When brothers John and Thomas Jepps went into business together they felt that calling themselves the “Jepps Brothers Ltd” made them sound a bit more Del Boy and Rodney than the refined engineers they are so the pair looked to their spouses Caroline Thomas and Sarah Mackay for inspiration; the brothers cleverly combined the maiden names of their significant others and that’s how reputable firm Thomas Mackay Ltd got its name (and the men probably got some brownie points too).
Where it all began
The whirlwind journey from employee to employer started back in May 2008. The Jepps, who at the time both worked for the same firm, decided that through ownership of their own business they could, as always, use their combined skills to successfully win work and do a job with confidence but improve things for themselves too by becoming directors which gave them the control.
John, older by 18 years, was working for the Environment Agency when Simon, fresh out of university, landed a job with a purveyor of flood defences and it wasn’t too long before he brought John into the company with him. They both continued to work for a number of years developing their skills and experience in the industry.
It was just before the recession when the Jepps handed in their resignations to their then employer. Simon had just returned from his honeymoon and John’s wife had recently given birth to their first child so it was a hectic time for everyone but they had been working on their own business model and, busy as it was, the time was now right.
Flood, sweat and tears
Thomas MacKay Ltd is, just like their previous place of work, an independent consultancy which specialises in the field of flood risk and water resources but John and Simon wanted to ensure this company was more customer focused than others with a better standard of communication which would in turn lead to a higher quality of work.
It is their belief that making time freely at the beginning of a potentially partnership will pay dividends in the long run and it’s for this reason that they are able to successfully collaborate on innovative projects like no other consultancy. John and Simon seem to have found a winning formula and you only have to look at the work they do with Leeds Uni and overseas contractors to find the proof. Actually they still even work with their old firm who taught them so much which makes for a very nice bit of team work.
In the early days the company consisted of just the two men and one office in Pudsey but now they have a strong team of 9 working from 4 offices throughout the country.
They took on their 1st employee in November 2011, 3 years after the business began, and they describe him as a quiet genius who was out of work at the time but came on board to help with a busy spell and happened upon his niche and now it’s that method which has now helped build the rest of their successful team.
John and Simon believe it is important to make sure that their staff are happy and even though this is a small business pensions and sick pay provisions have been put in place.
The company has gone from strength to strength over the years and in fact they have just completed their single largest piece of work to date which involved using their knowledge to prepare a handbook which details how to calculate the yield from water supplies such as ground water and reservoirs. This handbook is so highly regarded that it will now be the “go to” resource for everyone from water companies and regulators to the environment agency themselves.
Thomas Mackay Ltd regularly receive large contracts from the Environment Agency and lots of small private contracts but they smiled most when they were contracted to design, apply for and build an embankment to protect a private property with a high flood risk although it wasn’t the project that was amusing. They had been employed by the home owner and it was his statement that “at this stage of his life this work is more important than his wife” which made that job special.
Riding the waves
Ever since Simon was born John the brothers have been going on adventures together and it would seem that this professional enterprise is simply another to enjoy; the future certainly looks exciting.