Our Mission

Formed in 2018, our mission is to disrupt the highly fragmented TICC industry by partnering with selected niche, independent TICC companies that serve a variety of sectors.   From these platforms, we will provide investment and strategic leadership, support people and business development, always with the goal of ensuring each portfolio company delivers it’s full potential. Our aim is to give our customers ‘peace of mind’ by delivering first class assurance services. Our unique partnership approach enables us to invest in companies for the long-term.

  • We do not sell companies
  • We do not change brands
  • We retain and develop people
  • We back your plans
  • We do not apply overheads
  • We do not burden any business with HQ bureaucracy
  • We reward success

Partnership Criteria

Our ideal portfolio companies meet the following criteria:

  • £1-10M+ EBITDA
  • £5-50M+ Revenue
  • 5%+ CAGR
  • Have strong leadership teams
  • Generate strong recurring revenues

Contact us and we’ll talk about whether a partnership is the right move for both of us.

Group Leadership

Paul Barry

Group CEO

Based in the UK, Paul has extensive experience in both M&A and in TICC leadership in various sectors throughout the world. Before creating Phenna Group, he was Global MD and Interim CEO of Exova Group Ltd (£320M T/O with global footprint).  Earlier in his career, he was the CEO of NWE Region in Bureau Veritas (£200M T/O) and before that, served as Managing Director of Europe & Middle East Region of Germanischer Lloyd (GL) / Advantica (£100M T/O). Paul’s expertise in successfully running TICC businesses; from start-up, through transformation/turnarounds, through strong organic growth platforms or through rapid M&A buy and builds make him the ideal person to drive the development of Phenna Group.

David Harrison | Phenna Group

David Harrison

Group CFO

Prior to joining Phenna Group, David worked for a US-based family office where he led investments totalling more than £200m in value across various sectors including TICC. Prior to this he gained experience in financial management, debt markets and M&A in institutions including Mitie, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. In his role as Chief Financial Officer at Phenna Group, David leads finance and M&A activities as well as focusing on initiatives to the advancement of the group’s strategic objectives. David graduated from Strathclyde University with a BA Honours in Accounting and Finance. David is a Chartered Certified Accountant and a CFA charterholder.

Ryan Robson


Ryan is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in private equity for more than two decades. Previously he was a founder and Managing Partner of Sovereign Capital and has led over 20 successful buy and build projects.
Most recently, he founded International Schools Partnership (ISP) with private equity backing, and is currently Chairman, having successfully built the business from scratch to its current position of delivering over £300m annual revenues from 13 countries. Ryan is also Chairman of Chiltern Capital, a UK family office investment vehicle and a Non-Executive Director of Tribe, a fast growing sports nutritional brand.

He has an MA in History from Cambridge University, is a long-suffering fan of Newcastle United Football Club and in his spare time is a keen scuba diver and skier.

Gaynor Lloyd

Group HR Director

Gaynor has worked as a HR professional for over 25 years.  She started her career at Airbus where she moved across many HR specialisms, before developing expertise in employee relations and generalist HR, which was formed during her time with Northern Foods. Gaynor later became Director of HR for Supply Chain at Britvic Soft Drinks plc where she led many change and re-organisation projects, latterly supporting a £124 million investment programme which impacted all of their manufacturing locations.  She also spent part of her career as HR Director at Bureau Veritas UK, allowing her to secure valuable knowledge and experience in the TIC sector, which she now brings to Phenna Group.  Gaynor has an MSc in Strategic Human Resources Management from Nottingham Trent University and is a qualified Executive Coach.

Gaynor is home based near Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

Tom Gray

Group General Counsel & Company Secretary

Prior to joining Phenna Group, Tom trained and practiced for 20 years as a corporate lawyer. Working with a number of firms including global US firm DLA Piper, Tom was latterly a Partner with Knights plc – one of the first legal services businesses to list in the UK, following deregulation of the legal services market. His transaction experience is extensive having led and acted on a range of international and domestic M&A transactions, with particular expertise in private equity and fast growth businesses. In his role as Group General Counsel Tom is responsible for legal execution and settling acquisition documentation for M&A activities for the Group, as well as reviewing all legal due diligence (LDD). In addition, Tom acts as chief legal officer in respect of overall Group compliance.

