Leeds-based Hesco helps keep the US floods at bay

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HESCO Bastion, the Yorkshire company that gave its name to the British army’s stronghold against the Taliban, is playing a major role in protecting millions of Americans from flood waters.

The company, which was founded by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Jimi Heselden, is best known for protecting soldiers in war zones.

However, it’s earth-filled barriers are also being used to protect homes and businesses around the world from flooding. In recent years, the system has been deployed everywhere from Somerset to Thailand. Leeds-based Hesco Bastion has been awarded the US Army Core of Engineers (USACE), contract to supply its Hesco flood-lined units to the US National Flood Fight Centre.

The centre in Rock Island, Illinios, will serve as the emergency procurement base for flood response operations across the US.

Hesco Bastion Inc, which is based in Charleston, South Carolina, has been working with the USACE since 2005.

Last month the Charleston team was on the ground in Iowa, helping to fight the rising Mississippi River. The contract has an initial value of $8.8m, and could rise to a maximum of $26.4m.

Michael Hughes, the chief executive of Hesco Bastion, UK said: “This will have a positive impact on Leeds; this contract further establishes Hesco as the ideal provider of flood fighting barrier systems.”

Stephanie Victory, the chief executive of Hesco’s operation in the US, said the company’s products had proved themselves “time and time again in emergency situations”.

A Hesco Bastion spokesman said: “This contract will not directly lead to more jobs in 
Leeds, but there will be an impact for both manufacturing and support staff based in Leeds, who provide services to the US business.”

The spokesman said that the company’s turnover is running at the same rate as last year’s, which saw Hesco achieve £24m for the full year.

The spokesman said: “Current trading is staying in line with expectations, but in overall terms, the outlook is looking better than this time last year. We employ 20 staff in the United States; Leeds remains our main manufacturing facility.”

Heavy snow caused chaos earlier this month Photo: Johnston Press

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