Steven Gray


EY Entrepreneur of the Year

It’s no surprise that Steven Gray was named as EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2014: he has successfully steered ROVOP into a highly reputable position within the offshore industry, employing more than 100 staff with an estimated turnover now at £25 million – all in under four years.

As founder of Rovop – the subsea specialists – which now employs over 100 people and operates across 10 countries, Steven Gray has certainly set the entrepreneurial bar, achieving substantial and impressive success in just three short years.

Together with its co-founders, both veterans of the oil services business, Scott Freeland and Mark Vorenkamp, Rovop was established in 2011 to provide remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and services to the oil and gas offshore renewables industry.

Leaving behind a background of law and order – working at law firms Dundas & Wilson, Bank of Scotland and the Lloyds Development Capital private equity business – Gray decided to hone in on what was to become a hugely successful high investment area.

Starting the business with Freeland and Vorenkamp on just £100,000 with the plan to rent out ROVs to the major oil and gas firms working in increasingly prominent areas, such as the North Sea, Gray decided to initially target the offshore wind farm operators, earning his company a reputable name even in its early days.

Within its first 14 months, ROVOP had already secured a substantial £8 million in funding from a variety of sources, including the Scottish Loan Fund which agreed to provide up to £5 million. The Royal Bank of Scotland provided £1 million while the company secured a further £2 million lease finance from undisclosed private investors.

In August 2012, ROVOP announced it has been awarded £60,000 by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International to further support growth both at home and overseas.


With exponential global growth and an estimated turnover as of last year of £25 million, it’s no surprise Steven Gray was both shortlisted and awarded EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, receiving industry recognition for his outstanding contribution and for international business growth – “Steven maximised his background in law and banking to become a true entrepreneur,” the judges remarked.

Held at The Brewery in the City of London and now in its 17th year, the ceremony celebrates the dynamicity and entrepreneurial spirit of businesses across the UK, offering a strong networking base and opportunities for growth.

“We set out to provide the most capable and modern fleet, combined with the best personnel and highest quality of service, and have found it to be an ethos the energy industry has responded to. Demand has grown consistently and the high level of repeat business we have won makes us believe we are on the right track. We have established a strong reputation with some of the world’s leading energy companies and customers ask us to apply the same high standards around the world, more than 80% of our work is now in international markets and we have completed projects in 14 countries.

“To win an award of this prestige in competition with some of the most successful and innovative businesses in the United Kingdom is hugely satisfying. We have assembled a truly remarkable group of the most capable people in our industry and ROVOP has been successful because of their tremendous commitment. This award is about our business and is recognition of their talent and efforts,” Gray said in a statement at the prestigious event.

While Jim Bishop, EY Scotland senior partner, said: “This is the second year in a row that Scots have won more individual Entrepreneur of the Year categories than any other region of the UK, highlighting the depth of Scottish entrepreneurial talent and the strength of our programme north of the Border.

“In a year when Scotland-based events have dominated headlines, it’s satisfying to see Scots recognised at UK level for their entrepreneurial qualities and not just their politics or ability to host world-class events.”

ROVOP was also awarded the 2013 SPE Offshore Achievement award for Great Small Company and New Enterprise at the Subsea UK 2014 Awards.


Helping to reinstate its continued success and ever increasing potential for growth, ROVOP, already an approved supplier to many of the big name oil and gas companies within subsea construction, it has now said to invested £4 million into its expanding fleet of ROVs and has established its very own ROV academy.

“Establishing our own HQ is the next step in ROVOP’s evolution and enables us to build upon our specialist services in one hub, which is a major development from working across three sites,” said Gray.

In addition to its purpose built headquarters, the plot, at 18,500 ft2, will also feature quality offices, full maintenance facilities with both electrical and hydraulic workshops and not forgetting its £250,000 ROV simulator.

“The addition of the test tank will also allow us to carry out maintenance or fit sensors and tooling and then wet test our ROVs on site ahead of their deployment offshore, as well as use them for demonstration and training purposes. With work contracted already as far ahead as 2020, we look forward to our new HQ providing us with the scope to grow our team and fleet to continue to meet future demand for high quality ROV services,” Gray explained in a statement.

If the last three years are anything to go by, the next three will no doubt secure Gray as a truly successful entrepreneur within the offshore industry.


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