100 years of Parker Technical Services – Chairman Sean Smyth explores a century of great business 100 years of Parker Technical Services – Chairman Sean Smyth explores a century of great business

Celebrating 100 years of Parker

2022 marks 100 years of Parker

From its humble roots as a small, family-run domestic installation company, Parker Technical Services has grown to become one of the best-known names in Facilities Maintenance and M&E services with a strong portfolio of globally-renowned clients. Now part of Edwin James Group, Parker continues to expand its workforce working together with Musk Process Services and Peak Technology Solutions to provide customers with an unrivalled asset engineering service.

We spoke to Parker Technical Services Chairman Sean Smyth about the company’s rich history…

Sean Smyth

Humble beginnings

Now part of the Edwin James Group, Parker is part of a £136 million turnover asset engineering group that operates from 16 locations and multiple client sites throughout the UK.  With a 1,000+ employee base the company employs 12% of it’s workforce as apprentices and has a strong focus on building the workforce of the future through its own lifetime learning and development programme the EJ Academy.

Today, Parker operates from eight offices and support centres in Burton upon Trent, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Mildenhall, Louth, Warrington and Whitehaven and across multiple client sites throughout the UK.  But the story of the Parker business began with humble beginnings.  Way back in 1922 a young entrepreneur, the late Mr WT Parker, successfully set up a shop in Burton-upon-Trent selling Philco radios and small domestic installations, repeating this success across a number of towns in the Midlands.


The early years

With an established reputation for quality, Mr WT Parker’s business grew rapidly, in tandem with the local industry boom in electrification and automation. Amongst others, the company helped to modernise world­-famous breweries Bass and Ind Coope, along with household names such as Nestle and Rolls Royce, further boosting its standing across industry.
It’s not that widely known, but with the outbreak of WWII, electricians were broadly exempt from military service as their skills were needed on the home front. During the war, WT Parker opened a regional office in Grantham specialising in aircraft ground lighting for several airfields in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, and, as a result, contributing to the successful aerial defence of Britain.

Fast forward now to 2005

There were plenty of learnings as the business grew, including a lesson on the true meaning of ‘capacity’.  As a result, we re-evaluated our business model –  strengthening our financial and commercial strategies, tightening controls and governance and re-shaping our customer base.

We stand by these hard but worthwhile lessons to this day.

2014 – a flagship move

In 2014, our flagship headquarters opened in Burton-on-Trent, providing the facilities for the company’s future expansion and responding to the low carbon agenda by including solar panels and LED lighting throughout.


2017 - Parker joins Edwin James Group

2017 was the year an already successful business soared to new heights as WT Parker became part of the Edwin James Group, a business that’s heritage goes back to 1911 and an entrepreneur named Edwin James Stiell. Stiell understood that passionate teams that over-deliver for clients, help businesses succeed. A number of the Edwin James management team started their careers at EJ Stiell and when the Edwin James Group was formed, not only did they borrow his initials, they also built the group with the same ethos.

Parker is one of eight brands that the Edwin James Group has brought into its portfolio over the years, each strengthening the combined capabilities of the group and offering unrivalled engineering services to the market. Now operating under three brands – Parker Technical Services, Musk Process Services and Peak Technology Solutions – the group offers integrated service solutions covering the complete asset lifecycle.

When Parker joined Edwin James Group in 2017, its well-respected name was retained, and the company was strengthened with further capacity as companies Ingen and Korrie rebranded under Parker. The company was able to significantly expand its geographical reach and pioneer new services models.  Working alongside Musk Process Services, Parker now delivers a hybrid facilities management model that streamlines work on both sides of the yellow line and delivers greater efficiencies and environmental benefits for clients.

2020 - Keeping Industry Moving

When COVID hit in 2020, Parker needed to quickly adapt. Like many, we weathered that particular storm and substantially pushed the business forward whilst adopting a carefully considered approach to both our people and clients.  The pandemic highlighted an even greater need for us to take responsibility for our impact on our people, clients and wider communities.  As a result, we remain committed to providing safe and healthy work places for everyone and our business collaborates now more than ever with our clients on the current challenges in our industry.  We are proud to say that our engineers kept the lights on and the power running for all our clients through these challenging times.

Some things never change - our biggest strength

The biggest strength to the company over the past 100 years has been, and remains, our people. The majority of our electricians began their careers as apprentices – and today, 14% of the company is made up of apprentices – testament to the value we place in growing the workforce of the future from within our own business and helping to close the skills gap in our industry.  In fact, the company has presented in excess of 200 awards for 25 years’ service or more.

The Edwin James Group dedicated EJ Academy offers Parker colleagues at every level the opportunity for learning and development. From technical training to broaden the skill base of site operatives, through to leadership, management and development training for managers and support staff. The Academy also supports engineering apprenticeships for those just starting out, or those looking to develop new skills or change their career later in life. It’s critical to the group’s ambition to engineer a better way and build a new force in the UK engineering services sector.

At Parker Technical Services, our first priority is to not lose what we already have. In light of unprecedented labour and material shortages and the growing spectre of hyperinflation, we are engaging even more with our staff, improving remuneration and ensuring defined career progression.

More widely, we have increased employee EV charging capacity, and are switching our company fleet to hybrid and fully electric vehicles. More business meetings are now held virtually – a habit we acquired during lockdown but which, when used thoughtfully, cuts costs and carbon and can help with productivity.



  • Edwin James Group

    Safe working practice is non-negotiable. Whatever it takes, safety first.

  • Edwin James Group

    Exceeding the needs of our clients is fundamental to us. Going beyond what is expected, is key.

  • Edwin James Group

    Our people make the difference. We value them, train them and help them reach their potential

2022 - Looking Ahead

As part of the Edwin James Group – we have unparalleled engineering expertise and deep core capabilities in mechanical and electrical technologies. Although there are major challenges in our own industry and the wider economy, we are optimistic and excited about the future.

Looking forward, as we invariably do, we see smarter building technologies coming to the fore. This will mean a built environment with continually lowering carbon emissions and increased functionality, ambience and wellbeing through passive and active technologies and smarter working practices. We also need to see greater collaboration on projects from the onset, realistic programmes, reduced site hours and significant emphasis on wellbeing for everyone involved in constructing and maintaining the UK’s built environment in the years ahead.

Every part of our business operates a simple philosophy. To be successful we need to look after our clients better than anyone else and we need to invest in the talent, wellbeing and safety of our people.


We operate across England, Scotland and Wales with sixteen offices and service centres located in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Burton on Trent, Swadlincote, Louth, Newcastle, Manchester, Warrington, Peterborough, Daresbury, Tapton, Reading, Mildenhall, Whitehaven and Birmingham.

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