Jamie Shelton on Northrop’s 40 years

by
interview with Nicola Coyle

Northrop Consulting Engineers’ Principal and Sydney Regional Manager, Jamie Shelton shares his thoughts on the company turning 40 and the value this holds for clients.

How has Northrop evolved over the past 40 years?

Northrop began as a small structural engineering business based in Canberra with just one owner and 2 staff. Today we have 24 owners, 309 employees and a turnover of $50M. As well as building and land development, we now offer eight engineering disciplines plus we’re servicing clients throughout the eastern seaboard across 7 offices.

What aspect of the company remains unchanged?

One of the unique things about Northrop is that we remain employee-owned. Being owned and managed by our senior engineers has served our clients well. When you work with Northrop, you work with engineers who are commercially savvy and bring to the table not just good engineering, but an understanding of good business.

What is Northrop’s core difference?

I think the fact that we’re client focused, first and foremost. In the 1980's Murray Northrop crystallised his ideas on "client side thinking" and began to embed it in within our DNA. He also recognised that individuals are drawn to working with those they like. This combination of human nature and learnt behaviour is the force behind our commitment to our clients and the value we place on our relationships.

What’s behind Northrop’s continued growth?

We work hard to attract and retain great people. Our culture of developing our people and providing fulfilling careers has enabled leadership and ownership to pass from generation to generation. In this way we retain great people and build our knowledge bank. Clients get the benefit of engineering teams lead by energetic, engaged owners who are supported by talented seasoned professionals.

What does it mean to reach this milestone?

The confidence and stability that comes with age means we are comfortable in our skin and clear why we're in the engineering business. We're not about to sell-out, we're not going to change our focus. You can rely on Northrop to boldly go wherever our clients require our help.

What can Northrop clients look forward to?

As opportunities present themselves, be they for projects, clients or our people, Northrop will steadily expand its geographic footprint and service offering. 40 years in, we’ve just taken our first step into Victoria, and we expect this organic growth to continue.

We understand that success is the journey defined by striving to be better. For those businesses that endure, this journey has its highs and lows. Rest assured that when the going gets tough Northrop will be there beside you, rolling up our sleeves.

How will you be celebrating this important occasion?

We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved and 40 years is certainly an achievement to celebrate.

We’ve shared the occasion with our clients at a big birthday bash at Sydney Tower, and the whole office took a Friday off for a family day at Luna Park.

Chief Executive Officer
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