The Stableford Revolution | The Morson Story - Part Six

The Morson Group Story (13)
James Kenealey

by James Kenealey on

Morson Group has been celebrating 50 years in business in 2019. As part of our celebrations, we’ve created a book about the business; its foundations, its growth and its people. 

Over the next six weeks, we’re going to be releasing excerpts from the book, charting the Morson story from its earliest days to the present day.


During the 1990s, growth in the business was impressive, driven by the skill and relentless dedication of the team. In 1991, the business made its third office move to the larger premises at Stableford Hall on the edge of Worsley Golf Club in Monton. This provided the biggest leap in facilities yet for the business, and came at the start of a decade of huge growth for the business in both recruitment and design with several key directors also joining and re-joining the business. 

Paul Gilmour - Finance Director

Paul’s first job was with the firm that went on to become Deloitte where he worked and trained as chartered accountant.

Once qualified, he decided to make a break from the transient nature of auditing to find a new job in a role where he felt could make an impact within a business.

Whilst he had no sector in mind, Paul was keen to stay in Manchester, reminiscing that,

“Between 1986 and 1991, Manchester was really buzzing and that meant my only fixed criteria for my next job was for it to be based in there.”

One company stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Having been interviewed by Gerry and Brian Hurt at Clarendon Road, Paul decided that Morson was the company for him.

“During the interview, I was really drawn by the family feel of the business and whilst I’d had offers with much larger listed companies, the idea of working at Morson felt like a great opportunity, with plenty of responsibility working closely with the senior team” he says.

On 2nd September 1991, the same day Morson moved into their new Stableford premises, a 26-year-old Paul Gilmour began the next chapter of his career.


“Initially, I joined as financial controller and had the challenging task of taking over from the previous financial director who’d left before I joined. There was no official handover and I was really thrown in at the deep end.”

Paul remembers his early days in the job managing a team of nearly 20 people:

“Some of the accounts team had been there many years, like Pauline, Wendy and Marlene; but they all made me feel very welcome. What struck me straight away was the fact they were all good, capable, hard-working and helpful people. It was a great team to be part of.”

During the first 12 months of Paul’s time at Morson the company was under public ownership. Then, in 1992, Gerry and Ged made the decision to bring the business back into private ownership and Paul became acting financial director. Paul cites this as being the point at which the business really began to grow, “I was working closely with both Ged and Gerry with responsibility for Morson and Morson Projects, where turnover had reached around £30 million for recruitment and £2.5 million on the design side.”

Paul remembers these early years as being both challenging and rewarding.

“It required a lot of work and effort coping with the independence, working in a senior role alongside a senior and experienced team. But that was part of the appeal. When I started out, people used to say, ‘do two years, move, get experience’. Personally, I’ve had no need; there have always been exciting and interesting developments here at Morson.”

Challenge and reward manifested itself in a variety of ways during Paul’s career, most notably with a number of milestone moments.

“Securing private equity investment in 1999 was a fascinating world to step into and having to present regularly to investors certainly helped me develop. Our stock exchange listing in 2007 was really interesting too. There was much more emphasis on what my team and I were doing, with the department becoming much less private than it was before, but it was certainly a big achievement for everyone involved.” Paul cites de-listing years later as being equally fulfilling, “It was just as hard work as listing but bringing the business back into private ownership helped return a sense of control for us all, as well helping reinforce the sense of family that has always defined Morson.”

Kevin Gorton - Managing Director

Kevin Gorton first worked for Morson in the mid-late 1980’s, working first as a junior design engineer and then as a recruiter for the aerospace division.

After leaving the business in 1990 to finish his MBA and work for an American company, he met Ged and Gerry in a chance meeting on Christmas Day in 1994 and with Gerry planning retirement, Kevin was asked to come back.

“People had mixed views of me returning, but in terms of my evolution as an individual that period of time away from the business — working for someone else, learning and developing new things and bringing that experience back into the company — was fundamental.”

On his return in 1995, Kevin was asked to develop putting the bid management processes in place, “I sold it and implemented it. Within a couple of years, we won some major accounts and today we process over £400 million through the managed services programme.”

But he remembers things really taking off after the turn of the century.

“From 2005, the combination of the markets and the stars aligning, meant we ended up signing some significant contracts. Turnover kept going up, we became more profitable and that led to more investment, as well as the need to hire more people.”

This was also the period during which Morson was gearing up for its 2007 AIM listing.

“A new senior management structure had to be put in place and that’s when Ged became CEO and I moved into the role of managing director."

Kevin and Ged share a desk

On his first day in the Managing Director’s office, Ged Mason felt very comfortable.

“It wasn’t like a big bang or a huge announcement,” he recalls. “It had been a gradual handover, I was effectively mirroring what dad was doing and making more important decisions, so it wasn’t as a big a step as you’d think. It was a natural evolvement, I felt ready for it, I had the confidence then.”

Of course, Gerry was still in the picture.

“Dad was still on the phone to talk about big things I was doing and I could always bounce off him; it was great having someone like that,” says Ged. “It’s funny, having shared the office with my father at Stableford Hall, I still remained at my desk. Dad had the bigger desk and I had a slightly smaller one and just out of respect didn’t go and sit at his.”

