Our people

Ian Cowley


After studying building engineering at Bath University I emigrated to South Africa, where I worked as a mechanical engineer on some of the largest retail schemes in the country. After returning to the UK, I joined Hoare Lea in 1992 as an Executive Engineer. I am now a Partner and manage the Leeds office, which opened in 1993.

Biggest engineering challenge.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Arla Dairy challenged me the most, due to the size and complexity of service requirements. It is one of the world’s largest fresh milk production facilities – and required us to have the most focused, committed and highly technically competent engineers on the job. Our success was down to working closely with the client’s specialists to establish a detailed and fixed brief at time of tender.

A defining moment.

I first joined Hoare Lea in Manchester – our Leeds office didn’t exist. Most of the firm’s other offices had been developed after we secured projects in the local area. However, after submitting a successful business plan, I was given the opportunity to “cold start” a Leeds office and I’ve never looked back.