This building contractor’s history stretches back to 1897. Still owned by descendants of founder Edward Wates, it has worked on high-profile projects such as the renovation of Birmingham’s historic town hall, which re-opened last year. By the end of the decade, the company aims both to cut on-site accidents to zero, and to send no non-hazardous building waste to landfill. One of its subsidiaries recently worked with Yorkshire Community Housing to create 79 energy-efficient homes in Huddersfield. Paul Drechsler, chairman and chief executive, oversaw sales of £949m in 2007.
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