Firm grew fast from of­fer­ing home-grown fish­ing fleet sup­port to global en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tions

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - BUSINESS -

Ace Winches was founded at Mont­blet­ton, near Banff, in 1993 by chief ex­ec­u­tive Al­fie Cheyne and his wife, Va­lerie.

It was set up as a small en­gi­neer­ing re­pair work­shop to carry out ser­vic­ing and re­pairs for the Scot­tish fish­ing fleet.

The firm grew quickly. It had 10 em­ploy­ees in 18 months and made a break­through into the man­u­fac­ture of deck ma­chin­ery, with a winch built for the Scot­tish Fish­eries Marine Lab­o­ra­tory ves­sel Sco­tia.

De­cline in the fish­ing in­dus­try from 2000 brought a new set of chal­lenges and prompted a change in di­rec­tion into new mar­kets, such as oil and gas, off­shore marine and more re­cently re­new­ables.

To date, the com­pany has de­liv­ered en­gi­neered deck ser­vices for more than 2,500 projects in 50-plus coun­tries.

As well as two Queen’s Awards, the firm and its CEO have won a string of hon­ours over the years.

There were cel­e­bra­tions for Mr Cheyne and his work­force in Septem­ber 2013, when the firm of­fi­cially opened its new head­quar­ters at Towie Bar­clay Works, near Tur­riff, af­ter an in­vest­ment of about £11mil­lion.

A high­light was a visit by the Princess Royal to open the site and present the com­pany with its sec­ond Queen’s Award.

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