Staff at road preservation experts Velocity, part of the Reece Group, have celebrated success as North East export champions… with the launch of a new £150,000 machine specifically designed to tackle the pothole backlog here in the UK.
The Sunderland firm won the North East Exporter of the Year award at the Stadium of Light last week, having previously beaten all-comers from across the Durham and Wearside region.
The prestigious success was a reward for their clinching of a seven-figure deal to supply their technology and services to the Latin American market. That deal created six new full-time jobs at the company’s Sunderland workshop.
However, Velocity believe the road to success remains here in the UK and with that they are looking to recruit at least a further five operators to meet the increasing demand for their services.
“We were absolutely delighted to win the North East Exporter of the Year award,” said managing director Dominic Gardner. “It is due recognition for the incredibly hard work our people have put into what represents the biggest deal in our history, taking our expertise to countries across South and Central America.
“Additionally through the support of parent company, The Reece Group, Velocity has invested further in its UK fleet of specialist road repair vehicles with the launch of a new state-of-the-art machine.
Mr Gardner continued: “Whilst we are seeking to expand overseas, our main focus remains here in the UK market, helping local authorities to tackle the country’s major pothole problem.
“There is now an urgent need not only to get to grips with the existing pothole backlog but to take preventative measures to ensure tomorrow’s potential potholes don’t form.
“But tackling the nation’s pothole backlog is a double-edged sword because pothole numbers are increasing at a time when council budgets are being dramatically reduced.
“We have every sympathy with the authorities who are trying to deal with what is undoubtedly a massive headache, while the government’s hands are tied due to austerity measures.
“But the road network is this country’s biggest asset so it’s vital that everything possible is done to maintain it and ensure it does not continue to deteriorate.
“There is no magic wand but our message to highways authorities is that we are here to help. We repaired more than 200,000 potholes last year but we could do many more.
In an amazing 12 months since a takeover by the Newcastle-based Reece Group, Velocity’s quick-fire success has seen them maintaining roads from Stirling in the north to Kent and Hampshire on England’s south coast.
Having repaired 10% of the 2.2 million potholes fixed across the UK in 2012, their teams are also currently carrying out work as part of major contracts with highways authorities in Hereford, Hertfordshire, Cheshire, Essex and Moray.
While the government says it has given councils more than £3bn to maintain roads, the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) says local authorities may need as much as £10.5bn to restore the country’s “crumbling roads”.
Velocity’s complete road repair service includes specialised machines, materials and three-strong operation teams.
Capable of repairing up to 150 potholes per day at a fraction of the cost of conventional methods, their self-contained machines – manufactured in the company’s Sunderland workshops – carry all the necessary equipment and materials to repair all manner of road defects.
Reece Group subsidiary Pearson Engineering, which makes counter mine equipment for the military market, has worked closely with the Velocity manufacturing team to make their production process ready for larger volumes.