An Interview with… Nick Jones, Principal Director
Nick Jones founded OSL in 2005 alongside fellow Principal Director Alastair Robertson. Since then, the company has expanded exponentially in terms of staff force, scope, project size and influence.
In this interview, Nick sheds light on the origins and journey of our ever-expanding company.
How and why was OSL founded?
OSL was born out of a little frustration that Alastair and I had with our existing roles. We were working for a company and believed that we could do a better job independently. I sounded Alastair out a few times over the idea and when we thought the timing was right, we made a move. We effectively put our careers and destinies into our own hands and waited for the opportunity to arise.
We spoke to our employer about going freelance and keeping them as a client, which led to Optimus Services Limited being registered. We continued working very hard for them in the form of a consultancy, putting in full-time hours whilst delivering extra services during evenings and weekends as a means of growing the business. A sizeable project came our way fairly quickly, which meant that we needed to hire some people, upgrade our hardware and software, secure offices, and focus much more seriously on our mission. We had a long-term goal of setting up a small design consultancy and got a good kick-start quite early on, within the first eight months of going it alone.
How have OSL’s services evolved over time?
Our services started out as Project Engineering and Project Management, working with clients such as oil and energy companies within their teams, helping to deliver projects. We wanted to expand this to incorporate more of a design element, initially bringing in chemical and mechanical engineering work. This really was the precursor to full project management, and gradually over time we managed to add instrumental control, electrical, piping, stress analysis and lots of other bolt-on services. Today we encompass the majority of capabilities that a client may require, presenting the full sweep of onshore and offshore design services.
How do OSL’s offerings benefit the customer?
OSL now offers customers a fully integrated design solution to any problems they have, or improvements that they want to make to their onshore or offshore assets. Gas terminals, oil refineries, gas and oil platforms and pipelines are included in our wide-ranging portfolio. A lot of customers have an existing infrastructure that needs enhancing or modifying. We assess the situation and give high-level options for making changes, thereby providing a bespoke and smart solution. Whether it’s rationalisation and cost-effectiveness of future operations, developing a gas field, or bringing a new oil well into an existing platform, we can quickly whip up a range of options for the client to consider. Simultaneously, different budget levels are supplied along with probable time scales. Then, if they choose to go forward with an option, we can design those modifications in full detail, rather than simply at a conceptual or visibility level.
What is OSL’s unique selling point?
Our USP is our reactive nature. Clients regularly comment that OSL responds and delivers solutions far more speedily than our bigger competitors. It’s something that we work very hard to retain as we grow, particularly through our Clever Thinking process. We believe that this helps us to flesh out all potential options in record time, complete with various pricing structures for their consideration. It is this responsiveness and adaptability that leads clients to come back to us time and time again.