The Brenig Construction Group, based in Mochdre, near Colwyn Bay, was established by joint managing directors Mark Parry and Howard Vaughan.
The duo became lifelong friends after first met as six-year-old boys at their local youth club in Glan Conwy in 1987.
They say their friendship has been a crucial ingredient in the company’s success
From a standing start in 2012, Brenig now employs 70 people directly and is turning over £11 million a year, with £21 million of work already secured in future contracts.
In 2016 at the Fast Growth 50 awards, they were named as the fastest growing construction company in Wales and the fastest growing North Wales firm in any sector thanks to a remarkable 770.2 per cent growth over a two-year period.
It might all have been very different though. Mark initially had ambitions to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the army so he could travel the world.
But one day at Howard’s home he picked up a prospectus for a civil engineering course and his career path took an abrupt about turn.
They both became civil engineers but their working lives took them in different directions until they were reunited at Dawnus Construction.
They had always harboured ambitions to set up their own company and their first major contract was a high profile environmental improvement programme on the Parc Peulwys estate in Llysfaen above Old Colwyn.
The work was sub-contracted to them and it gave them their first contact with the Cartrefi Conwy housing association who commissioned the job and would go on to play an important role in Brenig’s history.
Last year they moved into their new headquarters at the business park in Mochdre which they built for Cartrefi Conwy – but such is their rate of growth it is already becoming a bit of a tight squeeze.
They have now embarked on a joint venture called Calon Homes with Creating Enterprise, a subsidiary of the housing association, and have lodged a planning application to build 111 “smart” homes in their home village of Glan Conwy, creating 500 new jobs in the process.
The ground-breaking initiative, the first of its kind in Wales, has the full blessing of the Welsh Government’s and Creating Enterprise’s 50 per cent share of the profits will be ploughed back into social housing and employment and training opportunities for their tenants.
The original plan was to restrict their field of operation to civil engineering and groundworks but the vision has now evolved and expanded into complementary areas.
Their portfolio now also includes maintenance, social housing, commercial housing and plant hire.
Alongside Calon Homes, the group now also includes a smaller scale housebuilding operation, Brenig Homes which has three small-scale, high-end sites on the go.
Mark said: “One of the things we’re most proud of is the level of employment in the local area, the vast majority of people who work for us come from the county of Conwy and we have a high number of Welsh speakers.
“To be honest I think we’re going to have to look at a new office because we’re outgrowing it. The trajectory of our growth is so steep that we’re outgrowing our current premises.
“Within 12 months I think we’ve far exceeded what we ever thought in terms of the business plan.
“We’ve already got £21 million secured for the next financial year, so we’re going to double our turnover essentially but what we’ve got to do is grow sustainably.
“So, we’ll probably smooth out the transition, so our turnover target really is more around £15 million.
“Our recruitment has been very strategic. We took a decision at board level 12 months ago that we would invest in the people, rather than win the work and then go and find the people. Instead, we found the people to allow us to win the work and deliver it successfully.”
According to Howard, he and Mark have complementary skillsets, a shared sense of humour and a competitive streak that was obvious from the outset when they were playing computer games.
Howard said: “Three decades later, we jumped ship. People thought we were made leaving good, well-paid jobs. It was a risk but it was one we were prepared to take. It was a big decision but we believed in ourselves.
“Being such close friends and having that understanding helps massively because we understand how each other operates, what makes us tick.
“I’m more operationally minded whereas Mark is more strategic, so between us within the business it makes a really good team. We’ve got that whole package between the two of us.
“We come together every day to drive the business forward on the same level and it really strengthens us as a partnership.
“We’re also determined to stay true to our roots. What we do is about much more than just the bottom line. It’s about supporting the community wherever we’re working.”