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On the up

Cyberhawk continues to grow its US operations
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28 January 2021

Over the next few weeks we’ll be putting a spotlight on our CEO, Chris Fleming, to share his insights with you. In the first of the three blog series, Chris discusses Cyberhawk’s super-charged growth in 2020 and future plans for expansion in the US.

James: Despite COVID-19 having a devasting impact on many businesses, Cyberhawk has remained resilient and achieved significant growth last year. What’s the company’s secret to success?

Chris: Cyberhawk has experienced considerable growth over the past 12 months, despite challenging market conditions driven by COVID-19. In particular, our US operations have gone from strength-to-strength, which has seen us open a new Denver-based headquarters, secure several major contracts and scope-of-work extensions with existing customers, and launch a recruitment driven campaign to expand our US-based team

Last year was challenging for all businesses, but we remained focused on supporting our customers’ operations throughout. Many of our customers continued to deliver an essential service throughout the pandemic by providing electricity and heat to businesses and homes worldwide. That meant we were out on windfarms, offshore platforms, or the grid, inspecting the assets that provide it. We are exceptionally proud to have been able to support them through this challenging period.

To move people around the world during the pandemic, we had to ensure the safety of our people whilst recognizing that we have a job to do. We had teams working in family units who were away from their families for months on end, which was hard. I said to the field teams at the start, “we don’t know what’s going to happen, or how tough it will be, but if it gets really bad and people are lawless, I have access to a private jet through a friend who can get people out of sticky locations and he has offered to pick us all up.” Nobody said they wanted to go home. However, we did have to pull people back from Qatar and Korea as those countries stopped the projects we were working on.

This dedication saw us record a 51% increase in revenues in 2020 with 147% rise in revenues in the US. As a result, our headcount increased by almost 100% to meet the growing demand for our services.

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James: What can this be attributed to?

Chris: Well, there’s no silver bullet, but at first it was…”How do we survive?”, and then, when we saw we were going to be ok, “How do we grow?”.

Cyberhawk has been operating since 2008, which has seen us experience a number of global downturns and now the unprecedented pandemic. Still, throughout our 12 years in operation, the quality of our in-house training programs and the service we deliver to customers day-in-day-out has never wavered. Our teams in the field continue to deliver the gold standard. They are all super competitive and strive to improve on what was done last time. Nobody is content delivering mediocre results. We want the client to say “Wow”, every time they read one of our reports. We’ve had that passion since the start.

As a result of this, we have secured several contract extensions with existing customers who recognized that we were delivering best in class drone-based inspections and data visualization, and helping them make significant efficiency gains and cost reductions as a result. This has included drone-based inspections for a major California-based utility across thousands of UAV inspections of lattice steel towers and electricity transmission structures, forming part of critical electric networks across California.

This work forms part of the utility’s critical wildfire prevention and reliability campaign, and we’ll continue to support this at scale.

James: What is on the horizon for Cyberhawk in the US?

Chris: Well, lots more work, hopefully! A focus on utilities but not forgetting our reputation was built on our experience inspecting offshore assets, so we expect lots more work in the Gulf of Mexico.

To meet this growing demand, some of our UK-based staff will relocate to the US to work on some exciting projects, including on-going work in California as we are increasingly contracted to support the major utility companies in the region inspect and protect their electrical networks. Some of these members of staff will also be based at our new US HQ located in Denver.

To meet the growing demand for our services in the US, we are actively recruiting across different roles, including drone pilots.

We’ve already made key appointments in the US in recent months, and we were delighted to offer roles to many who have been impacted by the pandemic. We firmly believe that transferable skills can be found in many sectors, and as long as you have the right attitude, our training will ensure you’ll fit into our team.

Looking ahead, we expect to add 40 new team members in the next 12 months, just in the US alone.

We must attract the right people. They don’t have to have massive experience but must have the right attitude and passion for what we do; having a great mind for problem-solving and an adventurous spirit helps too!

Our focus in the US this year will be attracting new talent and rolling out the same rigorous in-house training program that we have well established in the UK. This will allow us to create the next generation of drone pilots and engineers and ensure the quality of our service remains high.

We are proud of our growth this year, and personally, I am looking forward to moving to the US full time later this year to help out in any way I can. I have lived in Hawaii and California in the past and have made lifelong friends. I am sure Denver will be an adventure, but it’s one we are all up for.

Until then,

Chris