Tom studied at the University of Wales, Cardiff (LLB Honours in Law & Politics) and Nottingham Law School, qualifying as a solicitor in 2003.

Miles Szabo

Corporate Development Manager

Miles started his career in investment banking working for Macquarie Capital in the Infrastructure M&A team. Following that, he worked for a midcap generalist PE fund investing across the risk spectrum from venture deals to leveraged buyouts. Most recently Miles has worked in various corporate development roles in the shipping, cybersecurity and TICC sectors, being involved across M&A, debt and equity capital fundraising.   At Phenna Group, Miles works with the senior leadership team on originating and executing M&A deals as well as any other strategic opportunities.

Miles graduated from the University of Nottingham achieving a 1st Class BA Hons degree in Economics with German and is a fluent German speaker. He lives in London and in his free time enjoys playing football, watching Werder Bremen and travelling.

Divisional Leadership

Eric D’Orio

Divisional MD, NDT & Industrials

Eric graduated from Dartmouth College in 1994.  He spent the next 12 years in Boston, MA working in the financial sector for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., UBS, and Trillium Trading, LLC.  Eric is a fourth generation member of the Hansen family, and in 2006, he left finance to manage two family businesses.  He was the GM of Hansen Aerospace Laboratories, Inc., and CEO of Hansen Engineering & Machinery, Co. Inc., before joining ELI Global becoming CEO at Hansen Aerospace, LLC in 2018.  Eric currently lives in South Hamilton, MA with his wife and two children.

Brian Shannon

Divisional MD, Built Environment

Brian holds an honours degree (BENG) in Building Services Engineering graduating in 2007 from Dublin Institute of Technology & is a chartered Engineer. He has direct responsibility for compliance, testing activities & leading a vastly experienced management team within BET. Brian was responsible for rapidly growing BET from 1 accredited testing services in 2008 to more than 30 accredited testing services over many disciplines by 2019. He has presented various technical papers on building airtightness, defect analysis, thermal performance and related issues at conferences exhibitions and on behalf of many professional institutions in Ireland. Brian lives in Wexford Ireland with his wife & 3 young boys.

Stuart Abbs

Divisional MD, Infrastructure

Stuart began his career with ATI Allvac in 1995, spending 6 years working within the Test Laboratory, where he progressed to become the Operations Manager. He left Allvac in 2001 to join Wyman Gordon for a year, gaining experience in destructive testing, before moving to Bodycote Materials Testing in 2002, where he joined as General Manager tasked with relocating the Wyman Gordon laboratory to Plzen, Czech Republic. He spent the next 18 years, transitioning through the Bodycote to Exova transaction and latterly the Exova to Element transaction. During that period he served in a number of progressive management roles from General Manager, Divisional Director, Global Sector MD and Regional Divisional Director, latterly with responsibility for ~£50m of revenue and over 600 employees. Following the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, Stuart joined Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics, where he worked as the Managing Director of the UK Clinical Diagnostics business. In this business he was accountable for the performance of the UK Clinical laboratories.

Outside of work he is married with seven children and is an avid sports fan, holding a Rotherham United season ticket for over 30 years.

Our Portfolio Business Leaders

Matt Read

Chairman, JHAI limited Building Control

Matt has been in senior management at jhai for over 21 years. He started his career in Building Control when the company was formed in 2000 and initially covered the Management Accounting, IT, Quality Assurance and General Administration functions of the business. In Nov 2009 he became Chairman of jhai following an MBO of the company and has used his strategic decision making skills to deliver significant growth in the business. Today, jhai has become one of the leading national Building Control companies in England and Wales. Matt studied part-time at the University of London and completed his BSc in Management and IT with the Open University whilst working full time at jhai.  He has two teenage boys and is a loyal supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC

