Archive for June, 2011

By Becci Gould, Account Executive, Petersens PR

This morning 102 members of Cardiff’s business community greeted Mark Hopwood, MD of First Great Western to St David’s Hotel and Spa for the monthly Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting.

With no doubt that Mark’s topic of presentation ‘How rail can enhance the connectivity of Cardiff – the future’ was of strong interest to most, if not all, of the audience – the guests of the Cardiff Breakfast Club welcomed Mark with open arms, eagerly awaiting his presentation.

After being introduced as a man who had ‘always worked on the railway’ having worked for a number of  companies including British Rail and Gatwick Express before joining First Great Western in 2008, our expectations were high and Mr Hopwood certainly did not disappoint in preempting and carefully answering our long-held questions.

For example, before allowing us to complain about our railway stations (which appears to be occurring rather frequently with regards to Cardiff Central) Mark reiterated that First Great Western does not own any of the stations in  Wales. However he did explain the importance of Cardiff to the service as an important portal to key business and leisure destinations, in addition to employing skilled resources both here and in Swansea.

Openly admitting that the business service between Cardiff and London has suffered in recent times, Mark explained his plans to get this ‘back on track’ with aims to cut journey time considerably having already extended the number of services running between the two cities from once an hour to every half an hour. Of course the electrified rail service will improve this dramatically, yet Mark explains that by making a series small changes along the line can potentially cut 10 minutes off the journey time making both Cardiff and London more accessible.

However, Mark explained that customers seem generally happy with First Great Western services, the company recently seeing a 23% growth in passenger numbers, with 8.6% growth on the business service between Cardiff and Portsmouth.

Despite such encouraging figures, Mark is determined to do better – pushing his team beyond government targets towards a goal of a ‘right time railway’. Such targets envisage Mark’s idea of a service of investment and improvement –driving First Great Western to overcome current problems such as the time it takes to get through Reading, access to London airports and the engineering works on the Severn Tunnel which frequently cause delays to passengers.

In achieving such goals, Mark explained that First Great Western needs the support of the business community – allowing Cardiff to be not only a successful hub of business but an accessible one too.

We hope the members of the Cardiff business community will take Mark’s message on board, allowing Cardiff to remain on route to success.

For further information on Cardiff Breakfast Club please email Becci Gould on or call 02920549597. 

By Katrina Dallimore, English Language Graduate


As my life in Cardiff comes to an end, so does my time at Petersens. At the beginning of this work taster I entered an unknown environment, and I had no idea what to expect. Six weeks on, I have not only had the chance to work alongside some brilliant people but I have gained some valuable knowledge and skills to help me progress into the world of PR.

During my time at Petersens I have had the opportunity to embark on a number of tasks including, writing blogs, articles, and drafting press releases, research, organising client portfolios, and aiding in the production of the Petersens newsletter.

I have regularly seen the journalistic side of the media, however over the past few weeks I have discovered the importance of PR in relation to media coverage, but most of all I have learnt what it takes to be successful in such a competitive field.

Thanks to all of the team at Petersens, particularly Becci, I have been made to feel extremely welcome and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here; so much so I have decided to pursue a career in PR!  I would highly recommend Petersens to anyone who wants to gain some invaluable experience and meet some friendly people along the way.

Despite how much I have gained from this irreplaceable experience, I know there is so much more to learn. This is quite an exciting prospect and one I know I want to continue with. Nevertheless, whichever direction I take on my career path and wherever it leads me, I shall always know that I took my first steps with Petersens.

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A south Wales engineering company is using 21st Century technology, including air bags, to help preserve one of Egypt’s

Giant inflatable air bags are being used to make the 4,700 year old pyramid safe

most imposing landmarks, dating back to 2,700 BC.

The Pyramid of Djoser is Egypt’s oldest step-built pyramid. But it was at risk of collapse after an earthquake in 1992.

Newport specialist engineers Cintec, who have previously provided solutions to structural problems at landmarks such as the White House and Windsor Castle, were set the task of helping it last another 4,700 years.

The team has now completed phase one of the work at the site at Saqqara, south west of Cairo.

It involved using pressurised air-filled bags, in order to hold up the roof of the 60m high pyramid, while more permanent repairs are carried out.

However managing director of Cintec, Peter James, says this is just the first step in a project which has been complicated by the recent political upheaval in Egypt

Peter James, Cintec Engineering

We were all packed and ready to begin work in January, just when the Egyptian government began to fall,” said Mr James.

“We’ve had to sit on our hands for another four months before getting the go-ahead; all the while hearing stories of looting, and worrying about how much additional damage was going to be caused.”

