Strategic brand consultancy The Engine Room has welcomed two key appointments – with 35 years’ experience between them – to support the business’s 2021 growth plans.

Highly-skilled senior designer Neil Herke returns to the Mirfield-headquartered agency having previously been the organisation’s head of digital in 2013. Originally in the post for four years, he produced animation, photography, film, and websites to support brand development projects before moving to production firm The Mill Group as its head of graphics in 2017.

With an impressive digital skill set, Neil will be responsible for helping The Engine Room continue to bring customer stories to life through movement and visual content.

Meanwhile, experienced leader Chantelle Welcome joins as a project manager and possesses global brand knowledge following a previous role as a senior quality assurance specialist for clothing firm Cohen and Wilks International.

She also successfully led sales and design teams to develop new opportunities – throughout the UK, Vietnam, China and Bangladesh – for Christys Garments and Accessories. As the business’s technical manager, she was primarily responsible for quality and compliance, handling orders and approvals, and managing overseas factory audits.

Both recruits have been brought in to further bolster the award-winning team’s ambitions to reinvigorate UK and international brands. Despite the backdrop of Covid-19, The Engine Room maintained existing revenue, and added turnover through a number of client wins in both the healthcare and high-tech sectors. The Yorkshire-based business ended the year with a 50% increase in profitability and a hike in export sales.

Speaking about rejoining his former colleagues, Neil said: “During uncertain times, moving to a new agency could be quite daunting – especially when doing so remotely. However, coming back to The Engine Room has felt like catching up with old friends again.

“The group’s passion for design, respect and professionalism towards clients has never wavered and the culture is one where everyone is trusted and adds value.”

Taking on engaging projects and being able to focus on optimising systems and processes are elements that led Chantelle to The Engine Room.

She explained: “I feel excited to be part of such a progressive team. Everyone is really engaged in what they do and open to discussing ideas and approaches so we can continue to deliver outstanding strategic outcomes for clients.”

Established in 2001, six-time Design Business Association award-winner The Engine Room has rebranded several high-profile UK organisations including The Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Research, Paxman and Panintelligence, and impacted the growth of many organisations through strategic design thinking. The Engine Room’s client list includes Design Council, Cummins and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Managing director Lesley Gulliver believes the duo’s experience will add an even greater level of expertise and measurable outcomes for clients.

“Both Chantelle and Neil are fantastic appointments,” she said. “Chantelle is a truly collaborative manager who is committed to finding creative solutions and making things happen.

“Neil is a real team player and one we’re so excited to have back in the organisation. We’ll not only benefit from his experience but also his ability to upskill others in motion graphics so we can continue to tell client stories creatively.”