Gopal Balakrishnan

Group Managing Director, A-Star Group

Bala is the founder and Group Managing Director of the A-Star group. He is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. Bala moved to Singapore from India when he was a young technician and started A-Star as a small NDT business. Over the past 15 years, A-Star has grown tremendously, acquiring blue chip clients in the Marine, Offshore, Oil & Gas, Petro-chemical and Renewables industries and recruited and trained a team of over 300 professionals to become one of the largest independent Non-Destructive Testing companies in Southeast Asia. Bala holds a Master of Business Administration from Nanyang Business School, completed an Advanced Management Program from UC Berkeley and Excellence in Financial Leadership program from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Singapore with his wife and 3 daughters

Ian Frazier | Phenna Group

Ian Fraser

Group MD at First Scottish

Ian began as a trainee in 1972 at Millar & Bryce where he became a fully qualified Searcher. In 1978, he joined Bristol & West Building Society as a Clerk before eventually reaching the position of Regional Admin Manager. Six years later, Ian re-joined Millar & Bryce as a Development Manager and reached the position of Managing Director. In 2010, Ian joined First Scottish Group as Group Depute Managing Director and became Group Managing Director during 2012. Ian is also a lifelong Hibernian Football Club supporter, who enjoys golf and time with his family. He has two grandchildren.

Anthony Watkins

Managing Director PSL

Anthony commenced his career in the geotechnical testing sector with Thyssen GB in 1988, and in 1992 established a northern laboratory in Doncaster for Thyssen.    In 2004,  Anthony and Russell established Professional Soils Laboratory and acquired the Doncaster laboratory from Thyssen.   During the past 15 years, they have invested heavily in the business, acquiring the most modern automated testing equipment and recruited and trained a best-in-class team of over fifty professionals and become the largest independent geotechnical testing laboratory in the UK.

Anthony is a keen sportsman and lives in South Yorkshire with his wife and 2 children, and he and Russell are staying with the business and will continue to drive it forward.

Tommy Morris

Managing Director at BET (Building Envelope Technologies)

Tommy joined the sales & operations department of BET in 2014 & has managed the sales/procurement department & logistics of BET’s site staff since then. Tommy became Operations Director in 2016 and in early 2021 was promoted to Managing Director. As MD, Tommy has responsibility for the day to day running of all BET departments & has direct responsibility of the sales, marketing & estimating/tendering departments, ensuring deadlines & quality standards are met. Tommy has procured & managed BET’s services on several large (€80m – €100m) commercial & residential projects. He lives in Wexford with his wife & two sons.

Steve Cressey MIET

Managing Director at GMES (Group Management Electrical Surveys ltd)

Steve began his career in 1990 when he joined Crown House Engineering as an electrical engineering trainee. Following completion of his training in 1995, his career progressed into Building Services Project Management with EI-WHS and EIC Limited. He joined GMES in 2009, with a remit to develop and grow the business and in 2011 was appointed Managing Director, where he relocated the Company to its current home in West Yorkshire. In 2014, Steve successfully delivered a Management Buyout and has gone on to treble the size of the business in the last five years. During his early career Steve worked all over the UK, serving as Project Manager on some of the UK’s most prestigious projects. Steve has a passion for electrical safety and compliance and is an active member of the IET. He has recently taken up the role of Regional Chairman for the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association).

Steve lives with his wife and son in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire and is looking forward to the partnership with Phenna Group and the continued success and growth of GMES.

Richard Bate

Technical Director, Build Check Ltd.

After graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree in Biology, Richard embarked upon his career working with a number of market-leading companies within the TICC sector.  In 2004, Richard joined forces with David McKenna to co-found Build Check, bringing to market a shared vision of a fresh approach to building regulation compliance testing and product certification, underpinned by excellent customer service.

As Co-Founder and Technical Director, Richard has been instrumental in leading the successful growth of the Build Check business and is well-recognised throughout the industry for his technical expertise, working closely with key industry steering groups. Richard now has day-to-day responsibility for laboratory testing and product certification services as well as managing Build Check’s innovative online calculator software.  Richard lives in Cookham, Berkshire with his wife, 2 children, a dog and his motorbikes!

