Wind industry veteran and chair of RenewableUK Julian Brown has joined the board of 3sun Group to help shape its further growth as a leading services supplier to the UK and international offshore wind sector.
Mr Brown takes a seat as a non-executive director on the six-strong board of the growing business as it moves into its second decade.
Approaching the end of his four-year tenure as RenewableUK chair, Mr Brown said the Great Yarmouth-based company was an "inspirational” force in the wind sector with a powerful reputation at home and abroad, and a business model that “the industry needs to go forward.”
His role will be to work with CEO Graham Hacon on its strategy for future growth and international development.
3sun Group has grown its business to 85% renewables from 50% renewables, 50% oil & gas two years ago, offering clients creative solutions and cost reductions across its scope including pre-assembly, installation, inspection and operations and maintenance services.
Brown, co-founder and director of growing technical consultancy 8.2 Aarufield, set up nearly three years ago, said: “I have known and watched 3sun Group for a long time.”
“I have always admired Graham’s ethics, attitude and approach to business. I have particularly admired his emphasis on training and the ‘train to retain’ ethos. His model of business is what the industry needs to go forward.”
“I am coming to the end of my second term as chairman of Renewable UK and I am keen to contribute in other non-exec roles in the industry I am so passionate about. 3sun is an excellent example of the profile of company I would like to be involved in.”
An entrepreneur with a background in manufacturing and managing high-headcount workforces, he brings his extensive network across the UK and internationally to the 3sun Group boardroom.
SMEs had to be agile to meet the wind industry’s demand to bring down costs, he said.
“3sun is in a unique place and comes with no baggage. It has carved a role for itself as a provider of skills and delivering work on wind farms already in operation as well as in installation and commissioning. It hits above its weight as a result of the powerful reputation it has built.
“It can work all over the industry, in all aspects of a wind farm as well as geographically, and shows leadership through its outstanding performance in health and safety, training and best practice – and that is how you grow a business.”
3sun Group CEO and founder Graham Hacon said Mr Brown’s membership of the board signalled an exciting era of ambition and new growth.
“To have someone with the breadth and depth of experience Julian has brings an exceptional new dimension to our board and business as 3sun enters a new chapter in a maturing offshore wind market that offers new opportunities for our widening portfolio of services in the UK and international markets.
“Our people are thrilled that Julian has chosen us to work with and support shaping our strategy for the next 10 years of 3sun Group.”
3sun Group, which employs more than 300 people, has recently expanded its operations in Denmark to a bigger base, adding new services.
Mr Brown, former head of AREVA Wind in the UK and who established the turbine blade factory on the Isle of Wight, said he had been struck by the “sense of purpose” of 3sun Group, which spent £1.4million on staff training last year.
“3sun’s contribution to the industry by training. They do a lot of work with ex-forces, bringing them into the sector so there is a greater pool to draw on and they take this expertise abroad. They are already working in Germany, Belgium and Denmark and their international presence will just grow.”
“Reputations are hard-earned and quickly lost. I hope to be part of securing and continuing to develop that.”
3sun Group is currently recruiting to train 70 more inspection technicians in the UK, which will take staff numbers to almost 400 from fewer than 300 at the end of 2016.
3sun Group employs over 5% of all people working in offshore wind in the UK, has inspected more than 70% of the UK’s offshore wind turbines - 1,400 in 2017 alone - and has clocked up more than 1.5million employee hours in wind turbine installation and servicing.
Its engineers have installed more than 4,300 turbines, 281 in 2017.