Engineer sets sail on new business venture
A BAGLAN-BASED engineer has launched his own business after being made redundant.
Chris Mellows lost his job last year at the height of the recession after working for a year for Bridgend-based company J W Morris.
The 37-year-old has been involved in engineering for the past 20 years after following in the footsteps of his father, Peter Mellow, and grandfather Ronald Mellows.
All three spent stints working for BP Chemicals Baglan Bay.
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Mr Mellows went to work for a company in Essex after last year's redundancy, as he said there were no positions which matched his skills set in South Wales.
He said life was tough as he had a 4-year-old son and was spending his working week away from home.
Mr Mellows had debated working overseas, particularly looking at the Middle East.
He said: "I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own specialist engineering company called Zulu."
He named the business after his grandfather, who served as a radar operator aboard HMS Zulu during the Second World War.
"The name of the business is a nod to him because we were so close and he was a big hero of mine," he said.
"It is very personal to me."
Mr Mellows now spends the majority of his time on site, and is already starting to employ his first staff after just eight months in business.
He said: "I currently employ on a temporary basis for maintenance shutdowns, but I have also taken on a specialist technician in a full- time capacity.
"If things go according to plan, this could expand by another two employees by the end of the year.
"At the end of the day, these are highly-skilled jobs and not everyone can do them, but it is good to keep local people employed."
Zulu has already been involved in the implementation and execution of a critical flange inspection programme on a Hydrofluoric Alkylation unit during a major FCCU maintenance turnaround for the Petroplus Oil Refinery in Coryton, Essex.
It has also designed and executed a joint management system in readiness for various maintenance shutdowns and capital projects.