Royal support as Harvard makes move to new base

Yorkshire manufacturing company Harvard Engineering marked the official opening of its new base with a visit from the Duke of Kent.

The company, which recently moved from Leeds to Normanton in West Yorkshire, developed the Leafnut system, which enables remote dimming for street lighting, cutting carbon production and toxic waste by 50 per cent.

The Duke also presented Harvard with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which it won for innovation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Harvard moved after increasing its number of staff from 100 to 210 over during the past two years.

The new centre includes a high end research and development centre and a manufacturing facility with advanced assembly equipment.

Michael McDonnell, sales and marketing director, said: “It is an honour to have HRH The Duke of Kent open our new premises and present our award.

“Despite the current recession, we are anticipating our growth will continue in 2011 and 2012 at an even faster pace.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leafnut helps local authorities to cut their bills by providing dimming controls for street lighting. The technology has helped Harvard to increase its market share and the firm turned over just under £20m in 2010.

Harvard has boosted production since it moved premises in February and has manufactured and sent out goods valued at £2m in a month for the first time.

It has continued production growth since then and hopes to reach £3m a month this summer.

The Duke, who visited on Thursday, was particularly keen to learn about the firm’s research, development and manufacturing capability, which is all British-based despite the temptation for manufacturers to outsource to India and China.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The company has come a long way since Bradford-born John McDonnell, an electronics engineer, developed an electronic ballast product in the kitchen of his home in Kingston-on- Thames.

Joined by his brother Michael, he returned to Yorkshire in 1993 to launch Harvard.

The Leafnut system is the result of a six-year research and development programme carried out by Harvard.

Using Leafnut, street lights can operate at 75 per cent power between 10pm and 12am and 50 per cent power between 12am and 5am.