Ellesmere Port keeps it in the family

Fortress Energy opened its UK base in Ellesmere Port 18 months ago and it is headed up by three generations of the Darch family.  A key member of our Kazakhstan team who helped establish our onsite machining division, Keith Darch moved back to Cheshire to help set up the UK entity which is run by his father Gary supported by grandfather Billy who works as a consultant. 

Since opening the UK doors in 2018, our ISO9001-accredited division has gone from strength to strength.   Gary Darch’s experience working with multi-national companies in locations such as the USA and Malaysia makes him well placed to lead the charge in high pressure leak sealing, site machining and controlled hydraulic bolting for on and offshore environments.  With many shutdowns and outages under his belt, Gary introduced and trained his son Keith Darch in the world of onsite services and machining and bolting, with both benefiting from the expertise brought to the table by Gary’s father Billy. 

After a spell in the Royal Navy where he received basic training and completed the first stages of his engineering qualification, Keith Darch went on to join Special Engineering Services (SES), which was under the management of his father.  From there, Keith continued to develop his engineering skills and expertise, focusing mainly on supporting energy sector clients working onshore, offshore and overseas.  In January 2018, he joined Fortress Energy’s Kazakhstan team as their project engineer before returning to the UK where he has been instrumental in the development of onsite services in Ellesmere Port. 

 Billy Darch also served in the Royal Navy before working in the shipbuilding industry Cammell Laird.  In 1973 he moved to Furmanite and spent 25 years at as their global leak sealing and onsite services trainer.  He took early retirement but did a number of Ellesmere Port consulting jobs maintaining onsite machining equipment and training young technicians.  Covid-19 pandemic precautions notwithstanding, Billy still helps out in the Fortress Energy workshop and he also been a volunteer at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum for more than 40 years. 

Commenting on the success of Fortress Energy’s UK division during the past year-and-a-half, Gary Darch said: “It has been an exciting opportunity to bring family expertise under one roof.  It hasn’t been without its challenges of course, but we have built a solid client base and we are delivering a quality service.  The new facility we are now working from and the new additions we have made to the portfolio mean that things are going from strength to strength for Fortress Energy.” 

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