New appointments to drive Metnor forward


Award-winning Metnor Construction Ltd has announced the appointment of Lee Kirk as senior operations manager, following the retirement of operations director, Jim Baldwin.

Jim had been with the company since it was established in 2002. He began as contract manager and progressed through to operations director.

Metnor Construction Ltd, is one of four divisions within the Metnor Group and in 2017 it recorded sales of £70 million. In June of this year the company was recognised for Innovation at the Constructing Excellence North East Awards and in 2017 was named the Northumberland and Tyneside Company of the Year in the North East Business Awards.

Lee, who has been with the company for nearly five years and steps up from his previous role as operations manager, said: “This personal recognition for myself is very much down to the guidance and knowledge I have gained from Jim, which has been invaluable.

“It is the culture of identifying new talent and nurturing it alongside high calibre, experienced managers, that is proving so successful for Metnor Construction. We have excellent progression paths and, in turn, I have embraced the opportunity to mentor younger members of our team.”

Such is his dedication to people development, Lee was this year awarded Mentor of the Year at the Generation4Change, North East Awards.

Lee said: “The real way of proving success will be when the younger construction professionals progress through the ranks, this will be the real achievement. I have learnt so much from Jim and I aim to share this knowledge and develop the skill set of the next generation who are at the beginning of their career journey. I have four operational apprentices working within my team and four assistant site managers, two of whom have recently been promoted to site managers through their own hard work.”

Over the last 18 months Jim and Lee have streamlined the operational team’s procedures and processes, as part of a continual improvement plan to enable colleagues to be more forward thinking and for teams to progress together. As part of that development of the business plan and changes to the structure, Mick Hutton, has been appointed to senior project manager to provide operational support to Lee Kirk in ensuring the implementation of the company processes and procedures and providing support to the project site teams.

In addition, the new structure also looks at bolstering the delivery model by also promoting Chris Johnson to senior project manager to assist with operational delivery in the South and support the contracts managers.

Jim said: “This has been a fantastic company to work for but now it is time for the next generation to steer us forward. I hope that my legacy will be a sound foundation based on the processes and procedures.

“Working with Lee was a good blend of old and new experience and he can draw on this going forward while putting his own stamp on the role, which he has already begun to do with our apprentices. Looking back over the years, there have been many changes and when a company grows it is important that new employees share the same values and sense of direction and I believe that is something we have achieved.

“A highlight for me and something that I take great pride and satisfaction in, is seeing our buildings being constructed around the country. There is no greater feeling than being in a city and seeing the rewards of your hard work having started the building at construction phase. As I say a fond farewell to the team, I am looking forward to viewing their new work against the back drop of industrial and commercial landscapes.”

Managing director at Metnor Construction, Chris Cant, said: “We have seen unprecedented levels of growth in a short space of time and when I was appointed as managing director my vision was clear, to grow by developing a structure of stability based on attracting and retaining the right people.

“We have grown our senior management team to eight people and I am proud that our recent promotions have all been internal appointments with colleagues who have the skills, confidence and commitment to take us to the next level.

“The mentoring structure now in place has allowed all teams to address strengths and weaknesses and establish personal progression plans. Under the leadership of Jim Baldwin, Lee has gained valuable knowledge and experience that will serve him very well going forward. He has already made his mark with the richly deserved accolade of ‘Mentor of the Year.’ Jim has very much passed on the batten to his apprentice. On behalf of everyone at Metnor Construction and from me personally, I would like to thank Jim for his friendship, loyalty and strong vision, which has been passed on to all of us.”