UK: Dennis Mendoros - the unorthodox Greek. (4 of 4)

UK: Dennis Mendoros - the unorthodox Greek. (4 of 4) - The company is contracted to look after engines at two big RAF bases, where it provides unscheduled attention beyond the scope of routine maintenance. Such fieldwork, which is actually carried out by

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The company is contracted to look after engines at two big RAF bases, where it provides unscheduled attention beyond the scope of routine maintenance. Such fieldwork, which is actually carried out by consultants, represents a highly important part of the business - classified by Mendoros as "engineering support". But the Earby factory itself is certainly not yet an established aero-engine service centre. As it happens, there is a substantial engine refurbishment contract in the offing which (although tenders have not yet been invited) promises to bring in someone several tens of millions of pounds in revenue over a period of a few years. If Mendoros could land the contract it would eliminate the danger of under-utilised assets - and simultaneously confer a kind of official recognition. He rates his chances of capturing the job as better than 30%.

Euravia does not at present have the resources for such a large volume of work. For one thing, it lacks a test bed. But that could be made good, Mendoros reckons, by a joint venture with a well known local aero-engine manufacturer. A couple of years ago, he points out, he did not have all the facilities needed for the RTP job. He has already demonstrated an ability to meet delivery dates, and cannot be said to neglect quality. "Quality is the name of the game," he keeps repeating. The workshop, where "Den" seems on easy terms with most of his 15 employees, is hung with notices urging "Think Quality: Perfection - the only standard worth working to" - and other variations on the theme. Yet when it comes to price, Euravia still endeavours to undercut the market. Even if he aims for a gross profit 5 to 10% less than a competitor's, Mendoros believes that overheads are such that he should come out better at the net level.

But, whatever the effect of the Gulf war in the short term, is defence not likely to be a declining sector? Euravia has already attracted some civil work, like engines of aircraft used in crop spraying, and it will be looking for more. In any case, Mendoros is confident that the military market has plenty of scope to offer for decades to come. "Peace will not stop growth," asserts the shrewdly calculating Greek adventurer. Why? "Because we're dealing here in projects which are labelled cost-saving exercises."

Such optimism is almost a rarity these days. Euravia's history is altogether too brief for any outsider to make positive predictions about its future. It may be that Mendoros, who has integrated extraordinarily well into the local scene (he can enter many a pub in the vicinity and expect to meet someone he knows), will succumb to the familiar British failing of allowing enjoyment of life to absorb a shade too much attention, and business a fraction too little. But on the whole that seems unlikely. He is buying a farmhouse along with several acres of ground, but the riding will be strictly for his children.

Mendoros is the kind of man who enjoys working far into the night. He now has a scheme for a second Europe-wide enterprise that he intends to run with an English friend. "He's a distributor but doesn't travel much himself. He'll implement the requirements. I travel a lot. I'll bring in in the business." Some people have a talent not only for making things happen but for making them fit neatly together.

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