As independent manufacturer Socomec celebrates 100 years of shared energy in its centenary year, the organisation is marking this anniversary by completing a series of 100 challenges that will unlock donations to charity.
One such event is a cycling challenge taking place over eight days between 18 and 25 June, with teams made up of both employees as well as partner organisations including Arup, Durata, Paktronic, Yuasa, Lloyd Morris Electrical and Waldeck Consulting.
Being a family-owned company, the centenary milestone is all the more important beyond the obvious significance, as it represents exceptional continuity and stability – with no fewer than four generations of managers having succeeded one another, each contributing to the development and continuous expansion of the organisation.
Starting life as a small workshop at the bottom of a garden in rural Benfeld, one man’s curiosity about the behaviour of electrical currents has sparked the creation of a family legacy that would position Socomec firmly at the heart of the energy industry for generations to come – growing the business to an international group of over 3,600 people.
Ivan Steyart, CEO of Socomec Group, commented, “A company is, above all, a journey made by people who share a common vision and values. It is only natural that we should celebrate this 100 year journey together, spread across the world as we are but united by our shared commitment to our business and its values. One way in which we are celebrating this journey is by undertaking a challenging journey of another kind.”
Setting off from Socomec’s UK base in Cirencester, the cycling team will arrive in Benfeld to coincide with a flagship centenary event that will unite participants from across the business and around the world.
Steyart continued, “The events that we have lined up this year are all about conviviality and team spirit – along with a good dose of good humour – particularly important when undertaking this cycling challenge and navigating the more challenging terrain. As Ernest Hemingway said, ‘It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.’ That’s certainly true with our chosen route.”
The 900km route includes 7,500m of climbing, initially coursing through Berkshire and Surrey, onwards down to Newhaven. After crossing the Channel to arrive in Dieppe, the cyclists will take in the picturesque regions of northern France via Reims and Nancy. Joined by teams from Paris, Germany and Italy once in Obernai, the group will move on together for the final 12 mile leg – including the last 100m climb – to reach the Socomec headquarters in Benfeld to coincide with the arrival of great yachtsman and navigator, Loïc Peyron and in time for the centenary celebrations.
Raising vital funds for a French charity – Electriciens Sans Frontiers – the contribution raised will help to improve the living conditions of some of the world’s poorest populations, addressing inequalities in terms of the availability of electricity and water, making these vital utilities the platform for broader economic development.
In particular, Socomec will be contributing to the cost of providing electricity to schools and health centres in rural municipalities across northern Madagascar, including Mazava, Ambodimotso and Pont-Sofia.
Iavn Steyart comments; “For a century, thanks to our employees, customers and partners, we have been able to meet our most critical technological challenges, standing the test of time and becoming a major player in the world of energy, both today and tomorrow.
Colin Dean, Managing Director, Socomec UK added, “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate our centenary by raising funds for such an important cause. There is no doubt that this is going to be a huge physical challenge for us all but by joining forces with our partners, we hope that we will be able to make a real contribution to the communities in northern Madagascar.
“We must thank our sponsors, without whom this wouldn’t be possible – Durata, ARUP, Yuasa, CEMA Group, Paktronic Engineering, Lloyd Morris Electrical, Crestchic, Specialist Power Systems, TSE Critical Power and GK Switchgear– with special thanks to Durata for providing our all-important kit.”
To track the team’s progress, follow them on LinkedIn @Socomec Group.