Seaward Group: Death of Rod Taylor

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  Posted by: electime      31st January 2018

Seaward is saddened to announce that its founder and former owner Rod Taylor has died at the age of 66.

Mr Taylor was MD of the Seaward Group of companies, which includes Seaward Electronic, Clare Instruments, Cropico and Rigel Medical until its sale in June 2015.

Current managing director Andrew Upton said: “Rod was well-loved and is fondly remembered by the Seaward staff who worked with him, as well as by those in our distribution network and supply chain.

“It is due to his entrepreneurship, forward-thinking, hard work and diligence that Seaward is where it is today – leading the field internationally in biomedical engineering, renewable energy and health and safety testing and measurement.

“Under his guardianship Seaward won more than 20 business excellence awards, including the Queen’s Award for export in 2013, and accolades for innovation and employee development. Rod was awarded an MBE for services to industry in 2009.

“All at Seaward pass on their sincere condolences to widow Rosemary and children Russell, Jennifer and Frances.”

Before establishing Seaward in 1982 Mr Taylor held marketing positions with the Sperry Rand Group. He received his electrical engineering degree from Nottingham University and was a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

He was also past chairman of the North East Confederation of British Industry and former president of GAMBICA, the UK-based association for instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology as well as former Chairman of the Regional Technology Centre and Director of County Durham Development Company

Based at Peterlee in County Durham Seaward now employs 160 people across the world.

A family remembers

Rod Taylor – founder and former MD of Seaward Group

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Rodney (Rod) Taylor on 28th January.

Rod was born on 23rd July 1951 in Nairobi, Kenya to Scottish parents. He returned to the UK in the early 1960s to settle in the North East.

A chartered engineer, FIET, with a BSc in Electronic Engineering gained at the University of Notting-ham, Rod spent his early career with roles in engineering and marketing initially working for Aquatronics before taking up a position with the American Company, Sperry Rand.

A natural entrepreneur, he began to branch out with his own instrumentation products, which in the very early years often involved selling test equipment he had designed during the morning and as-sembled in the afternoon.

With the support of his father, in 1982 Rod started a fledgling instrumentation business, Seaward Electronic, and set up operations in Peterlee, County Durham, building a highly successful company supplying test and measurement equipment to the electricity boards, power companies and public utilities.

Under Rod’s leadership the Seaward business flourished, pushing the boundaries of electrical test technology, spotting new opportunities early and developing the ability to bring new technologies to the market very quickly.

This dynamic, pioneering approach was based on a strong reputation for innovation and allowed the family-owned company to compete successfully in global markets against much bigger, multinational businesses and brands.

Market expansion followed into the electrical safety, biomedical, appliance manufacturing and re-newables sectors and new offices were opened in the USA and the Far East.

Successful export sales became a growing and important feature of the business, with products eventually being sold into over 60 countries, leading to a Queens Award for Export for the company in 2012.

A passionate supporter of the North East economy, throughout the growth of Seaward Rod also remained sensitive to the broader responsibilities of businesses and employers, and was particularly enthusiastic about bringing jobs to the area and raising the aspirations of young people.

He was an early board member when Training & Enterprise Councils were created in the early 1990s, and was involved in the North East Manufacturing Challenge initiative that showcased the region’s technology and engineering businesses around the same time.

He was also formerly chair of technology transfer specialist RTC North and in 2006, as chair of CBI North East and working alongside David Miliband then MP for South Shields, he was the driving force behind the Aspire campaign that encouraged local businesses to reassure young people that they need look no further than North East England for a bright future.

He was the national chair of the instrumentation industry trade association Gambica from 2007 to 2009 and was awarded an MBE for services to industry in 2009.

Seaward business was acquired by Metrawatt International GmbH in June 2015. The successful company he built-up remains in Peterlee and continues to thrive as a successful and independent operating unit in a growing international business.

Rod was a man who always pursed his ambitions. In 2012 he drove to South Africa in the London to Cape Town World Cup Rally. In 2017, having sold Seaward, he purchased Westwell Wine Estates, an award winning vineyard in Kent. Yet, the passion he pursed above all else was the wellbeing of his family. A true gentleman, he was a committed family man.

Rod was diagnosed with Myeloma three years ago. Whilst facing his disease with never ending strength, he died on January 28th.

Rod lived in Swainby, North Yorkshire and passed away peacefully. He is survived by his wife, Rose-mary, son Russell and daughters Frances and Jennifer. The funeral is to be held on Friday 9th Febru-ary at 1.30pm at Holy Cross Church, Swainby.