Celebrating 50 Years – James Bathgate MD (1983-2006)

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations we have asked our employees and connections to share their thoughts and memories of Maxi Construction with us.

The first feature we would like to share comes from James Bathgate’s son, Wesley Bathgate. Wesley is an Associate Project Manager with Thomson Gray, based in their Glasgow Office. James was Maxi Construction’s Managing Director from 1983 until his retirement in 2006.

James Bathgate MD (1983-2006)

Here is what Wesley had to say:

Maxi Construction was a defining theme in my Father’s life. To coin an old football phrase, my Father was simply a one club man. I can recall numerous occasions as a youngster the influence Maxi had on my Father and indeed the wider family, whether it be my Mother inking in Bill of Quantities at the kitchen table the night before a tender submission, trips to the office at Camps Industrial Estate at the weekend to collect documents or help with photocopying, or Saturday morning site visits to check on progress and ensure those who said they were out working were indeed doing so. The later often afforded me the opportunity of sitting in a JCB cabin! I can recall very few family holidays where the briefcase wasn’t present or laterally the mobile phone ringing.

As a youngster the annual staff and family trip to the pantomime between Christmas and New Year was always a highlight, as were the trips to see my Father in his portacabin office out the back of the Camps office, required due to the expanding staff numbers. The team at Maxi Construction also helped extend the family house at Ratho when we moved from Portobello in 1990 to be closer to Maxi. I recall fondly the legendary pick-up truck driver Robert being dispatched to transport the family rabbit hutch to Ratho and my sister Louise and I sitting in the cabin as Robert drove us all along the bypass. Lately the annual trip to the Maxi Group Hospice Charity Ball at Turnberry was a particular highlight.

The later years at Camps Industrial Estates and formative years at Firth Road were for my Father some of the most challenging but also rewarding in his Maxi career as he sought to lead the company through another season in it’s evolution. Clients at the time ranged from the Murray Group, Arnold Clark to United Artists as well as a number of local authorities most notably West Lothian Council and The City of Edinburgh Council with the core focus always being on the industrial and commercial market sectors and Design & Build development opportunities. PQQs were not as they are now with most opportunities sourced through good old Business Development and the ability to demonstrate previous experience, client satisfaction and a professional service.

People were at the heart of my Father’s time at Maxi Construction, underpinned by a core group of long serving and loyal staff throughout the years. I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of this to my Father until he asked me to join the company in January 2003 to undertake a 6-month placement as part of my 3rd year University course. It was here that I finally saw my Father in full flow and how despite his continuing battle with cancer he was able to draw on strength from those around him.

Over the years he was supported by a great team, to name but a few, Martin Glendinning, David Lawson, Marilyn, Rhona, Shona, Tracey, Jim Maitland, Dougie Brown, Manni Ferguson, Andy Fleming, John Alexander and true legends of the site, Shug, Eddie, Terry and the quite unforgeable Colin Finlayson. My Father took great satisfaction from giving people a good grounding at Maxi and seeing their careers progress beyond.

Maxi Construction had the best working years of my Father. His career started under the stewardship of Arthur Hopkinson, ably assisted by his wife Edith and later flourished under the direction of Gerry Atkinson. It was to be this relationship which was the cornerstone of Maxi for so many years, one born out of mutual respect and one from which a bond was established. He proudly served Maxi Construction for over 26 years, 23 of those as Managing Director.

Nothing stands still and everything in life has its season. I know my Father would have been immensely proud to have been able to play a small part in the success of Maxi Construction and see it reach its 50th Birthday. He would also have been pleased to see how the next generation are carrying the torch and taking the company forward in the next season.

James and Wesley Bathgate