Paul Ryan: Leveraging our Infrastructure for a Stronger North East

Paul Ryan Blog


Paul Ryan is Finance Director at Arcinova, a Contract Research and Development Organisation to the pharmaceutical industry. In this guest blog he shares how we can generate growth in the North East by leveraging our existing infrastructure.

Ok – I’m going to jump back to the mid-1980s when I was trying to figure out where I should go to do an economics degree. I was a teenager in Leeds, prepared to go anywhere really and I had looked at a few places.

I decided to visit Newcastle.  I distinctly remember, it was a rainy summers day. Bit misty too.

Although the weather was poor, Newcastle instantly made a lasting impression.  It looked as if it required some investment, but it was full of cheery people who said hello and most importantly for a student, they looked like they knew how to have a good time.  A teacher at my school, a fairly recent Newcastle graduate, told me I wouldn’t fail to enjoy my university experience in Geordie-land.

So, that being said, I headed North.

The university experience was nothing short of fantastic. What a great place to grow up and learn more about life.  I may have even managed to fit in a bit of studying too.

Over the years, I have got to know the area and realise how beautiful both Newcastle and Northumberland are, with their unapologetic bold character and rich history. A place filled with some spectacular castles and a dramatic coastline which boasts a myriad of local wildlife.  What is there not to love about the North East?

When asked to think of infrastructure, as well as the fast rail link to London, roads that are busy but not comparatively so and broadband that is moving across the region, I think of the things that differentiate us – our history, our science and innovation, and our people.

Why is that important you might ask? I am the Finance Director of ARCINOVA, based in Alnwick, Northumberland.  We help our customers develop drugs across a whole range of therapeutic areas, some of which are close to home. Our customers are trusting us to deliver their precious projects. This is a big ask. They need to look us in the eye and know we will deliver.  We have to earn their trust.  Being in a part of the world full of friendly, approachable people with a high work ethic and a desire to exceed customer expectations is a good reason for us to be here.

A lot of the time we are helping solve problems. Science and innovation is a big thing for us, and our customers. Having access to talented graduates from our local universities is key for the development and advancement of ARCINOVA.

The abundant heritage and catalogue of castles proves an attraction for our international customers. We like to share the area with them and this makes their visit memorable. From walls to castles, gardens to seascapes, they leave us having met a group of friendly, talented, customer-focused people, who live and work in a truly beautiful and interesting part of the world.

ARCINOVA started trading in February 2016 with 50 people.  We have added a further 33 colleagues, most of whom are graduates from local universities. We have had 91 customers visit our facilities, more than half of them are international and many have been able to experience our castles, gardens and seascapes.  Orders have followed most of those visits and consequently our customer base has increased by over 75% to more than 100.  Our revenue growth is in excess of 60%.

Pretty good infrastructure, I would say.


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