I joined Evode on the 4th July 1960 to work with Mr A Loft in the areas of Middlesex, part of West London and then into Berkshire to sell some of the company products including Bitumen, Concrete admixtures, specialist paint and Bitumen/membrane contract services for roof waterproofing. I came to Evode after 5 years with Berry Wiggins Bitumen Roof Waterproofing department, and 5 years in the precast concrete and building industry.
For the first three months with Evode I used my Motor Cycle and sidecar outfit to travel round the area to customers and prospects. When I arrived in the area I was working, I changed out of my waterproof coat and leggings and into a smarter coat for selling calls. It was a big day when I was issued with my first company car which was a Morris 1000 Saloon as I found it warmer and dryer for getting around.
During my first visit to Stafford Head Office, I was given a very acceptable box of Dove polishes, dusters, etc. After being introduced to Dr. Simon, he took a group of us round the factory which included seeing the bitumen plant and a ‘new’ machine for filling tubes with Evo-Stik adhesive.
I was always surprised that whenever I saw Dr. Simon, he remembered my name. Although I only made occasional visits to Stafford - I wish I had a similar good memory. Our main contact with Head Office was by written memo or telephone.
In the early days, the Contracts staff travelled daily to the Berkshire area from East London as required, but as the work increased from Berkshire County Council and A.W.R.E. Aldermaston etc., a number of our staff relocated to the Basingstoke area and we were able to open a local depot to stock materials.
As roof waterproofing contracts increased, the sale of general materials was passed to another department and I concentrated on the sales of roof waterproofing contracts and roofing materials. The area was also changed to include Buckinghamshire and Hampshire including Isle of Wight.
In 1973, I moved my home to Somerset as Regional Manager for the South West - Gloucestershire, Avon, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. A little later this also included South Wales and Herefordshire. This involved a big change in the life of my wife, our two children who were then 11 and 14 years of age, and myself. However we all settled won eventually.
So that we could cope with contracting work locally, I had to find a suitable Depot and started off the first couple of years with an ex builders yard in Clifton, Bristol. After a time we obtained most of our work in Gloucestershire and I found a depot in Cheltenham, which was more central for our contracts staff and working our contracts.
We waterproofed a large number of School roof in Gloucestershire, and on one occasion I was on the roof at the start of the contract during the school holidays, when the Contracts Manager (I won’t mention his name) drove into the playground and diverted his attention up to the roof, then he drove over a small tree which had been planted in the middle of the playground! Fortunately, no damage to his car, only to his pride. I photographed the tree so I could remind him of it now and again!
As work increased in the Region, we employed an additional Sales Representative working from his home in Portishead near Bristol.
Evode Roofing went through several name changes and personnel changes, but I always enjoyed working with the many people I came in contact with. Being ‘on the road’ as part of the Evode Sales Team, we were very fortunate in meeting many different people as customers and going to interesting places and factories, which included Schools in various counties, Wellington College, several Atomic Energy Authority plants, Air Bases, London Airport Walls Ice Cream factory, various racecourses and many other diverse places.
In the late 1980’s we had a major change when the Roof Waterproofing and Insulation sections were sold off to the Tarmac Group, but I shall always remember the days when we were part of Evode.
9 August 2000