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As part of our ongoing series Inspiring Growth, The Journal talks to some of the region’s fastest growing businesses, shining a light on their incredible successes. Ryder managing partner Mark Thompson reveals how a never-ending desire for improvement has fuelled growth.

“‘That’ll do’ just isn’t good enough,” says Mark Thompson, managing partner at Ryder and North East Local Enterprise Partnership board member, reflecting on the relentless attention to detail that the award-winning practice places on everything they do, from design to client service.

It’s an approach that serves them well. Established in 1953 and headquartered in Newcastle, Ryder now has offices around the world, and continues to grow, employing over 250 people globally and working with many more through the international Ryder Alliance, a group of like-minded specialists.

“We can always do better,” continues Mark. “It’s about continually looking to improve, not resting on your laurels or giving up. Putting yourself in the shoes of the recipient of your work helps. It’s not personal when we ask for more, we expect it of all our people, from top to bottom, me included.”

The business benefits of this approach are significant and Ryder has built a reputation for quality, world-class work and added-value at every level. From delivering against client briefs to investing in local communities to looking after its people, the team is always striving for more.

“Sometimes the benefits of our approach are rather intangible, but our client and people surveys show us we have high levels of retention, referral and recommendation. Many of our people spend their whole career with us and our clients return again and again,” Mark continues.

Part of Ryder’s ongoing success is its emphasis on investing in and developing people. “We expect our team to take ownership of their decisions and their work and to be leaders within their area of expertise.

“But that relies on having the right culture and infrastructure in place to support them – from learning and development to openly communicating our expectations. Ryder has always been a place where there are opportunities, but we expect ownership of challenges and solutions in return. We seem to attract like-minded people who enjoy working together.  One of the highlights of the past 12 months was seeing Mark Clasper, who joined us as a graduate and won a Ryder Bursary to study in Glasgow in 2005, being promoted to partner.”

Steve McNicol leads on client experience at Ward Hadaway. Commenting on Ryder’s success, he said; “Companies like Ryder exemplify how investment in people and communities can lead to significant market advantage. Successful businesses are only as strong as their employees, and creating a culture where expectations are clearly defined and investment in personal development is more than skin-deep takes time and commitment. But the rewards for businesses are significant.

“In many ways Ryder’s culture reflects our own. We have a history of nurturing talent from within. Our recent announcement that two of our colleagues who started with us as trainees have been promoted to partners reflects our approach. We are determined to keep doing the things we believe in to help develop our people and our firm, and in so doing retaining and attracting the best talent.”

What does the future hold for the practice? Mark concludes; “Every year since 1994 we have created a ‘Ryder Blueprint’ charting our direction of travel for the year ahead. At the end of each year, I am always amazed by what we’ve achieved. As long as there is continual progress and forward motion, we are heading in the right direction.”

To speak to Steve McNicol about your legal needs contact

For more information on Ryder visit

This article originally appears in The Journal on 30 November 2020.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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