Commenced employment at Evode 21.12.1970 as Despatch Deck Supervisor

Moved to B & H Sales as Representative January 1980

Transferred to Overseas Sales representative March 1983

Back to B & H Sales 1986

30 Years service this year

When I joined Evode just before Christmas 1970 as the despatch deck supervisor, under Keith Hollis there were four loading bays looking onto the football pitch that was alongside the factory on Common Road.

Inside the building next to the loading bay was an office. This office house the traffic manager Ken Shardlow, finished goods warehouse manager Bob Longdon and despatch manager Keith Hollis. Along with office staff such as Stella Davies, Myra Wall, and Bob Bunker to mention just a few.

My job was to supervise the loading of all vehicles on site, before they left the factory gates.

The staff of the finished goods warehouse put up the orders, this was located behind the despatch decks. Behind the finished goods warehouse was and still is the flammable manufacturing area. Impact 528, Gun O Prene TX528 etc.

Downstairs was the non flammable products finished goods store. Bitumen, Flashband, and Tile adhesive Bal (this product was made for building adhesives in Stoke).

Walking round the finished goods warehouse at that time I was flabbergasted at all the different products that we manufactured.

One product which we bought in, was Dow Corning Silicone 781 and 785. This product was new on the market at that time, coming from America I understand. The reps would get orders for it and the product was despatched with our normal orders, but of course we on despatch deck did not know what a silicone was never mind what it was used for.

The company has come a long way since then we are major competitors of Dow Corning and Bal.

Evode had its own transport in those days, vans, open sided vehicles, rigid vehicles and 20 and 40 ft articulated lorries all carrying our products to all corners of the country. We also had the export lorries and containers to load. The small containers used to come into the despatch deck bound for Nigeria. The main product to be sent out to Nigeria was 528, 5ltrs. These were packed by the export packing team. Bob Studinski supervised this team. I had a team of four deck loaders under my supervision, and when we loaded these containers for Nigeria, every box had to be loaded by hand. The boxes of 528 were extremely heavy; we used to moan like heck about it, but the containers had to be loaded and sealed at Stafford before they could be taken to the docks. Health and Safety standards would not allow this to happen today. The boxes are now loaded onto a pallet and a stacker truck loads them onto a trailer they are not handled by personnel as in the past.

Round about 1975 it was found that the finished goods was not large enough to cope with the amount of products we had to stock, so they moved the office from the despatch deck. They moved the office onto a portacabin and positioned it on part of the football pitch. The company was expanding.

One regular occurrence was the doctors walkabout; it was either on a Tuesday or Wednesday if my memory serves me correctly. Strangely enough we would always be busy on the despatch deck when he arrived. (The Evode jungle drums would let us know how close he was to our section). He always knew you, not always by name, but he would know if there was a new face and stop and ask who it was.

Doctor Simon's visits seemed to perk everybody up, he gained the respect of everybody on site, and we all looked up to him as a father figure.

The Reps used to collect their sample orders from the despatch deck and although I loved my job as supervisor, I longed for the outside world.

You see I was a professional football player with Portsmouth, Shrewsbury and semi-professional at Stafford Rangers. When I moved to Stafford Rangers to play football, I needed to find work, and applied for the position of despatch deck supervisor at Evode (Evode was one of the first shirt sponsors in non-league football and Stafford Rangers proudly wore Evo-Stik on front of their shirts for many seasons). Evode at that time had a five a side football inter departmental competition which comprised of teams from the office staff, bitumen factory team, factory, finished good warehouse, and engineers. These games were played on the football pitch at Evode. It was a knock out competition and stores won it more than most. (Guess who played for stores)

My desire to work as a sales man prompted me to subscribe to a self-study "salesmanship course". I studied at home in the evenings, and as soon as a representative job was advertised, I applied for one of the positions. I was successful in my application and began working in the sales team. My first sales manager was Judd Morris and my regional manager was Greig Ferguson.

After three years as a B & H representative, there was an opening in the export department for an overseas sales representative covering the Americas i.e. America, South America, and the Caribbean Islands. Needless to say I applied, and was lucky enough to be accepted. It was like a dream come true, doing a job I loved and travelling to wonderful places. During this time the marketing director for export was Bill Pitchford, and the manager was Jim Langford. It proved to be very different from home sales, the expectation for that area was 11 calls a day and between 6 to 8 orders a day. In export it was a case of building up a reputation, gaining the business, and sometimes getting an order. A new customer would take months to place their order, you can't hurry these things!! We had to visit our overseas customers and I can remember my first visit overseas for the company was Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados travelling with Jim Langford. I had never been abroad on business before, and never to the Caribbean - it was a whole new ball game!! Whilst abroad I was "Mr Evode" representing the company at all times. It was necessary for me to have all the answers. At home, if a sale was proving difficult I could call my Manager for advice, but it was daytime in the Caribbean whilst it was night time in UK. My knowledge of the products had to be extensive. This was a very large learning curve. I visited the Caribbean a few times, especially Trinidad where we had a Flashband slitting operation and manufactured 528 adhesive. I understand that this is still in operation today, the Company in Trinidad is called L J Williams and Sons.

After two years in export, I was starting to get the hang of overseas salesmanship, but unfortunately Evode had a massive shake up, and redundancies were the name of the game. Being the last into the export department I was one of the first to loose this prestigious job. Fate played its hand and there was a vacancy back in home sales and in the Midlands. Greig Ferguson who had been my regional manager was now the sales manager and had no hesitation in asking me to return to his team. Export sales is an experience that I will never forget, but I was now back getting home orders every day. I have not looked back since. As competition becomes greater and the economy dictates, a sales representatives job gets harder and harder each year. The Company needs to increase sales in order to survive, and therefore put more pressure on us to achieve our targets. With 20 years experience as a sales rep for Evode, I am confident that I am skilled enough to tackle all that is put before me.

I have seen a lot of changes at Evode during my employment, with Laporte, Ato Findley, and now Bostik taking the upper hand.

What would Doctor Simon think of all these changes???

24 August 2000