Because Gerry still maintained a position on the board, Ged’s decision not to use his father’s desk meant he always had one to come back to.

“He’d come back in the summer and might be in the office two or three times. So that desk was always kept for him, to a point where we were really struggling for space,” remembers Ged. “Eventually Kevin Gorton, who was Business Development Director at the time, came in and used my dad’s desk. Even so, I still didn’t use it, meaning I ended up sharing an office with Kevin for a while. Good times.”

Watch our video'No Finish Line: The Story So Far' and hear the Morson story as told by those who have been part of it

Cx Jobs

Maintenance Engineer

Morson Talent are currently recruiting for a Maintenance Engineer on an initial 12 months FTC basis (Likely to be perm for the right candidate) in the Manchester area. Location Manchester Salary £37,000 + 20% uplift for occasional shift work Hours Days based - Occasional cover shift work (6-2 / 2-10) The Person: * NVQ 3 or above in Engineering ESSENTIAL * Multiskilled - Mechanically / Electrically biased * Various backgrounds considered: Manufacturing, Automotive, Food, Distribution Centres, Automated Warehouse, Recycling, Biomass, Packaging or Printing, Chemical Plant, Brewery, Paper, Manufacturing Plant, Electromechanical / Automated Plant. * Health and safety focused, good awareness and a can do attitude. Desirable: * Bottling, material handling, AGV's, stackers, palletisers * Pneumatics, hydraulics The Job: * Assist with breakdowns maintenance and reliability of electromechanical machinery, equipment, and plant. * Maintenance of various sections of the plant - PPM and fault finding * Monitor production process & machinery performance. * Assist with PPM & breakdown. * Continuous improvement If you are interested in a new opportunity and would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on 07739311930 or reply with an updated CV.

System Engineer

A Systems Engineer contractor is sought for a contract in Stevenage, Hertfordshire for a SATELLITE DIGITAL PROCESSOR SYSTEM ENGINEER position.Our client seek an expert in digital signal processor design and validation to join the design team responsible for the secure telecommand and telemetry system for a military communication satellite.The role requires an all-round grasp of the digital system, which includes both cryptographic and modem equipment, and its hardware implementation in order to support both system analyses and commissioning of prototype hardware. KEY SKILLS / PROVEN ABILITYProven Ability in any or all of the following topics will be valuable -Failure mode and related system analyses: FMEA / FMECA, single event effects and security analysis;Cryptographic processing and associated security functions;Modem functions (modulation and coding);Implementation of reliable digital signal processing hardware;FPGA-based prototyping and debugging;End-to-end RF communication systems testingSector knowledge: Space / Aerospace / Defence / Communications ADDITIONALTravel - Occasional travel to other UK sitesBase of Work - Following a familiarisation period on site this role will be working from home then working on site once COVID restrictions are lifted by the client - candidates must be able to work on site full time when required

Composite Technician - Aerospace Panels

Morson are currently looking for experienced composite technicians for our client for roles based in Stevenage.Job Profile Assembly and final assembly of sandwich aluminium composite panel production. Inclusive of: - Potting of inserts Bonding of various brackets and equipment Film adhesives Panel completion General hot and cold bonding processes Drilling, reaming etc. High tolerance requirements (typically better than 0.05mm in various areas). Experience Essential:- Ability to work from detailed drawings and electronic work instructions - within specific procedures Experience working to procedures with checkpoints/quality gates Previous experience such as mechanical fitter, close tolerance sheet metal worker, time served mechanical technician Experience in industries such as Space/Aerospace/Automotive/Motorsport etc. Ability to work in confined spaces above floor level Desirable:- Knowledge of satellite structure assemblies or similar Modern apprenticeship Clean room experience Shifts Weekly rotating double day shifts - 06:00hrs to 14:00 hrs 14:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs Some weekend working Saturday or Sunday may be required at peak times. Other There will be a skills test at interview The successful candidate will be required to pass BPSS security clearance before confirmation of contract offer. Free parking is provided for this role in a municipal car park located approximately fifteen minutes' walk from site.

Warehouse Operative

Warehouse operative Principal Responsibilities Health and safety: Must ensure that safe working practices as stipulated by the company are adhered to at all times. Undertake any relevant HSE training as required. Picking: Accurately collect parts from various locations within the warehouse without introducing errors. Packing: To consolidate picked goods in a secure manner for direct shipment to external/internal customers. 100% double check on picked items to achieve very high accuracy levels. Dispatch: Consolidate packages on the relevant pallet and prepare for collection, i.e. pallet wrapping / loading into carrier cages. Goods Inwards: Check deliveries for damage and check against the delivery note to ensure that we have received the correct quantities of the correct products. Using Rf scanners Communication: On a day-to-day basis communication between various departments is normal. Responsibility for dealing with day-to-day enquiries in a friendly yet professional manner applies to all logistics staff. Operation of a Powered industrial truck is desirable if operator holds licence and is authorised. Other key links & experience areas Customer Services Manufacturing/Goods In Carriers/Couriers ISC Office Please note that these roles are currently part time hours from 4pm - 8pm.

Skills and qualifications needed for a career in cyber security

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