Brett Coleman

Managing Director, Approvals Specialists Pty Ltd and Austest Laboratories

Brett holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and commenced his career in 1993 working as a geologist both on and offshore. He moved from there into environmental consulting in a number of technical and management roles, focused on the assessment and remediation of contaminated land, while completing an MBA. In 2001 Brett moved to Shell and was involved in business development, strategy and improvement projects. In 2010 Brett was appointed as General Manager, then CEO of Leeder Consulting, a specialist testing and inspection business focused on the environmental and resource industries, growing this business prior to its acquisition by SGS. At SGS, Brett held General Management roles across a number of their TIC divisions including electrical safety and traffic systems.

After a self-imposed career break to focus on his young family, Brett was appointed to roles focused on the leadership and commercial growth of the Intertek Caleb Brett business, providing testing and inspection services to the oil and gas industry. In mid-2021, Brett was appointed as Managing Director of Austest with the mandate to continue the successful growth and development of the business. Brett is a keen traveler and enjoys a range of physical pursuits. He lives with his wife and two children in Melbourne, Australia.

Tim Goodwin

Managing Director at Ecology Solutions

For the last 38 years Tim has been involved with ecological planning, working on numerous high profile or complex development schemes throughout the UK and Europe. Tim is one of the few ecologists with extensive experience of detailed legal cases including High Court, Court of Appeal, Lands Tribunal and OLDs Appeals procedures. Tim has given evidence at numerous Section 78 Appeals and Call-in Inquiries and remains a preferred expert witness for many solicitors, barristers and leading planning silks, with over 70% of his personal work coming via their recommendation.

Tim is currently working on projects ranging from nuclear power plants to major housing schemes, mineral extraction and energy production, often providing the link between ecology, planning and the law. Ecology Solutions is recognised as one of the leaders in their field and Tim is supported by a team of over 45 high calibre and experienced colleagues, all with an enviable reputation.

Tim is married with three children and is an avid gardener and tennis fanatic.

Dave Millington

Managing Director, Code A Weld.

David originally trained as an Accountant in private practice before going on to work for and manage, a major client’s business in the FMCG/Logistics sector. He then transferred over to the family business in the mid-nineties, firstly managing and then buying into the weld testing, training and welding operations. After focusing solely on the testing business a decade ago and achieving RTPO status and enhancing the UKAS accreditations already in place, he has grown the Company fivefold. It is now recognised throughout the industry as one of the leading names in weld testing.

David is based in the Bristol area and lives with his wife and two children.

Stephen O’Hara

Chairman, Elmhurst Energy

Stephen has enjoyed a 20 year career working in the energy rating and construction services industry, including both commercial roles and working closely with various UK Government departments and related bodies. In that time, Elmhurst has grown from a team of 4 to over 70 and is now the country’s leading energy rating business with over 7500 members. Stephen has led the business growth organically and through acquisitions, buying 3 competitor energy rating businesses and an air tightness testing scheme.

Coming from a background in science and a short career in education has helped develop key beliefs in the need for good training & support and the use of robust science that gives outcomes that are applicable and valued in the real world.

Stephen studied at Queen’s University Belfast (BSc Hons) and then progressed to Birmingham University to do teacher training (PGCE Science). He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (FCABE). He lives in Leicestershire with his family and has two sons.

Jim Horgan M.Sc. B.Sc.

Managing Director at ASM Group

Jim originally set up ASM Group in 2003. With over 23 years’ experience in the health & safety industry, he has diversified the company’s offering across 5 key areas; General Consultancy, Safety Training, Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS), Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP) and EHS Resourcing.
The company has grown steadily over the past 17 years and has secured a range of contracts with blue chip clients in Ireland and Internationally. Jim and his team have developed ASM to be recognised as one of the leading H&S Consultancy firms in Ireland.
Jim is chartered member of the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health CMIOSH

Brian Impleton

Managing Director at FACIT Testing Ltd

Brian has over 30 years of experience in the electrical sector, starting as an apprentice working for a US company based in the UK. Within 5 years, he progressed to an Electrical Supervisor position and worked on large projects, ranging between £10-50M, across Europe and the US. After a further 5 years in that role, Brian decided to pursue a career in electrical testing, Inspection and compliance was my next step and worked for the next 10 years across the UK covering every aspect of Inspection and Testing, for clients ranging from Housing Associations to the Ministry of Defence.

