Graham Wilcock was a late starter, founding his Barrow-in-Furness gas-industry consultancy in 1990 when he was 40. The timing was dictated by the evolution of the gas sector, which was preparing for deregulation. Wilcock had spent 20 years as a project manager with British Gas. Wilcock Consultants now employs about 170 consultants, many of them former British Gas workers, on short-term contracts. They provide consultancy, outsourcing services and training to the natural-gas industry. ‘Being in the right place at the right time,’ in Wilcock’s words, has enabled the company to grow sales 101% a year, from £468,000 in 1996 to £3.8m in 1999. Wilcock, who regrets not having started his own company earlier, believes growth will continue because, for environmental reasons, ‘gas will be the fuel of the 21st century’.
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