While sitting at home back in Bristol, I write this, reflecting on the week just gone after four days based in the Empire Engineering Marseille office.

At Empire, we place significant value in getting the whole team together regularly. I firmly believe spending time together ‘in real life’ is crucial to fostering a high-performance team. Technology can take us a long way, but real relationships are made face to face, and often not in a meeting room.

A warm welcome

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon to be greeted by mild weather in the sunshine. A welcome respite after what has felt like the endless rain in Bristol this winter. A few drinks, a game of pétanque, and dinner in a local bistro. The perfect opportunity for everyone to chill out, chat and meet some of our new joiners for the first time. There may have been some more drinks later on. Allegedly.

EE site visit at Eiffage Métal fabrication yard

Eiffage Métal

And so on Wednesday morning, we were kindly invited as guests of Eiffage Métal to their fabrication site at Fos Sur Mer. I say ‘we’ because we had very nearly the whole Empire team in attendance. Eiffage Metal opened their doors and invited us in to tour the facilities and see the floating foundations currently in fabrication for Ocean Winds’ Les Eoliennes Flottante du Golfe de Lion (EFGL).

Before we took a step onto the yard floor we went through the necessary safety briefings and were given the appropriate PPE to go on site. We then were taken down to get up close and personal with the foundations mid-fabrication. Not only did we get a tour inside and outside of the facilities but we were invited (two at a time!) to climb the scaffolding and go up to stand on top of the bouyancy chambers, clamber inside and see these huge fabrications up close. 

It’s always a hugely valuable experience for engineers to see the fruits of their labour in person.  Thank you Eiffage Métal.

Strategy workshops

After our morning on site, we spent the next day and half at the Empire Marseille office in a series of strategy sessions, updates and technical workshops. The agenda had been expertly put together by Louise Coles and it amused me no end when the team asked me what was going on next and my answer was, ‘I haven’t a clue, Louise is in charge…’

A highlight was welcoming new team members and announcing well deserved promotions from within the team. More on this to follow over the coming weeks.

It was my first time in the Empire Marseille office. It is fantastic. Part of a modern co-working building, it’s a real hub of activity with a labyrinth of break out spaces, cafes, study desks and the essential roof top terrace complete with epic sea views. The wifi is super fast and the coffee is on point.

The decision to run an expanded ‘team day’ is not to be taken lightly. As the business grows, it involves more planning and a bigger commitment to make it happen. As a leader, I cannot think of a more important thing to make sure we do on a regular basis.

A little snapshot of life at the Marseille office

Merci Marseille

Marseille is not a city I’ve ever given much thought to over the years. I have to say it left a very positive impression on me. Less touristy than it’s coastal neighbours, it’s a working city, with beautiful harbour, bustling cafes, roof top cocktails bars and excellent bistros.

As the week unfolded, and without my input, some team members went for morning jogs along the seaside while others decided to stay on for the weekend together. It gives me a feeling of immense satisfaction to see all of this. What started as an idea in a bedroom is now an established international business, with at its heart, a group of exceptionally talented and passionate individuals who are all pulling in the same direction. 2024 is our 10 year anniversary and we are planning to celebrate in style this summer.

Thanks to our local man on the ground, Empire’s very own Benoit Briere, we were treated to the very best the city had to offer. We ate well. We lived well. I am not surprised to hear many of the team are now planning ‘work from Marseille’ weeks later this year. I am one of them.

Merci a tous.

Talk with Karl

We’ve been a part of some of the worlds most exciting and
complicated projects in offshore wind.

If you need more eyes, brains and hands, we’re ready to help.

Empire specialists can effectively and efficiently assist with your offshore wind project. To find out more, please get in touch with the team at Empire Engineering.


Read our Guide to Offshore Foundations

Packed full of knowledge about the technical developments and challenges facing our industry in both fixed bottom and floating offshore wind.

Read our Guide to Offshore Foundations

Get your copy of the guide

You have Successfully Subscribed!