When something or someone is described as unique, a lot of pressure rests on that person or business to live up to its billing and not be ordinary or even mundane. One quick look at the portfolio and services offered by consultants LK2, and you quickly realise that it’s an entirely appropriate description of the company created and developed by its Managing Director Dale Lui.
From humble beginnings, the Nettleham-based company now boasts a unique blend of services in architecture, building development, and the sport and leisure industry, with offices in Lincolnshire and London.
The business was developed by Dale, 53, from his bedroom 22 years ago, with turnover in the first year a modest £10,000. Fast forward two decades and annual turnover stands at nearer £2 million, having increased dramatically through the company’s diversification in recent years.
This feature interview was first published in issue 91 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.
The growth is all the more remarkable and impressive considering that architecture wasn’t an immediate passion for Dale, but something he grew to love.
While studying at the Hull School of Architecture, Dale met fellow LK2 Director Andrew Kitchen, who has been at the company since its inception. The two were reunited at Benoy Ltd in Newark but even at this point, architecture still took a back seat.
“Music is my passion and it always has been,” Dale says with a smile. “When I was at Benoy, I used to be in a group and we used to go out gigging about three times a week. The guys used to pick me up from the office at 4.30pm and we used to go down to Sinfin in Derby, Northampton, all across the Midlands. I would get back about 3am and be back in the office by 9am, so it was a bit of a challenge!”
After being made redundant at Benoy and giving up the bright lights of Sinfin and Northampton, Dale created his own company – Dale Lui Architectural Designs – brought his old colleague Andrew on board as a partner, and the two have not looked back since.
A key breakthrough
While the core of LK2 remains its architectural specialism, the burgeoning sport and leisure side of the company is what seems to get Dale most enthusiastic and passionate.
A key breakthrough in the development of this side of the business came by delivering the Lincolnshire FA building next door to LK2’s offices on the Deepdale Lane enterprise park in 2010.
Dale set up a sports development company following this project and in the years that have followed, he has forged strong relationships with the FA and Sport England.
Following the success of the Lincolnshire FA scheme, LK2 has 15 similar buildings on the go all across the country now.
Another project Dale speaks with great pride about is the £6 million sports complex in Stamford completed early last year. The sports centre included a new stadium for Stamford AFC, plus various sports science and teaching facilities, a sports hall and 3G pitch. It was the largest FA funded project aside from the national football centre at St George’s Park near Burton.
Continue reading the full cover interview with Dale Lui in issue 91.
For the latest dispatch of business news from across Lincolnshire delivered in your inbox every Friday, subscribe to the Lincolnshire Business magazine.