I started at Evode in September 1960 after interviews with Dr. Simon at Stafford and the London office. Before my first visit to Stafford, Dr Simon pointed out that there were three factories; Common Road, still being built as the most advanced adhesives factory in its day, Glover Street (by the Stafford General Infirmary), and Vik, opposite Lotus.
When Mr Vohralik (Vee to everyone then) took me round the factories, I realised that the Lotus we had discussed was shoes, not motor cars!! It had seemed that Evode was involved in very advanced motor technology - all too true in later years. Before joining Evode I passed the Lotus Car works on my way to P.A.T.R.A. (Printing Research Association) where my work in Technical Service included adhesion problems.
After being with various London area employers, I decided to come to Evode for a few years and stayed for 33. My formal employment agreement was to serve the Company as a Chemist, and I worked on adhesives. One clause of this legal document stipulated that my appointment could be terminated upon the 30th day of September 1961 or upon any subsequent 30th day of September.
As I had previously worked on hot melt adhesives this occupied me for some years. Little hot melt application equipment was available at that time so adhesives and applicators were developed together. In contrast the to the Evode organisation of later years, I took the first batch of hot melt adhesive sold to a customer in the boot of my own car.
At the end of the 60's I moved onto solvent based neoprene adhesives. Moving on was then usual at Evode. Very few people left the Company in the 70's, and soon most people in the labs were familiar with all aspects of Research and Development and production. The Company was technically driven, and Lab staff were flexible in dealing with any problem. A technical problem: 3 separate teams of Chemists could work on it. A factory problem: most of the labs could go in to help for a few days. A cost office problem: most of the lab could do costings.
The Company evolved of course and by the 80's technical development was led by marketing and financial needs. Also, Government and other regulations played an ever increasing part in the Company operations.
I was involved in regulations for the last 15 years or so of my time at Evode. These increased exponentially in that time. Major area included Health and Safety (site and products), Literature, Transport, Emissions, Waste, Control Systems and Patents. I served on various committees of B.S.I., B.A.S.A (formerly B.A.M.A.) and other trade bodies dealing with test methods and regulations. We had our successes in making sense of regulations, but one notable failure came from Downing Street in John Major’s time.
After many months of discussion a regulation was introduced with 6 weeks notice requiring a label change on retail hazardous products. We protested at once, but as our customers would most likely return all their existing stock after the due date we set about relabelling all our containers on and off site. 24 hours before the due date, the authorities finally agreed that the regulation as printed could not work as its words made no sense and it was withdrawn, so all our labour was wasted.
When Evode was taken over by Laporte in 1993, it was an appropriate time for me to retire. I had been with Evode the whole time it was a public company and went on the day specified in my original agreement.