BVC March, 2016 - page 59

Business View Caribbean - March 2016 59
the market has become mature,” Westcott explains.
“We built all the plants and the country doesn’t have
the gas anymore to sustain building new ones.” So, in
order to respond to changing market conditions, YSL
began to offer more main contracting services, includ-
ing concrete work, building foundations, and hiring
subcontractors to do the service and finishing work.
“We’ve diversified into that because we didn’t see the
point to just show up onsite and put up the steel frame
when we were actually able to do all of it. In the last
five to ten years, we’ve done some quite large projects
as the main contractor. We’ve developed all the civil
and structural work capabilities.”
Today, YSL has nearly 120 employees in is central fa-
cility in Arima, Trinidad. It supplies, and sometimes
erects, structural steelwork throughout the Carib-
bean – mostly small commercial and office buildings,
warehouse structures, and the occasional hotel. In
the days when the company worked on building gas
plants, it used to negotiate for contracts, whereas
today, Westcott says that three quarters of the work
comes as the result of competitive bidding. “You’d find
the same set of contractors,” he says, “the ones that
did the vessels, the ones that did the instrumentation,
the ones that did the foundations, and the one that
did the structural steel work, being us. We would move
around the plants, always in the same group, and, by
and large, that was by negotiation. In the commercial
sector, now, we find that there’s a lot more competi-
tion, and so there tends to be a lot more competitive
bidding going on.”
Now that Bob Yorke has passed away, Westcott also
has the task of modernizing and streamlining the
company’s organizational structure as well as its al-
location of assets and material. “It’s a new team in
charge,” he says. “Jackie, my wife, has taken on the
role of Executive Chairman, and I’m Managing Direc-
tor. We’re in the process of reconstituting the Board
and looking around to see where efficiencies can be
made, because we recognize that we’re in a competi-
tive environment, but also to see where we can im-
prove on making our asset base perform better. We
had a lot of empty warehouse space, we had a lot of
obsolete stock, and we had a lot of obsolete machin-
ery. We ‘cleaned out the attic’; we’ve gotten rid of all
the old stuff; we’ve emptied out the warehouses and
upgraded them. We’ve got about twelve acres of land,
here, and we only use half of it. We’ve got various plots
of land that we need to develop and so, moving away
now from main contracting, there’s also the possibility
that we start to do some speculative development, as
well, either industrial, or commercial. So, in terms of
the future, that’s an opportunity for us, going forward.”
YSL’s most recently completed big project was the
Shaw Park Cultural facility in Tobago. “We were the
main contractor, so we built it from the foundations
up,” Westcott says. “It’s a 3,500-seat, indoor concert
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