“Fortunately, even though most of our computers and equipment were stolen, the pyramid itself wasn’t touched; which is just as well considering how unstable it was when we got in there.”

Mr James, who started his career as a buildings inspector for Cardiff Council, said, even with the amount of preparation they’d done, they still weren’t prepared for quite how badly damaged the supporting ceiling of the burial chamber really was.

“The earthquake had essentially shifted everything sideways, and an 8m section, in the shape of an inverted cup, had dropped out.”

“Until we got the scaffolding in place, we had no idea what was holding up the remaining 60m of stone.

“It was a lethal and massive game of Ker-Plunk; trying to hold everything up, without dislodging anything further.”

Inside the Step Pyramid

The air bag technology Cintec employed, was originally created by Mr James to aid in the safer disposal of IEDs in Afghanistan.

It works on the principal of surrounding an explosive with a bag, strong enough to withstand an explosion or collapse, but with such precise control over the pressure, that it only just kisses the surface of an object, without adding even greater forces to unstable materials.

However in the case of the Pyramid of Djoser, Mr James was forced to adapt his technology; substituting a water filling for compressed air.

“We’d originally planned to use our Water Wall system, but as soon as we got a good look at the chamber, it was clear that inflating the bags with water wasn’t going to work.”

Location map

The pyramid is at Saqqara, south of Cairo

The rocks in the ceiling were too jagged, and posed an unacceptable risk of deluging the 4,500-year old pyramid, which has been bone-dry since it was built.

“But also we hadn’t realised that there were secret tunnels running under the chamber’s floor, so I didn’t think it would be able to take the weight of water-filled supports.”

Knitted together

“So we used the delays to stress-test our system with a compressed air filling. We needed them to withstand 12 Kilonewtons per square inch, but they actually did better than we could possibly imagine, comfortably supporting 28!”

The step pyramid was built above the tomb of pharaoh Djoser, a warrior who reigned in the Old Kingdom in the third dynasty for 19 years. Mummified remains were excavated in the 1930s.

Eleven air pillars now hold up the pyramid’s roof, with another six, flatter, bespoke columns currently being manufactured to support the lower corners of the burial chamber.

Once stable, Mr James and his team will perform a permanent repair, threading the latest in thermo-dynamic steel rods diagonally through the steps of the pyramid, in such a way that the six levels will be knitted together without being visible.

The steel, which Cintec have previously used to improve the bomb-resistance of major landmark buildings around the world, is designed to expand and contract with the pyramid, under the extreme temperatures of the desert.

Their final task will be to reclaim as many of the fallen original rocks as possible, and re-point them with authentic 2,700 BC mortar.

“The really tricky parts are the visible bits of the pyramid.”

“Underneath the surface we’re able to use 21st Century technology to make it as strong as we know how to, but on the outside it needs to be 100% authentic.”

“That’s involved finding the strongest blend, by testing hundreds of combinations of mortar, all entirely made from components which would have been available to the ancient Egyptians.”

This article has been taken directly from BBC Wales News: 

For Further information on Cintec please contact Rob Petersen on or 02920549597





By Rob Petersen, Managing Director

On my first visit to Aberdovy my host Graham Johnson suggested I might like to accompany him on a ‘stroll’ up Cader Idris on one fine day.

Some time passed and before I knew it the challenge was set. On Saturday 4th June we ventured up this stunning Welsh mountain.

Once we reached the Summit Penygadair two and half miles later passing many climbers on their way down, we had a magnificent view of the Snowdon massif, the Lleyn Peninsula, the hills of Shropshire and I think I even saw the coast of Ireland!!!

Cader Idris

Descending the mountain was much more painful than going up but the sense of achievement as we enjoyed our barbecue of Welsh Lamb whilst overlooking the Devey Estvary, was profound!

May I recommend the challenge to any fit active person, but be warned it’s not a stroll but an extremely good work out!

The Cardiff Breakfast Club has now been running for years and many of our members have been attending the event since its very beginning. However, new tools such as Twitter and Linked In have allowed the Cardiff Breakfast Club to expand its reach, beyond its existing members, attracting not only new members but debate and comments.  We’re keen to find out how you heard about the event in order to expand and market the increasingly popular meetings to new businesses in the area. Please take a second to respond to our poll below…

By Jodie Phillips, English Literature Graduate and Ex-Work Experience Student at Petersens PR

Jodie Phillips on a GOWales WorkTaster at Petersens PR

Having completed my GO Wales taster with Petersens PR, I wanted to acknowledge how much I have benefited from the expertise of the team, and hence the reason for this blog.

