ONE of Lancashire’s biggest construction firms has appointed a new managing director who takes over at a hugely challenging period for the industry.

John Hartnett has now taking over the managing directorship of Eric Wright Construction, based in Preston and which operates at sites all around the county and beyond, from John Wilson who had been with the firm for 24 years.

Current projects include the £30m Gateway Altelier scheme in Salford for Muse and a £12m Sports Science Project for Manchester Metropolitan University along with One Partnership, which is working to deliver two residential health projects in Lancashire.

Eric Wright Group managing director Jeremy Hartley said: “John Wilson has done an excellent job leading the construction business through some extremely challenging times, not least the well-publicised challenges faced by the industry as a whole this year with Brexit and of course Covid.

“It is a situation no one could have begun to envisage.”

Meanwhile the company has also confirmed new board appointee Phil Brown as surveying director.

Mr Hartley said: “With a change of leadership under John Hartnett and Phil’s appointment further strengthening the board, we’re taking the opportunity now to respond to a very changed world and reshape the business to ensure it remains resilient and future-proofed to meet the continuing operational and commercial challenges which face the construction sector as a whole.”

The company was founded in 1979 by Eric Wright.

The construction firm was the original business within what has now expanded into the Eric Wright Group, which includes Civil Engineering, Healthcare, Water, Facilities Management, Maple Grove Developments and residential development arm Applethwaite Homes.

During all that time the company has faced various challenges but none quite like the coronavirus pandemic.

Incoming managing director John Hartnett said: “The construction sector as a whole has endured extremely tough times in recent years, but we continue to benefit from the diversity of the Group working across a wide variety of sectors including health, residential, commercial, industrial and education and being part of a wider group which gives us significant financial strength.”

He added: We’ve implemented new systems and procedures throughout the business to meet the sector’s changing needs and I’m looking forward to leading the team on the next stage of our exciting journey.”

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