- What is your role at Houghton International?
I’m Houghton International’s business development manager, responsible for identifying new opportunities, tendering for work and contributing to the strategic growth of the business. I joined Houghton International six years ago as a sales administrator before progressing into business development. I now work closely with all areas of the business, from sales to operations, to generate new business and ensure our customers’ needs are met.
- What does Houghton International do?
Houghton International improves the performance of electro mechanical assets around the world. We use our technical expertise to work with customers to solve their problems, offering a high-quality monitoring, maintenance, repair and life extension service for motors, generators, pumps and all electrical rotating equipment.
Founded in 1984 by the parents of the current CEO, Michael Mitten, to serve just one customer, Houghton International has since experienced growth significantly. We now occupy 135,000 sq ft of world-class engineering space on Shields Road in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, working with hundreds of customers globally.
Houghton International operates across a range of sectors, from transport to renewables, and delivers a wide range of services, from standard maintenance work to reverse engineering, project management and R&D. We also have a dedicated high voltage coil manufacturing facility, and from here we export to customers all around the world.
- What gets you out of bed in a morning?
In reality, it’s usually Mila, my little girl! But the work we do is really interesting and no two days are the same. Our office has a fairly small team so we all pitch in and help each other out, but we all have our own part to play too.
I like knowing that the work we do has a positive impact on the world – whether that’s helping reduce energy usage, ensuring people have a reliable supply of utilities to their homes and businesses, or keeping hospitals running safely and efficiently. It’s always nice to know that, in big ways or small ways, we’re making a difference.
- What makes Houghton International different?
Houghton International has a strong set of core values that guide everything we do: we protect and develop our people to be the best; we work as one team to deliver an exceptional customer experience; we are open, honest and always act with integrity; and innovation drives our business.
We know how important it is to invest in the future of industry. Through our apprenticeship and training schemes we are creating the next generation of engineers, ensuring key skills are passed down and tackling the industry-wide challenge of an aging workforce.
- What are the businesses greatest strength?
We’re a team of problem solvers. Whatever the challenge, we’ll find a solution. We’ve got a track record of innovative R&D work, including reverse engineering and life extension projects ranging from hybrid buses to wind turbines. We have developed high voltage coils for electric vehicles, electric aircraft, and tidal and hydro generators. Our work has made trains across the UK operate more reliably, reduced downtime in critical liquid natural gas terminals and helps ensure dependable water supply across the North East and beyond.
- What are your primary markets / sectors?
Historically Houghton International was focused on manufacturing high voltage coils and carrying out repairs and maintenance for the UK rail industry. The business has since diversified significantly, and we now operate across a far wider range of sectors, including industrial & manufacturing, power generation & renewables, water, and marine. Our customers range from small, local manufacturers to international blue-chip corporations and we export to over 30 countries worldwide.
- Do you have growth plans for the future?
Definitely! We are seeing increasing demand from cleantech sectors such as renewables and advanced manufacturing, and it is fantastic to be adding value to growing industries that will no doubt be a critical part of the future. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious and net zero targets loom, we are also seeing a return to a culture of ‘repair-not-replace,’ with owners and operators looking to reduce waste and keep assets running for longer – and more efficiently too.
We can see wide scope for growth, and we have the people, culture, skills and experience to make it happen.