BVC March, 2016 - page 57

Business View Caribbean - March 2016 57
he studied engineering in England and worked for sev-
eral British engineering firms after graduating from
the Hammersmith College, University of London. He
left the United Kingdom in 1967, to assume the post
of Design Engineer at the Ministry of Works in Anti-
gua, and returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1968 to
accept the position of Chief Engineer at Sanders and
Foster (Caribbean) Ltd., a British fabrication company.
Within a short time, he assumed full responsibility for
the firm’s operations.
According to Westcott, Sanders and Foster decided to
pull out of Trinidad in the early ‘70s, due to the global
oil price shock of that era. Yorke and some business
partners offered to buy the company. “So he took it
over and they set it up as Yorke Structures,” says West-
cott. “It started off pretty small. At that time, there may
have been some other small companies, but really,
they had a monopoly in terms of what was being done
in structural steel fabrication on the island. That’s
what attracted Bob to it; he could see that. He always
thought that he could do it better and cheaper than
anybody else.”
Beginning with only ten employees, Yorke quickly be-
came a successful fabricator, building schools for the
Ministry of Education, and industrial parks for the
government’s Industrial Development Company. “So
that was the early days,” recounts Westcott. “In the
mid’80s, there was another crash. Our economy is an
oil and gas-based economy and it tends to rise and
fall with energy prices. So times were hard for awhile.”
Things rebounded in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s,
when the company began to diversify to include more
commercial work throughout the eastern Caribbean.
“It was relatively small projects,” says Westcott, “the
odd school or gas station; a lot of small jobs making up
the volume. We had a company doing fabrication in St.
Lucia, for awhile. It built a brewery there for Heineken
Yorke Structures Limited
A structural engineering and steel fabri-
cation company
Arima, Trinidad, W.I.
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