Consult and Design

Adam Hill and David Van der Velde, Consult and Design

Technology business Consult and Design relocated to Sunderland in 2013 in a bid to forge new relationships with like-minded companies.

The firm, which specialises in open-source web development and consultancy, has reported growth of 400% over the last four years since its move to the city and now counts the likes of Nissan, Sunderland City Council and Northern Education as clients.

Led by directors Adam Hill and David Van der Velde, the company now employs nine highly-skilled specialists and Adam believes the move to Sunderland’s Software Centre has helped underpin this rapid growth.

“Consult and Design has completely changed since we started in the early 2000s,” he said. “We were a small operation with a handful of clients operating mainly in the voluntary and charity sector, which was fantastic as we have always had a very strong social conscience.

“However, since our move to Sunderland, we’ve been able to really spread our wings and have now assembled a highly skilled team which has helped us establish ourselves as one of the North’s leading Drupal developers and a go-to agency for ambitious web projects.”

Since moving to the Software Centre in 2013, the company has already relocated to two larger offices within the centre due to its rapid growth.

“We have always had faith in our business model but even we couldn’t have predicted just how fast we would grow,” Adam added.

“The centre is in the perfect location, we’re right in the middle of the city centre which means we have everything we could need right here on our doorstep. The transport links also mean our staff can commute to work with ease and we can get to business meetings anywhere in the country and abroad within hours.”

Director and founder David echoed Adam’s thoughts and added that the ability to recruit skilled graduates from the local universities and colleges has really helped Consult and Design to gain a competitive advantage.

“We’re proud of the fact that all-bar two of our recruits have been fresh out of education and they have all blossomed into extremely talented, motivated members of a vibrant young team,” he said.

“Adam and I bring experience, but we have empowered the team to bring their own ideas to the table and to keep challenging the norms. Our focus has never been the technology, but always about how connecting people with technology can change the way we live and work.

“The move to Sunderland has been paramount to this. The quality of the staff we have been able to recruit here has been second-to-none and they have really helped us to grow as a business.”

The company – supported by Sunderland City Council – was key to the launch of Sunderland Digital, the successful network which brings together the digital community at monthly events at the centre. 

“Sunderland Digital brings to life the many ways in which individuals and organisations are using technology to engage with their audiences and the latest technical developments that are creating new and exciting opportunities.

“Sunderland, and the North East at large, is home to a vibrant community of digital and technology experts. Sunderland Digital is a genuine ‘hub’ for them – somewhere they not only learn more, but also socialise with like-minded people.  It’s been great to see the group grow and to have the support of Sunderland City Council to make that possible.”