Ross sets off on a new voy­age of en­ter­prise

The Oban Times - - BUSINESS -

A FORMER chief en­gi­neer in the Mer­chant Navy is pro­vid­ing ma­chin­ing ser­vices to the ma­rine, au­to­mo­tive, forestry, agri­cul­ture and fish farm­ing sec­tors.

Ross Weir set up Lock 3 En­gi­neer­ing, based in Ar­dr­ishaig, with sup­port from Busi­ness Gate­way Argyll and Bute, af­ter leav­ing the mer­chant navy to spend more time with his young fam­ily.

The en­gi­neer­ing ma­chine shop pro­vides re­pair and re­man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­ity through­out Argyll and Bute to cus­tomers from var­i­ous in­dus­tries.

Ross said: ‘I ac­tu­ally be­gan my ap­pren­tice­ship as a ma­chin­ist be­fore join­ing the mer­chant navy, work­ing as a ju­nior en­gi­neer on ves­sels from oil tankers to su­per yachts.

‘Over the years I worked my way up to chief en­gi­neer, but I never lost in­ter­est in ma­chin­ing and, while at sea, I would of­ten carry out the ma­chin­ing work.

‘Around two years ago I de­cided that I wanted to leave the mer­chant navy as the con­stant trav­el­ling and work­ing away meant I was miss­ing out on qual­ity time with my fam­ily.

‘When I came home I re­alised that most of the old ma­chin­ists had re­tired and there was a gap in the mar­ket for an old-style ma­chine shop.

‘Due to the ru­ral na­ture of where we live, I felt there was a real op­por­tu­nity to set up what could be­come a prof­itable busi­ness.

‘Busi­ness Gate­way’s sup­port and work­shops were very help­ful and gave me the knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion I needed to set up Lock 3 En­gi­neer­ing prop­erly.

‘Over the past year I’ve also gained ad­vice on mar­ket­ing and how to take on a mod­ern ap­pren­tice, which is some­thing I hope to do in the near fu­ture.’

So far Ross is de­lighted with the re­sponse his busi­ness has had since of­fi­cially launch­ing last spring. His aim for the rest of this year is to con­tinue to grow his cus­tomer base and se­cure more work in the wind and hy­dro tur­bine sec­tor.

Ross added: ‘The re­sponse I’ve had has been very pos­i­tive and I’m meet­ing lots of peo­ple who need our ser­vices.

But I also think, from speak­ing to in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies, that there may be a need for larger, gen­eral en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices and, with my ex­pe­ri­ence in heavy en­gi­neer­ing and power gen­er­a­tion, I’m think­ing of even­tu­ally head­ing in this di­rec­tion. But for the short term my aim is to take on an ap­pren­tice through the mod­ern ap­pren­tice­ship scheme and make sure my name and our rep­u­ta­tion is well known in the area.’

Busi­ness Gate­way ad­viser Bar­bara Hal­l­i­day said: ‘Ross is us­ing his 28 years of ex­pe­ri­ence to of­fer a ser­vice that was lack­ing in this area for a while.

‘With our one-to- one sup­port and by at­tend­ing our fully-funded work­shops, Ross has en­sured he is in the best po­si­tion to de­velop and grow Lock 3 En­gi­neer­ing into a thriv­ing busi­ness.’

To find out more about how Busi­ness Gate­way can help you set up and de­velop your own busi­ness, visit bgate­ or call 01546 808363.

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