Media Release: Memorial award recognises Equalizer founder

Equalizer International Awards 1 (1)

A COMPANY which started off with little more than a single idea developed in a garden shed in North-east Scotland is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month at the end of a year which has seen it expand its reach into five continents.

Equalizer International, the world leading designer and developer of flange maintenance tools, has had one of its most successful years to date, bringing in a 30 per cent increase in sales, opening its first international office in Houston, signing new distributor agreements with agents in Canada, USA, Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore, Ireland and exhibiting at AOG in Perth Australia and the Global Petroleum Show in Canada.

The past year also saw it bring two new product lines to market which are now being used by the oil and gas, petrochemical, nuclear, water, mining and renewable energy sectors around the world.

To mark the anniversary, the company introduced three annual awards including a special award in memory of the late Graham Stephen, whose initial idea first launched the company.

The awards were presented to the Equalizer’s international distributors at a special ceremony in Aberdeen on May 29.

Equalizer International (Future Alignments as it was first known) was formed by Graham and his brother, Bob, after Graham designed a new type of flange alignment unit and Bob made a mock-up working prototype in his garden shed.

The “phenomenal” feedback to the prototype convinced them there was a global market for it and Ian McCormick, now chair and managing director joined the company to develop the product for the international market.

“It was one of those spur of the moment things, back of a fag-packet idea,” said Bob, now Equalizer’s training and operations director.

“Graham was working in the oil industry at the time and was convinced there was a gap in the market for a product like this so he sketched something out on a bit of paper and gave it to me.

“I have a mechanical background so I went off into my shed and spent three weeks building a prototype pipe and flanges and that’s how it started off.”

The company filed an international patent for the new product in multiple countries and decided to exhibit at OTC in Houston.

Within half an hour of the first day, they had sold all the tools on their stand – including the very large demonstration pipe which they’d had to air freight at high cost to Houston.

They also received 142 enquiries from Canada, the USA and Europe and on their return to Aberdeen they built another model, loaded it into the back of white van and Ian and Bob spent three weeks travelling round Europe demonstrating the unit.

“Since those early days our intention was always to progress gradually through building a company which had a strong, secure foundation which would sustain it well into the future,” said Ian.

“All the profits went back into the company so that we could continue to innovate and develop new products for the market.

“Our business has always been very internationally focused and last year we stepped up that activity by establishing a global sales and marketing team which has brought us significant growth in markets around the world.

“We wanted to mark our 20th anniversary in a special way and to give credit to Graham whose initial idea started this off and who sadly passed away last year.

“The new awards will be presented annually to recognise the contribution of our international distributors.”

The award recipients are: Graham Stephen Memorial Award for Global Distribution: Ing. Arturo Quintanilla Hayek of Talleres Portatiles S.A. de C.V., Mexico; second Award for Global Distribution, Joseph Vetter, Equalizer USA; Special Commendation for Greatest Progress in a Challenging Market, Danny Lo, Pibul Thamrong Machinery Co , Thailand.


  • Equalizer International is one of the the world’s leading designers and suppliers of flange maintenance tools for the oil and gas, petrochemical, nuclear, water, mining and renewable energy sectors.
  • The tools designed and manufactured by Equalizer International deliver significant safety, time and cost saving benefits and offer Best Practice Methods for Flange Joint Maintenance Procedures.
  • The company has designed and developed more than 20 flange maintenance tools. It has also developed a range of hydraulic and mechanical pumps and power lifting tools.
  • Equalizer International’s tools are distributed globally to more than 40 countries and are used by many of the world’s biggest energy producers and contractors.
  • Equalizer International is a past Scottish winner of the British Chambers of Commerce Outstanding Achievement in Internationalisation Award.

For further information please contact: Colin Gough, global marketing manager, Equalizer International, Tel +44 1224 701970. Email:

For general media enquiries please contact: Kate Yuill on behalf of Equalizer International and Granite PR Tel: + 44 7850 736528. Email:

PIC CAPTION: From left: Ing. Arturo Quintanilla Hayek of Talleres Portatiles S.A. de C.V., Mexico, winner of the Graham Stephen Memorial Award; Ian McCormick, chair and MD Equalizer International; Joseph Vetter, Equalizer USA, second Award for Global Distribution; Bob Stephen, training and operations director.

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