The History of Cameron Forecourt
Cameron Forecourt came about following the acquisition of Cameron 2000 by Forecourt Engineering in 2002. The company still employs a number of members of staff from both of these companies but we have never recorded the histories of Cameron 2000 and Forecourt Engineering in the same place – until now.
What ultimately became known as Cameron 2000 was formed in 1964 by Donald Cameron as part of the Cameron Group. The group consisted of A Cameron Ltd (industrial cleaning and painting), Cameron Builders, Seaflame (maintenance of gas appliances for local government). The new arm of the business was originally called Filling Station Mechanics.
There were numerous changes of names over the years – Field Service Mechanics, Cameron Mechanical Services, Cameron Technical Services. The company was set up when Donald Cameron was approached by Esso Petroleum to form a new company to cover the servicing of their fuel stations. There was only one company then doing this type of work: Pump Maintenance Limited. At its height there were approximately 800+ sites on contract just in the northern part of the country, interestingly Gilbarco covered the south.
The company then expanded, servicing petrol stations for Cleveland, BP and Conoco, including lubrication bays and car washes. In 1997 the company lost the Esso contract to Gilbarco. The company worked hard over the next few years to gain contracts from dealer owned sites.
In 1999 the Cameron Group had financial problems with one of the companies within the group:
Cameron Motor Services, who sold and repaired Scania trucks. These financial problems were bringing the group down. Four members of staff: Danny Conway, Melvyn Churm, Dennis West and Marlene Williamson approached the managing director and acquired Cameron Technical Services Ltd from the group, forming Cameron 2000.
The company began to grow again: service contracts were gained and installation work for Stagecoach and Arriva grew from strength to strength.
Tony Jenner formed A.T. Jenner Forecourt Engineering following the demise of the company that he worked for during the late 70’s; GMS (Garage Management Services). Tony had been working as an engineer servicing and refurbishing retail fuel installations. It is worthy of note that GMS also employed our Chairman David Willis, and other notable characters from the industry.
Most influential to Forecourt Engineering was Leo Isles and Phil Whitten who formed Timeplan around the same time. Following the development of a relationship with Timeplan. Tony identified a niche in what we now know as the commercial fuelling sector of our industry. Indeed our relationship with Royal Mail stretches back to the early 80’s and the introduction of their Timeplan Fuel Monitoring Systems.
Forecourt Engineering was incorporated in 1983 and shortly afterwards Tony appointed Don Murray as employee number three. The company grew over the years with Barry joining as a young service engineer in 1988 followed by Martin Kirby and Keith Hall-Guy in 1989. Keith Jenner joined in 1996.
Forecourt Engineering was approached by and appointed southern distributor for Triscan Fuel Monitoring Systems during the early 1990’s and became an important sales agent for that business. It was at this time that our professional relationship with Martyn Gent was developed. The business continued to build a somewhat specialist installation and maintenance service with a focus on commercial fuelling in the South. During the early to mid-90’s it was decided that the company should expand its influence and started to employ engineers located remotely from the base. John Smith joined around this time enabling services to be expanded into the midlands, eventually employing Spenser Brinkley in East Anglia and Rick Babcock in Manchester.
Forecourt Engineering came to an agreement with the then owners of Pumptronics to acquire the rights to provide spares support to the existing range of Pumptronics Series 100 and 200 fuel dispensing pumps. This really started to put the business on the map and preceded a deeper relationship with Gilbarco Veeder Root. As time progressed it became clear that the future of the company would be better assured by offering a national coverage using directly appointed staff. Tony and Barry were acquainted with the management at Cameron 2000 through their association with the AFSC (Association of Forecourt Systems Contractors) and therefore it became known that Danny Conway was terminally ill discussions were held regarding the acquisition of the business.
Following Danny’s untimely death in 2002, Forecourt Engineering acquired the shares of Cameron 2000. The name Cameron Forecourt is of course an amalgamation of Cameron 2000 and Forecourt Engineering and whilst the Forecourt element of the name is no longer directly appropriate I think that you will agree that it is a symbolic joining of two quite significant players in the fuel installation and maintenance business.