Brunel to expand into automotive industry

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Richard Kirwan (42 years old) has been with Brunel for 8 years, starting originally in the Rio de Janeiro office he has now moved to Houston to drive the growth of the business in the USA. Originally from England, this is Richard’s second stay in America in a 20 year career that has taken him all over the world.

The scale of the industry
Ten years ago I was sent to Detroit to train colleagues working in the Automotive sector in the finer points of oil and gas recruiting. Before the government stepped in to assist General Motors & Chrysler it was a worrying time. It was also November which, if the truth be told, is not the best time to visit Detroit. However, I was hugely impressed with the people I met there and blown away by the scale of the industry there even in a shrinking market place. I left that company in 2010 to move to Brazil with Brunel and then returned to work for Brunel in Houston in 2017. When I returned to USA we were in the midst of an Oil industry slump, similarly to what I had seen in Michigan in 2008, our clients were running as lean as possible, with early retirees that weren’t being replaced and individuals doing the work that was previously done by teams. 

The tables have turned
For Brunel, as for most in our industry, this was a painful time but with the pain often comes enlightenment. The tables had turned, it was time to continue to diversify our business. Following our successes in the Mining and Life Sciences sectors we decided it was time to get into the Automotive industry here in the USA. My colleagues in Germany have an impressive Automotive business line, working with the finest companies and not just purely in recruitment, our Car Synergies division has five facilities delivering development and testing services delivering over 6000 successful projects in the last 10 years so this seemed to most logical step. 

An exciting chapter
We feel the Automotive sector is entering one of the most exciting and innovative chapters of its history. In the distant past Electric and Self driving cars were the stuff of science fiction. Even movies as recent as Minority Report (made in 2002- set in 2054) and I,Robot (made in 2004 set in 2035) have technology that we are starting to see in today’s vehicles. The leaps that are being made in the industry now far exceed anything we have seen in a long time which has resulted in American automakers spending more than $20bn a year on R&D alone. 

What is next?
As cars start to evolve so quickly demand will also increase, which we believe will result in a change in ownership habits with people changing their cars more frequently. Look at how smartphones have evolved and how quick we are to trade up for the newer model. Between 2006 and 2016, Americans increased the average length of ownership of their cars but this also coincided with some major economic factors across the nation and an increase in the quality of cars made here. Now we are seeing Cadillac release a car that, providing certain conditions are met, can drive itself we find ourselves asking what is next? What is the factor that will have us running for our nearest dealership? Regardless we see a bright future for the US automotive industry.

With assistance from Europe and continuing Brunel’s exacting standards for recruitment by hiring the best talent out there we look forward to a successful automotive division. Keep an eye on our website at for more news and our first automotive vacancies.