A WORLD-leading Wallsend company has been given a right royal thumbs-up.
Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) has been presented with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the international trade category by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Nigel Sherlock.
The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of remote exploration equipment used in hazardous environments around the world.
Mr Sherlock was taken on a tour of SMD’s heavy production facilities at its Davy Bank factory and shown some of its latest trenching vehicles.
SMD’s latest product – the Atom remotely-operated vehicle for sub-sea drill support, inspection, repair and maintenance – has already attracted orders from south east Asia and the Mediterranean.
The firm has expanded rapidly, increasing its workforce from 136 in 2010 to nearly 500 now and opening two new plants.
Its latest accolade is the second Queen’s award the company has won in successive years, having picked up one for innovation last year for its work-class remote vehicles.
Andrew Hodgson, the company’s chief executive, said: “Winning consecutive Queen’s awards is an outstanding achievement for the company and recognition of the exceptional work of our team.
“We were delighted to welcome the lord lieutenant, who was very impressed by the progress the company has made since we won the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2011.
“We have achieved significant growth in recent years through the penetration of international markets and new and existing industry sectors, which has enabled the continued expansion of our workforce and investment in new facilities and innovative manufacturing processes.”
Mr Sherlock wasn’t SMD’s only special guest this month as it was also paid a visit by Business Secretary Vince Cable during a trip to the north east that took in Offshore Group Newcastle’s Hadrian Yard base in Wallsend too.
Joanne Leng, director for business development at Durham-based enterprise encouragement organisation NOF Energy, said: “SMD continues to be one of the biggest success stories of the UK energy sector supply chain.
“Winning the Queen’s awards confirms the reputation the company has in global energy markets for quality, innovation and excellence and represents the talent and expertise the UK has to offer.”