Equations, Love, and 60 Years of Service

26 July 2023

TÜV SÜD Team Members' Remarkable Journeys: Equations, Love, and 60 Years of Service

National Engineering Laboratory Long Service Awards PresentationTÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory has been celebrating some impressive milestones this month. We recently reached our 1000th densitometer calibration and are also proud to recognise a group of exceptional team members who have collectively dedicated over 300 years to our organisation. From launching our renowned densitometer calibration service to having equations named after them and even finding love, their journey with TÜV SÜD is filled with remarkable highlights.

Our longest-serving team member is Bobby Anderson, Technician, who’s celebrating an impressive 60 years as part of the TÜV SÜD team. Bobby joined TÜV SÜD on a Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship in August 1963. At that time the National Engineering Laboratory (as it was known then) had over 1100 people working on the 70-acre site.

Joining Bobby in this esteemed group are Bob Belshaw, John Hay, Les Wales, David Learmonth, Dr Norman Glen, and Dr Michael Reader-Harris who have each reached an outstanding milestone of 40+ years of service. Together, they have added immense value to our organisation through their expertise and commitment.

Career highlights

Throughout their extensive careers at TÜV SÜD, they’ve experienced numerous highlights and achievements. For example, Michael Reader-Harris has spent 40 years working in flow measurement, and his career reached a pinnacle when he derived the orifice plate discharge coefficient equation that now bears his name. This equation, recognised as the best in international competition, was accepted at a meeting in New Orleans and is included in ISO 5167-2. Michael's expertise has also led him to chair several important ISO committees and travel extensively around the world.

Les Wales, an Engineer, has enjoyed working in one of Europe's largest full-scale structural testing laboratories, where he developed servo-hydraulic testing machines and high-speed data acquisition systems. He says it felt like playing with “a giant toy box”.

Dr Norman Glen assumed the responsibility of the 'Uncertainty Custodian' for the UK National Flow Measurement Standards facilities in 2004. Norman's contributions have been invaluable, including his instrumental role in launching our Industrial Densitometer Calibration service in 2012. Recently, we issued our 1000th densitometer calibration certificate which is a testament to Norman's dedication and expertise.

Working alongside Norman, John Hay, Engineer in the Densitometer Laboratory, values the opportunities to work with and learn from colleagues who had great experience and expertise in their fields. John has been involved in dimensional metrology, single phase flow, quality systems, health and safety systems and, more recently, developing density measurement facilities.

Love is no stranger to TÜV SÜD and John’s also celebrating the 40th anniversary of meeting Dawn, who later became his wife, whilst she was working as a placement student in the dimensional metrology laboratory. The couple have now been married for 37 years and Dawn returned to TÜV SÜD for a short while in the late 80s and again in 2014 where she worked in Finance until retiring in 2022.

TÜV SÜD is renowned for being at the forefront of developing cutting-edge technology and ground-breaking facilities. Bobby was pleased to have been involved with TÜV SÜD's pioneering work in numerical control machining from the outset. Whereas Bob Belshaw’s significant milestones relate to our unparalleled facilities, including the globally unique structural testing facility known as the Stevenson building and a 3,000-tonne tension/compression facility, which was the largest of its kind in Europe. We have continuously pushed the boundaries, with seismic simulation shaker tables that were among the largest in the world at the time.

David is now a Project Manager for our Green Energy and Sustainability service but his early career highlights were writing a section of a British Standard for testing of investment casting moulds. He also found particularly satisfying designing and building one-off mechanical test rigs, including a rig for fatigue testing the undercarriage of an aircraft and a full-scale multi-axis 50 tonne flex fatigue rig for testing subsea umbilicals.

What kept these team members dedicated to TÜV SÜD for so long?

The reasons behind our team members' unwavering loyalty to TÜV SÜD are deeply rooted in a fulfilling work environment where personal and professional growth thrives. Bob enjoys the daily engineering challenges and the support provided by the company. He’s never experienced that feeling of Sunday night dread:

“Every day there is a different engineering challenge to overcome. TÜV SÜD has given me the tools and confidence to face these challenges. Also, these experiences nurture your curiosity to ask questions and keep educating yourself as technology changes. This company will support engineers who wish to expand their qualifications and/or develop their skills in different engineering disciplines.”

David is another who has enjoyed the variety of challenges:

“My time at TÜV SÜD has constantly been changing due to the wide variety of technical projects I have worked on, which always keeps things challenging and interesting! The people have also been great to work with coming from a range of disciplines and over my time it has been a privilege to work with some internationally recognised engineers and learn from their knowledge. But the most enjoyable thing has been the great personal friendships that developed with colleagues over the years.“

The friendships and camaraderie among colleagues are valued by John Hay. The diverse work and wonderful colleagues are also why Norman Glen chose to remain at TÜV SÜD:

“I have never been short of new challenges – why move on, when there are more than enough technical areas that I could easily lose myself in for a few years! At the start of my career, I benefited from the support of senior colleagues who were at the top of the game. Individuals who were UK or even world experts in their fields but who were happy to share their knowledge with me. Whilst my career has not paralleled theirs’, I have had the satisfaction of seeing more recent recruits develop their knowledge and abilities – I would like to think that I had played some part in this progression.” 

Future plans & LIFE AFTER TÜV SÜD

None of the seven are ready to retire just yet. Michael is currently working on revisions of three ISO Technical Reports, ISO/TR 9464, ISO/TR 12767 and ISO/TR 15377 which will be published later this year. He’ll then spend his well-deserved retirement hillwalking, continuing as a Lay Reader at his church and completing some home improvements. Norman is also planning to retire at the end of the year and is looking forward to having time for more walking and photography.

Les wants to continue working part-time, passing on knowledge to younger colleagues and engaging in interesting projects such as nitrogen gas flow and CO2 test work. He hopes to pass on useful knowledge to his younger colleagues. Further development of our density measurement capabilities is John’s focus before he embarks on a long and happy retirement. Bob plans to continue working “until I believe it is time to play golf every day!“

Nowadays, Bobby can be found in the Receipt and Despatch department and is still enjoying working at TÜV SÜD:

“The variety of work and the people that I work with make this job so enjoyable. I want to see out another year at TÜV SÜD and have no plans to retire as long as I am fit and well enough to work.”

There are some exciting projects in the pipeline. Earlier this year, we announced we will expand our existing hydrogen technology testing facilities to support the Hydrogen Innovation Centre at the University of Glasgow in boosting green energy development. Following a successful bid for £950,000 funding from Horizon Europe, we’ll also be building the first UK national standard liquid / dense phase CO2 calibration facility. 

Mark Roscoe, Chemical and Process Industries Director, said:

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside this esteemed group of colleagues who will all be hugely missed when they take up very well-deserved retirement. Our succession planning aims to capture as much of their knowledge and experience as we can while enabling other members of the team to bring forward and develop new ideas.”

Join TÜV SÜD

If you're seeking a workplace where you can grow, build strong connections, and work on challenging projects, join TÜV SÜD. Our team members' stories demonstrate the trust, support, and collaboration that is the foundation of our company.

We value diversity in all its forms, including age. We believe that a diverse workforce, which includes individuals of different ages and experiences, brings a wealth of knowledge, perspectives, and ideas to our organisation. Join us and be a part of a team that embraces the strength of age diversity, fostering an inclusive and collaborative work environment for all.

(Please note that we can’t guarantee that you’ll find true love, like John and Dawn, but you never know.)

We’ll leave the last word to Bob Belshaw:

“I would not have worked at the same company for 45 years if I did not enjoy myself.”

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