Q&A: Gary Jones, Founding Director

Tell us a little bit about your background?

I graduated from Leeds University in 1978 with an honours Degree in Civil Engineering – specialising in Concrete Testing in the final year before joining ready mix concrete where I controlled all technical aspects of concrete mix design, production and quality assurance for five ready – mixed concrete plants.

How did your journey with Celtest start?

Along with the current managing director, Eric Goulden, we established Celtest in December 1980 to provide a materials testing service to the construction industry. I developed and implemented Celtest’s management system which facilitated accreditation to UKAS (September 1989) and subsequent extensions of scope to today’s level of testing services. We were listed with PERA International as consultants under the UK Department of Trade & Industries Enterprise Initiative in July 1990 and were commissioned for almost forty consultancy assignments to assist companies towards quality accreditation listed under areas of expertise including ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems, UKAS laboratory approval and quality training.  These skills primarily, but not exclusively, applied to the construction industry.

How has the company grown over the years?

Through self-financing and reinvesting our earnings. We have grown organically, with 90% of our current managers having grown with the company, with our people being our most important asset. Our first major contract was quality assurance for a large concrete and asphalt producer.

What’s been a highlight for you?

“One of our proudest moment would be purchasing our present site in Trefelin, which transformed our business.”

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the UK construction sector?

The uncertainty surrounding BREXIT, labour and skill shortages, and the adoption of technology.

From all that you’ve learnt throughout your career and the experiences that you’ve had through both work and life what would be the one piece of advice that you’d give?

Never burn your bridges, don't be afraid to admit you've made a wrong decision and don't make enemies.