Over a decade ago, he had the opportunity to take over Facit Testing, where he has since built a strong brand and a long list of loyal clients, with an excellent team, fully committed to helping him grow the business into the future.

Sandy Dweik

CEO at Thomas Bell-Wright International

Sandy graduated in 1995 as an Architectural Engineer, before joining TBW in 1997 as a Façade Consultant, before progressing through the business to become CEO of one of the few companies in the Middle East specialised in Façade Technical Review, Curtain Wall Testing and Fire Compliance.

Working closely with Tom, the founder, she has developed a deep technical knowledge of the sector. She has been involved in hundreds of projects which have changed the skylines of cities across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.

Sandy with her experienced technical team is focused on ensuring TBW flourishes into the future, expanding its geographic reach and capitalising on new compliance trends in construction. She lives in Dubai, UAE with her family.

Jon Austin

Managing Director at Safety Services(UK)

Jon started his career as a Mechanical Engineer in the Automotive industry which took him from Apprentice Mechanical Engineer to a Specialist in Kaizen & Kanban Lean Manufacturing, then from an Engineer Tool buyer in Japan to Production Manager of a large National Automotive Manufacturing company. In 2001 he joined Safety Services (UK) Ltd as a Safety Advisor and progressed quickly to Director of the business taking responsibility of
the day to day running and commercial aspects. Jon developed SSUK’s award winning online SHE Management tool WISE in 2007 with SSUK’s team of IT Developers and the WISE system continues to grow today.

Jon is a keen sports fan, albeit a forever disappointed Tottenham Hotspur season ticket holder and enjoys playing golf when his time allows. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and two adult sons who are also well-respected team members at SSUK.

Dr Emma Philpott MBE

CEO at IASME Consortium

Emma is CEO of the IASME Consortium Ltd, an organisation that delivers accessible cyber security certification for SME organisations and supply chains. Emma is also Founder and Manager of the UK Cyber Security Forum, a not-for-profit organisation leading an initiative to train unemployed neuro-diverse adults in cyber security and supporting them to find employment.

Emma graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Natural Sciences and achieved a PhD at Keele University. After a number of roles in the Ministry of Defence and QinetiQ, including running the 5 meter wind tunnel, Emma and her family moved to Singapore where Emma ran the materials analysis consultancy at the Singapore Government research Institute, IMRE, before moving to run the Singapore arm of a nanotechnology consulting company, Cientifica Ltd.

Returning to the UK, Emma founded the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster and UK Cyber Security Forum originally to champion and support small companies working in Cyber Security.

In 2019 Emma was awarded an MBE for services to cyber security

Mick Grist

MD at Industrial Safety Inspections (ISI)

Mick has spent most of his career in the engineering sector, with many roles at senior management level. Starting as an apprentice with the world’s largest lift company, Otis PLC, he progressed into sales and management roles. He later moved to Schindler, the second largest global lift company, where he undertook various roles from operational management to director level with full P&L responsibility for operations circa £30M turnover and with over 140 directly employed staff and engineers.

Mick joined Bureau Veritas in 2011 as Regional Director within the mechanical and electrical testing division, before progressing to take on further roles, including Divisional Managing Director of a multi-consultancy division and heading up the key accounts and customer excellence divisions with a combined turnover in excess of £40M.

Prior to taking over his current role as MD at Industrial Safety Inspections, Mick had returned to the lift industry working at Crest Lifts covering operational and key account management roles.

Mick has an MBA from University of Hertfordshire. . He lives in Bedfordshire with his family and outside of work enjoys hiking with his partner and the family dog as well as motorcycling.

