After completing my degree, I joined the graduate program of Ford of Europe working in the Finance function, however I was fortunate that just about all of my roles there involved working with the product (Cars at that time) and to this day I remain passionate about our products as it is at the very core of what we do. William Brodey our Grandfather, the founder of the business had a philosophy of “Doing the right things right” – I am very proud that this sentiment carries on today 75 years after he founded the company.
All four of the present family Directors went off to work in different companies before joining Norbar as adults, this allowed us to bring experience and knowledge to the company and also meant our ‘school boys errors’ where mostly carried out in someone else’s company. I joined the company in January 1991 as commercial manager at the same time my cousin Philip, my brother having already joined in 1987. I was fortunate to work with my father for seven years. One of the greatest pleasures during my working life has been that I am blessed to be working with members of my family. In the very early years when I started the gardening I was responsible to my grandfather so over the course of my time with Norbar I’ve worked with seven members of my family and now as I am retiring my son James is joining as a graduate engineer to carry on this family run business into the fourth generation.
Norbar has always been a very family orientated business often employing husband-and-wife team’s sons, daughters and cousins. The best thing and the thing I will miss most is people I have worked with over the years, not just in Banbury but also in the Norbar companies around the world. I look forward to seeing a lot of my Banbury colleagues when we celebrate 75 years since Norbar was incorporated over the next couple of months.
Norbar has given me the opportunity to visit over 20 different countries around the world and the chance to live and work in three of them. Although I am retiring from full-time work I will be doing some market development work in one of the Asian countries that I have been looking after during the last couple of years, I am very pleased to be able to maintain this connection with Norbar and to ease myself into retirement.
The business world we live in has changed considerably over the last 75 years. In my grandfather’s day it was very much a gentleman’s club where he would take coffee with the other business owners in Banbury and the pace of life was a lot slower than today. Even in my father’s time a game of squash or a game of snooker during a lunchtime was a possibility. Compare that to today’s rushed environment and it certainly seems a world away. A number of the values of previous generations seem to have been lost in our industry and concepts of respect for intellectual property rights seem to diminish more and more. However, I know that Norbar will remain steadfast to my grandfather’s and our founder’s principle of “Doing the right things right”.
Today, Norbar is still based in Banbury. The company is at its forth factory and headquarters premises, now in Wildmere Road. This fabulous facility is perhaps the clearest single indication of how the business has grown and times have changed during my 50 years of involvement.
To all my friends and acquaintances in the industry I wish you well and I thank you for your company over the last 50 years as I look to take a new path in life.