REC Ltd plans for further growth in the South – an interview with Regional Director, Stuart Phillips


Stuart PUK environmental consultancy – Resource & Environmental Consultants Ltd (REC) – started from humble beginnings in the South to now become a major player in the region. REC’s Regional Director – Stuart Phillips – explains how that came about and what’s planned next:

Hi Stuart – tell us about how the southern REC business started and how its built up since then?

REC has been around for over 20 years. Established in the North-West, we’ve always had a southern presence but it’s been relatively modest in terms of our Consultancy services for no other reason than we grew quicker in the North. In the last 5 years especially, we’ve grown in the South to become a major player particularly recognised for our Geo-Environmental services. We started with three staff and we’re now approaching 20 staff across 3 southern offices which is amazing and something I’m really proud of.

Why do you think REC in the South is such a great place to work and tell us a bit more about your team?

We’ve always had a strong local / regional ethos in terms of how we operate – our local knowledge, the strength of relationships with our clients and the employees that we have.

We’ve brought in quite a few staff straight from local universities and grown and developed them into more senior staff. For example, Ross in our Croydon office started with us as a graduate and is now a Senior Consultant there (see Ross’s graduate journey here ). We work really hard but we also enjoy what we do and we celebrate that with our clients at local REC client events such as our Winchester curry night, at their charity events, as well as being active members of the local Chambers of Commerce, Women in Property and so on. We’ve got great team spirit and enthusiasm and that shows in the work we provide to our clients and the professional and technical expertise we provide to them.

If you were advising someone about getting into environmental consultancy, what would you say?

The market for environmental consultancy continues to grow and we’ve certainly seen that here.

The environmental sector is a fascinating and diverse profession – from providing advice to developers seeking to obtain planning permissions through to regulatory compliance and reporting.  Not only that but environmental issues continue to be relevant – the air that we breathe, the environmental quality of our landscapes and neighbourhoods, human impact, plastics and waste, soil quality and erosion and of course dealing with climate change. That means there are a good deal of opportunities for recruitment – for example, REC is actively recruiting at all levels in the South to support our business in contaminated land and geotechnics, ecology, acoustics and air quality. For anyone looking to get into environmental consultancy whether from graduate or moving from another field, it’s essential to get relevant experience (internships for example) and also develop commercial acumen to balance with the technical.

What next for REC in the South?

Having grown our Geo-Environmental team and capability, we’re increasingly providing clients with our full breadth of services to support their needs and provide solutions including Ecology, Acoustics, Air Quality and Asbestos. We’re now growing those teams as well as looking to establish a presence in central London in response to our clients’ needs as well as seeking to provide environmental consulting services into our long-established Plymouth office and therefore providing South-West coverage.

REC is part of the Concept Life Sciences Group and in turn part of Spectris PLC which has provided us with the opportunity to be even more expansive in our plans – so it is really exciting times ahead for REC.

 Anything else?

There’s plenty of environmental challenges facing the UK and the South / South-East in particular. Air Quality is one of those challenges and London, not surprisingly, is a focal point with concerns about particulates from increased wood burning , from traffic and thoughts on Zero Emission Zones. REC has already undertaken many Air Quality Impact Assessments for clients with schemes in London and we see this as a major growth area going forwards.