Tony Sewell

Managing Director at PTS

Prior to founding PTS, Tony worked for 20 years in the technical sector of the highways industry. As MD of PTS he has overall responsibility for developing and executing the strategy of the business including acquisitions and asset appraisals. Starting from scratch PTS now employs over 100 people and has a strong internal commitment to developing its employees. During 2021 PTS were awarded four seven year contracts to supply investigations and surveys to National Highways for the Northern third of the strategic network. Tony is a former President of the Institute of Asphalt Technology and a Chartered Engineer and has acted as a expert witness on various contracts.

Tony studied at the University of Leeds and the University of Nottingham where he gained a PhD in the fatigue and fracture of stiff asphalt materials.

Mike Andrews

Chief Executive NAPIT Group

Mike, has over 30 years’ experience in the building services and engineering sectors, with early career involvement in electrical and mechanical engineering, before moving into the fields of industrial process control, data communications and project management as a qualified Prince2 Practitioner. He spent many years providing consultancy services to major manufacturers and was one of the founding directors of NAPIT in 1992 with the intention of improving the standards within the electrical industry by recognising the competence of individuals.

Mike has been involved in many industry committees and working groups over the years, including the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) sub-committee Competent Person Forum, Each Home Counts Workstreams, the TrustMark Forum, the Electrical Safety Roundtable, the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) Management Group, the Scotland: Electricians Working Group and Building for The Future ReEnergy & ReGreen European working groups. He joined NAPIT full-time in 2004 and became Group Chief Executive in 2013. Mike is committed to high standards, individual competence, transparency and integrity.

Mike studied at Sheffield Hallam University (LLB Hons) and at Derby University (LLM Commercial
Law). He lives in Derbyshire with his wife and two children.

Eric Goulden

Managing Director at CELTEST

Eric began his career with Harry Stanger Limited and subsequently moved to the Middle East with Alhoty Stanger where he became Regional manager of their Materials Testing Laboratories in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

He co-founded Celtest Limited in 1980 and has overseen the development of the business to become a leading independent Construction Materials Testing company. During his time at Celtest he has acted as a consultant to the Highways Agency and has also worked in an advisory capacity to various governments in the Middle East.

A Fellow of the Institute of Asphalt Technology, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Eric lives in North Wales and along with his 2 children and is an avid rugby fan. Eric has an MSc from the University of Nottingham and an MBA from Heriot Watt University

Our Story

Phenna Group was formed in April 2019, when two leading TICC services companies were acquired: Hansen Aerospace (USA) and First Scottish Group (UK).

Paul Barry, Group CEO, had a vision to disrupt the highly fragmented TICC sector by grouping together a number of leading niche, like-minded TICC businesses across the world. Today, we have 29 that share common values and a focus on delivering exceptional customer service.

Each of these Companies have their own unique stories and share an entrepreneurial spirit, culture and ambition that is essential to our future strategy and success.

Paul’s vision started to take shape in summer 2017, when following a highly successful corporate career, he developed a strategy to create a unique buy & build model that would differentiate Phenna Group from its competitors. This led to a short spell within a privately owned investment firm, where he met David Harrison, our current CFO, and completed the acquisition of Hansen Aerospace, a leading NDT business based in Boston, MA.

Following several regulatory challenges with its parent company, Paul, David and the Hansen/D’Orio family (previous owners of Hansen Aerospace) seized the opportunity to complete a MBO of Phenna Group in April 2019. Since then, the expansion strategy gathered momentum which saw the business expand from initial concept to revenues in excess of £175 million by 2022. This strategy was achieved through fundraising, several mergers & acquisitions and the delivery of an ambitious organic growth plan and of course, the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ of its leadership team who remain as committed and driven today as they did when each story began.

Today, Phenna Group’s portfolio consists of 29 businesses, spanning 4 Continents, several end markets and is home to over 2200 employees.

And it’s just the beginning

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Phenna Group Portolio: Hansen 500Phenna Group Portfolio: First Scottish

April 2019

MBO from ELI Global


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