During my time at Petersens, I was asked to undertake a series of tasks, such as writing press releases, articles and blogs. Given that I had never written a press release before, I welcomed the advice of all the staff, especially Becci. Petersens taught me the fundamental rules and structure of press releases and explained how they differed from articles and blogs.

Now having this advice, I was asked to write a press release on a news story for one of Petersens newest clients. Considering it was a new client, the importance of constructing a ‘good’ press release was paramount.

Consequently, I took on board all of the advice Petersens had given me and was thrilled to discover that my first ‘proper’ press release was going to be used. Seeing it in a local magazine was a great achievement as I felt I had found a way of incorporating my creative, English skills into the professional field of PR.

Additionally, my time at Petersens also saw me helping to organise and run the Cardiff Breakfast Club networking event. From the simple task of creating name badges, to ensuring everyone had their badges and a place to sit, it was great experience to see how such a big event comes together.

I enjoyed the event so much that I decided to help Petersens with my second breakfast club event, even after only having just completing my final year assessments the day before.

Despite the initial shock of having to wake at 6am, I instantly set about helping Becci and Rob with the running of the event. Although feeling slightly inexperienced compared to the other networkers and, of course, the guest speaker, Laura McAllister, I really enjoyed feeling part of the business world.

My placement was truly a unique experience where I feel that I have not only learnt an invaluable amount from the Petersens team, but that I have also made some lifelong friends.

From Petersens’ expertise, I believe I have gained the skills in order to succeed in PR, and I look forward to developing my potential through undertaking many more opportunities in PR in the near future.

Special Guest Speaker: Mark Hopwood, Managing Director, First Great Western

Presentation Topic:  “How rail can enhance the connectivity of Cardiff- the future”

Mark will update the group on the committed improvements to rail services from London and Bristol which will benefit Cardiff in the coming years.  He will also explain what the business community needs to do to further enhance these schemes to improve the rail services provided in and out of South Wales.

Mark Hopwood joined First Great Western in January 2008 from National Express where he was Managing Director of the London Lines train operating companies, Silverlink, c2c and Gatwick Express. Mark joined as Performance Director and was appointed as Managing Director in December 2008.

The next Club Meeting will be held on Thursday 30th June 2011 at The St. David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff Bay.  As usual, we will commence at 7.45am and finish by 9.15am.  Breakfast will be served promptly at 8.00am.

We would be delighted if you were able to join us.

If you wish to attend, please contact Becci Gould on or 02920549597

We hope you can find time to join us and look forward to seeing you.

Yours sincerely,

Morgan Cole. Lloyds TSB Commercial. Western Mail. Marsh.

By Katrina Dallimore, English Language Graduate, Cardiff University

Nineteen years, numerous exams, huge amounts of coursework and one epic life experience, and my education is over. Now thrown into the real world, I’m faced with the challenge of creating a career for myself.

My love of writing has grown over the years, which evidently lead me to studying English Language at Cardiff University. Since before starting university, I dreamt of becoming a journalist; ideally a columnist, and so alongside my studies I ventured into obtaining some work experience in the journalism field.

I was extremely lucky and found a few placements including local newspapers back home in Bath, and the opportunity to be a media host during the T20 cricket world cup 2010, where I was able to meet the written and broadcasting media and gain some invaluable advice. However, it was last summer when I attended a journalism workshop with News Associates in London, that I was introduced to the world of PR.

Lacking knowledge and experience in this field, I embarked on some research and discovered a career which I hadn’t considered before, and wondered why I hadn’t. After a recommendation by a friend I signed up to GO Wales which offered a number of work tasters in journalism and PR. When the opportunity at Petersens PR arose, I was ecstatic and didn’t waste any time in accepting the offer.

On my first day I was asked to write an article for the Petersens blog on an upcoming event; The Royal Welsh Spring Festival. Whilst searching for inspiration to help write the article, I discovered the vast amount of work Petersens produce, and the variety of different clients they provide for. I was beginning to realise what PR was really about and I was eager to learn more.

I am currently on my third week of my work taster and loving every second of it. Not only have I had the opportunity to write for their blog, but I have written a draft press release, aided in the production of the monthly newsletter; The Petersens Post, and carried out some copy work, although I know there is so much more to discover and gain from this placement.

In my short time at Petersens I have already learned some invaluable skills. This is a whole new experience, and I have to admit it’s one I am thoroughly enjoying. Learning alongside a friendly and talented team is everything I could have wanted from this work placement, and I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity.

Unknown to what the future has in store for me, is a challenging a daunting prospect. Future plans include travelling, with the possibility of volunteering in a conservation project in South Africa. However, I know wherever I find myself, I will be taking with me the knowledge and skills I have obtained from my time at Petersens.