepreneurial Exporter of the Year.
The company, which employs a team of 30, designs and manufactures tailored hydraulic solutions to meet client companies' specific requirements. Schoolhill delivers specialist equipment and support services across a diverse range of business sectors, including oil and gas, subsea and whisky distilling.
The Scottish Export Awards, which are run in association with Scottish Enterprise, recognise excellence in international trade across Scotland. Schoolhill has gained a strong foothold in the USA with clients across Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, New York State and California. The company exports to a further 27 countries worldwide spanning Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Australia.
Schoolhill's selection as a finalist follows the company's successful penetration of the overseas cooperage and whisky distilling industry. In the past year it has gained substantial orders from the sector, with a value of over £1 million. A long history of supplying the Scotch whisky industry with barrel working machinery has acted as a springboard for the international expansion.
Ronald Whyte, managing director, Schoolhill Hydraulic Engineering, said: “This is the first time we have entered an awards scheme of this type and we are honoured that our exporting efforts have been acknowledged by the Scottish Export Awards judging panel. Our international expansion comes as a result of considerable business development work at home and abroad over the past 18 months. This work allowed us to identify new business opportunities and was followed up with two significant research and development projects for new machines.
“We continue to retain strong links with the energy industry, however the oil and gas downturn prompted us to actively pursue new markets and business areas. This strategy has been particularly successful in terms of creating overseas interest in our whisky and wine barrel operations. We are delighted to be able to export the expertise we have accumulated over the years in developing bespoke and specialist machinery for Scottish cooperages and distillers.
“We are hopeful that we can take advantage of further opportunities. Our work with the whisky industry has led to several equipment enquiries for ‘drain and fill' operations and we are now seeking to broaden our machinery offering into this area. This is an area we had not previously targeted but we have responded to client interest and can now offer a turnkey solution, including palletising and barrel conveying equipment.
“Our overarching aim is to create diversity, security and growth for the company and the Schoolhill team, who were delighted to learn of our finalist status in two award categories.”
Schoolhill Hydraulic Engineering will be well represented at the Scottish Export Awards ceremony, which takes place on Wednesday, 22 March at Hilton Glasgow. Further information about the company's activities, products and services is available at www.schoolhillengineering.com.
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