Aerospace company STAR-Dundee has completed its transition to employee ownership to secure its future in the city.
The Nethergate company, which designs electronic components and test equipment for spacecraft, was spun out from the University of Dundee in 2002.
It has grown from an academic and a few enthusiastic research students, who initially worked in their spare time to design and develop the first products to employs 25 people from its offices in Dundee and Barcelona.
The firm said it had moved from being run and majority owned by founder Professor Steve Parkes to being employee owned to “secure the long term future of the company”.
Mr Parkes said: “Having formed STAR-Dundee and forged it over 15 years it into a company with a worldwide reputation, I realised that I was not going to be around to see it through the next 15 years.
“It became clear that the future for the company was about the people in the company that had helped make it a success and the culture that we had developed to support that success.
“Selling the company to another organisation, which would inevitably change the culture and might even move it from its Dundee base, was not a very attractive idea.
“Employee ownership retains and strengthens the culture and will ensure that it always has a base in Dundee.”
Facilitated by a succession planning project initiative by Scottish Enterprise, various options were considered for the company and it soon became clear that employee ownership was the best option.
The management team of the company has also been restructured. Mr Parkes, formerly CEO, is now chief technology officer with Stuart Mills, previously chief operating officer, becoming CEO. Carole Carrie, the administration manager, is now company secretary.
STAR-Dundee is a world leading provider of spacecraft on-board data handling network technology for the aerospace industry, providing international space agencies and the space industry with important equipment.
Technology that originated in Dundee is now being used across the world on more than 100 spacecraft which are monitoring the Earth, exploring nearby planets and asteroids, mapping out galaxy and sensing the further flung parts of our galaxy.
A new technology, SpaceFibre, is currently being launched by the company.
Developed over the past ten years, SpaceFibre is designed for high-performance, high-availability applications.
Although designed primarily for spacecraft applications, but is creating interest in the robotics, medical equipment and other industries where performance and availability are critical drivers.
Stuart Mills, STAR-Dundee’s new CEO, said: “STAR-Dundee has been a great success because of its people. Our move to employee ownership allows these individuals to have a greater say in the running of the company and to further benefit from the company’s success.”
Sarah Deas, director at Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scottish Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models, added: “STAR-Dundee’s main priorities when considering its succession options were to secure and strengthen the business, both in terms of its culture and success, and also to ensure the business remains rooted in Dundee.
“All of these objectives have been achieved through employee ownership as well as making sure the staff all have a meaningful stake in their company and its future success.”