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Business, taken personally.

AV Dawson & The Endeavour Partnership: A long history

Posted by Lotty Reeves on 24th May 2022

The Endeavour Partnership has a long history of looking after AV Dawson which goes back many years. The family run business has a big presence in the Tees Valley owning and operating the Port of Middlesbrough, but, as its strapline states, it is more than just a port.

The company has been in the Dawson family since 1938 when Arthur Vernon Dawson, “Vernie”, the grandfather of the current managing director Gary Dawson, founded the business.

Back then they traded in coal before Arthur’s son Maurice joined the business and the direction changed to concentrate on road haulage. The business grew steadily, operating from various locations before acquiring a site on the south bank of the River Tees where they still operate today.

Following further growth and the acquisition of other haulage businesses AV Dawson invested heavily in its site to create industrial units and improve site infrastructure. The company went on to purchase facilities which would see them store thousands of tonnes of potash and use the site to house fertiliser in bulk for ICI. This all led to the business acquiring a licence to bring the port facilities back to life and, in 1991, the first concrete quay was completed.

Since then, the company has expanded with the purchase of land including an adjacent area of land, which the company marketed as North Sea Supply Base, and which enabled it to discharge larger ships and expand the quayside. Gary Dawson was appointed managing director in 2000 and continued in the same manner as his father by purchasing several sites which have coincided with the expansion of the container and renewable energy markets, including offshore wind.

2015 saw the completion of a three-year, £12.5m master plan which enabled the company’s workforce to grow by more than a third. The three-phase plan included a £2.6m intermodal rail terminal, which provides freight firms with a direct link to the East Coast Mainline, and a £3.4m project to extend its quay and dredge the river, creating a deep-water quay. The final phase was the opening of its £6.5m automotive metals distribution centre.

Having been in business for over 80 years, the organisation is proud to be a large source of local employment with 96% of its employees resident in the Tees Valley.

Although all four of The Endeavour Partnership’s specialist departments act for the family business, it is the property and corporate and commercial teams that have been pivotal with their specialist  commercial property and mergers and acquisitions advice.

Gareth Jones, Partner and senior member of the property team, has acted for AV Dawson for 15 years. He explained: “AV Dawson is a well-known name in the region and property is a big part of their business. They manage an impressive portfolio of property which sits alongside the port logistics business.

“They have successfully applied a strategy that has seen them make use of the facilities available and manage and accommodate tenants to support the requirements of those individual businesses. The management team have a real understanding of their assets and have worked alongside their customer base to ensure the best outcomes for all involved.

“The recently completed flagship head office building is testament to the journey the company has been on. In many ways it reflects all that is great about AV Dawson. Progressive, always adapting and solving problems but never forgetting that it is rooted in Middlesbrough. Vernie would be amazed, but very proud”.

Gary Dawson, managing director at AV Dawson said of The Endeavour Partnership: “As our business has grown and diversified, so too has the need for us to seek regular guidance from trusted legal experts. Gareth and the wider team at The Endeavour Partnership fit the brief perfectly.

“They have always delivered an exceptional level of client service and advice; they are in regular contact with us on matters on a week-to-week basis. They have taken the time to get to know us and apply that understanding of our business objectives alongside their understanding of the law to ensure our objectives are met.

“We have worked together for several years on a variety of successful transactions, and I would not hesitate to recommend them to other businesses within our sector.”


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