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Spotlight on WSP: A Global Company with Local Roots

This month our spotlight illuminates Team Lincolnshire ambassador WSP who are a world leading engineering professional services consultancy. 

We were excited to learn that despite being a global company with their headquarters in Canada, WSP’s roots originated much closer to home.

Williams Sale Partnership Limited was formed in 1969 and was an established building services consultancy in Surrey. The partnership was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987 as WSP, and over the next 25 years continued to acquire both UK and global companies, enabling the expansion of WSP’s skills portfolio.

WSP was acquired in 2012 by Genivar, a company made up of three Montreal-based businesses which created a world-class global professional services firm with expertise in the building, transport, infrastructure, industrial, energy and environment sectors.

In 2014 the company reorganised to become WSP Global Inc and adopted the WSP brand. The company has enjoyed continuous growth and enrichment of its service offering, which has resulted in them achieving a £6.6bn annual turnover and employing 55,000 professionals, of which over 7,000 are based in the UK.

Sustainability features heavily in the work carried out by WSP, who aspire to help their clients to address the challenges of net zero and the demand for digital service delivery, as well as helping address the intensification of cities and towns while satisfying the need to protect green space.

WSP clients consist equally of both public and private sector businesses and they work closely with several local authorities including Lincolnshire County Council (LCC). WSP are the Professional Services Partner of Lincolnshire Highways, and work alongside other partners including Team Lincolnshire ambassadors Balfour Beatty Living Places and Minster Surfacing.

A locally based team of 20 WSP colleagues works within Lincolnshire’s Highways Design department, delivering highway and drainage improvement schemes across the county. The local team of civil engineers have been instrumental in the design, development and supervision of recent projects including the congestion busting Lincoln Eastern Bypass, the collision-reducing Welton Roundabout and the home-protecting Digby flood alleviation scheme. The WSP contract allows LCC to ‘reach back’ for specialist support including archaeology, ecology and hydrology experts, as well as transport planners to name a few.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Richard Hardesty, Commission Manager (Services) at WSP and Client Lead with Lincolnshire County Council who said:

“I really enjoy my job but there are a few things that particularly stand out. I have the pleasure of working with young people in local schools, through the STEM Ambassador initiative, and Lincoln College through the Careers and Enterprise Company.

“I work closely with Construction and Built Environment students at Lincoln College, which is also a Team Lincolnshire Member, where I set them realistic projects to run alongside their studies. It’s great to see them identify solutions to local problems whilst getting an insight into the industry. It’s also really rewarding when the students ask to take part in work experience within our Lincoln office, further increasing their understanding and potential.

Our work experience activities align well alongside our local apprenticeship scheme and annual graduate intake, all which form part of our social value promises to the County Council.

Richard and his team further build on WSP's social value promises and have been proactive across the county, regularly volunteering in local projects to improve and enhance communities. Projects include the repainting of playground equipment in Caistor and most recently working with Theddlethorpe’s community and Parish Council to clear a ball court of debris and vegetation to enable it to be brought back into use.

“Volunteering can make a real difference and is very rewarding, so I’m really keen to encourage others to take part locally,” Richard commented.

Away from work Richard volunteers his time to coach Advanced Driving Courses with IAM RoadSmart, the UK’S largest road safety charity, as well also being a trustee, committee member and social media lead. He is a strong advocate of volunteering and giving back where possible.

Richard added:

I’m really proud to be able to contribute to improvements within my home county, as well as represent Team Lincolnshire; especially when I’m away from the area.

Locally, WSP continues to support Lincolnshire Highways with a wide range of highway infrastructure improvements, as well as transport planning matters and the development of flood alleviation schemes. Globally, they have recognised the collective turning point in climate, resources, and communities and have therefore embarked on a strategic plan which was launched earlier this year. Through this strategic plan WSP continues to grow across the world through a combination of organic expansion and acquisitions.

WSP are in year three of a six-year professional services contract and are in positive talks with LCC to extend the contract beyond then. You can find out more about WSP on our ambassadors page here.

Read more about WSPs Strategic plan here.