Stepping into an SME – 6 months into the journey

Around this time last year, I made the decision to leave the large consultancy I worked for and to join a small to medium sized enterprise (SME). The opportunity to join former colleagues and friends at D2 proved to be the draw for me and I haven’t looked back.

Following a week in our Toronto office, supporting development of our strategy for North America, the flight home seemed the perfect opportunity to reflect on my first 6 months with D2 – on the things we have achieved, the fun we have had along the way and our perspective on the industry.

What have we achieved?

  • Successfully rebranded as D2 Global to enable the next decade of growth. Read more
  • Redefined our service offering to better reflect the solutions we are now able to provide. See more
  • Joined the Nuclear Industry Association. Read more
  • Attended Project Controls Expo both in the USA and the UK.
  • Selected from almost 50 applicants by department for trade and business as UK representatives for the Rail trade mission for North America.
  • Made new connections with clients and tier 1 contractors across the infrastructure sector, becoming registered suppliers with many.

Fun along the way…

  • Rebranding provided the opportunity to reflect on 12yrs of sustained growth from 3 planning professionals in 2011 to >100 programme management solutions professionals.
  • Working with our inhouse digital design team we worked together as a team to develop an identity that matches our Mission and Values.
  • Attending the nuclear newbuild working group provided an insightful tour of Sizewell B along with the opportunity to meet fellow suppliers and technology owners.
  • We made new connections in USA to support our growing office in Toronto and in the UK we attended the awards ceremony together with industry colleagues to support Arpit in his nomination for project controls apprentice of the year.
  • David Steele and Dan Smith represented D2 at workshops in Toronto and New York, making new industry connections, sharing lessons we have learnt over the years and learning of the challenges facing the rail industry in North America.
  • Connecting with former clients and colleagues alike, with the ability to provide agile and innovative response to their challenges provides a great sense of achievement.

Perspective from an SME

Despite cancellation of HS2 Phase 2, the infrastructure investment pipeline is well stocked with £36bn being redirected to the Network North plan to transform regional transport. This, together with existing and planned investment in water, energy and defence projects provides the industry with an unprecedented workbank of critical infrastructure projects.

In order to deliver the planned workbank with any degree of success, the industry needs clear funding decisions. We have seen recent evidence of commitment to the regional rail network with an additional £3.9bn being confirmed for the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), taking the total commitment to date for upgraded journeys between Manchester and York to £6.9bn. D2 enjoy a longstanding relationship with the TRU programme, having supported development of the project from feasibility stage, and welcome the additional funding certainty.

We have also recently seen COP28 provide commitment to tripling global nuclear energy capacity by 2050. With electricity demand expected to more than double in this timeframe, renewable forms of energy will need to be supplemented by a credible low carbon base load. A diverse energy mix de-risks UK energy security and, according to the Nuclear Skills Taskforce, hitting the target for 2050 will need a 43% increase in the UK nuclear workforce.

To back up the ceremonial commitments of COP28, clear investment commitment is needed to provide suppliers of all shapes and sizes with confidence to invest in the workforce needed to deliver the planned social and economic benefits that infrastructure projects promise to deliver. Commitment enables us to reinvest in development of our people and ultimately our services, something that has recently been recognised through achieving gold membership of The 5% club – which acknowledges our contribution to professional development of apprentices and graduates.

We live our values

During my first 6 months with D2, I have had the time to invest in a workstream to review and revalidate our company mission and values. Working with a cross-section of the business, the exercise provided me with confidence that we are living our working lives through our values:

People – we encourage diversity whilst investing in, and developing, the very best talent.

Innovation – we are driven to inspire others with fresh creative ideas based on continuous learning.

Integrity – our reputation, passion, and commitment inspire trust and integrity.

Community – we are a collaborative community, understanding challenges from every angle, exploring innovative solutions based on our expert knowledge.

If you’re intrigued about what life is like working with an SME, please feel free to reach out to Samantha Ballentyne or take a look at our new website There’s never been a better time to make the move, with opportunities both in the UK and North America.


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