Rhys Skym, Sam Johnston and Russell Wrapson, the three Directors of SWJ consulting along with Jordan Day, a Structural Technician, were all previously employed by Gemma Design, a structural engineering firm based in Witney.

We are often asked why we left and set up on our own and this is why.

Rhys Skym was one of four directors at Gemma Design, a business that was formed in May 2012 but was, essentially, a continuation of Gemma Building and Design Services which had been trading since 1981.

The four directors of Gemma Design were at different stages of their lives/careers and wanted different outcomes for the business.  After much discussion and reflection Rhys felt that the direction and values of the business were not compatible with his own and reluctantly decided to resign. Upon receiving Rhys’ resignation, the remaining directors decided to close the firm

Once the closure of the business was announced, Rhys took Sam and Russell to the pub for some liquid sympathy. After a while, it became clear that all three had a shared set of goals, vision and values which would go on to form the foundation of their future working relationship.  Sam and Russell made the decision to join Rhys as equal partners and form SWJ Consulting. They recruited Jordan, who had also worked with them at Gemma, and started trading in June 2017.

All three SWJ directors often express their gratitude to Gemma Design for the time spent in their employment where they gained valuable experience in engineering but also in running a successful business. SWJ continue to expand and now have a team of 8.

In the first 18 months of business they were finalists in several local awards and the LABC Building Excellence Awards.

Rhys comments ‘I will always be grateful to Gemma Design for the time I spent with them as an employee and a director. Of course, I was saddened to hear that Gemma was not going to continue after my departure and wish continued success to the directors and former employees.’

SWJ Consulting’s values

Rhys, Sam and Russell are very clear in the values that they have adhered to throughout their careers and now clearly communicate these on the SWJ Consulting website.

  1. Transparency, clarity and authenticity
  2. Practical, academic and technological
  3. Using Virtual Design & Construction technology
  4. Accountability, reliability and clear pricing
  5. Reinforcing experience, learning and expertise

Gemma Design was always keen to use leverage technology to boost collaboration and Russell is taking this forward at SWJ. Staying up-to-date and using the latest virtual design and construction technology is at the heart of SWJ Consulting’s philosophy of excellence. This is coupled with a thorough knowledge of traditional design investigative methods.

It’s been nearly three years since SWJ Consulting was started and Gemma Design was closed to new business in May 2017 and dissolved in May 2019. Although sad for those employees who lost their jobs when Gemma closed its doors the directors of SWJ Consulting have no regrets in starting their own consultancy with will always be grateful to Gemma Design for their time there.