Wakefield-based powered access provider, Horizon Platforms today announces a transition to becoming employee owned to support ambitious growth plans.

Horizon, who provide powered access hire across the UK and training from their West Yorkshire super depot, worked with the Manchester office of global audit, tax and consulting firm RSM to facilitate the process of the majority shareholding transferring to an employee ownership trust (EOT).

Horizon now become the first in the powered access industry to operate as an employee owned business. Joint majority shareholders, CEO and founder, Ben Hirst and strategic account director, Rory Duggan, will remain in the business to oversee the continued growth in the coming years.

Ben comments: “This is the proudest moment of my career. Transferring ownership into the hands of our employees offers this organisation the opportunity to live on, and truly become what I have always strived to achieve, a business built for our grandchildren.

“Becoming employee owned is about maintaining and building on the unique Horizon culture. The business and its employees have a real family ethos and so personally, I want to be a part of what I expect to be the most exciting phase of Horizon’s journey yet.

“Myself and Lucy Normanton, director of people & internal communications, spoke to many businesses who had transitioned to an EOT, giving us valuable feedback and advice on their own experiences. There was an overwhelming sense that it had been the best choice for all the businesses we spoke to and therefore cemented our own decision to move forward in this way.”

Rory, strategic account director, adds: “I truly believe that we have built a very special company and one that is only at the beginning of its journey. We believe that now is precisely the time to transition ownership to our team as we approach our next phase of growth, but in true Horizon style, we are daring to be different.

“After 14 years of trading, our main focus remains the same, to make our customers happy and keep them returning to us. Customers want clarity, reassurance and peace of mind when their people are working at height, and our whole organisation is focused on delivering just that.”

Founded in 2008 by Ben Hirst and Matthew Fray, with a head office in Wakefield, Horizon Platforms employs a team of 72. The firm provides machines such as cherry pickers, scissor lifts and rental solutions for hire across the UK using a network of trusted hire partners, and offers state of the art training facilities for those wishing to gain qualifications to work safely at height.

Despite the pandemic, the business continued to grow with revenue at an underlying level of £17m in 2020 (excluding impact of COVID-19), with this forecast to grow 15% per year over the next 5 years. This was achieved through delivering consistently high levels of customer service, as well as closely supporting key industries such as warehousing & distribution, food processing and fast response facilities management work.

Horizon has ambitious plans for growth by working closely with its partner suppliers across the UK. Furthermore, on the back of customer demand, the business has invested in digital which allows customers to manage their hires via the website, and work more flexibly.