Next year, rail engineering consultancy Interfleet will adopt the SNC-Lavalin name.
From January Interfleet, which in September officially opened a new office next door to its existing site in Derby, will formally assume the name of the Canadian owners that acquired the company in 2011.
It is a significant milestone in Interfleet’s history; probably the most significant moment since the mid- 1990s when the engineering division of InterCity entered the private sector after a successful management buy-out.
Since privatisation, Interfleet has grown from a staff of 99 to a 750-strong workforce worldwide, of which 450 are located in the UK.
‘I knew Interfleet from its earliest existence,’ said managing director Richard George, who during his 38-year career spent a period as strategy director for InterCity. Richard replaced David Rollin, who had been group managing director since 1994, in 2013, having spent the previous couple of years formulating the transport strategy for the London 2012 Olympics.
‘I’ve seen the public sector and I’ve seen the private sector, and I’ve seen 20 years of decline followed by 20 years of growth. That’s pretty much the way it feels.
‘We were going down hill for many years, and we’ve been going uphill for the last 20 which is fantastic.’ SNC-Lavalin, a multi-national civil engineering and construction company which has its headquarters in Montreal, was formed in 1991 following the merger of Surveyer, Nenniger & Chenevert Consulting Engineers (SNC) and Lavalin. The roots of SNC can be traced as far back as 1911.
Over the next few months, a carefully choreographed transition will play out, but Richard, the man put in charge of leading the change, doesn’t worry about losing one of the best known names in rail engineering.
‘We’re going to change the name, but we’re not going to change the culture. Our job is to push that culture into SNC-Lavalin, not the other way around. So, am I worried about us being flattened? Absolutely not.’
Derby will become the home of SNC-Lavalin’s global rail and transport division. Richard believes SNC-Lavalin House is representative of the growth the company is experiencing, as it looks to branch out further from its rolling stock roots into electrification and signalling projects.
‘I think the fear when Interfleet was bought was it would just be gobbled up and spat out by a great big, huge global player,’ says Richard. ‘Actually what’s happened is this great big global player called SNC- Lavalin has recognised what a talented bunch Interfleet are and is actually concentrating its growth and development on it rather than pushing it out.’