Materials Manager John Patchett has retired from VIP Polymers, ending a career in the rubber industry that spanned five decades and his entire working life.

John had worked at VIP Polymers for 16 years, with responsibility for developing and updating the company’s extensive rubber formulations.

He played a pivotal role in guiding VIP through a period of dramatic change and product innovation, with the introduction and then continuous tightening of standards for materials used in clean water distribution systems.

VIP Technical Services Manager Peter O’Connor, who runs the company’s in-house laboratory and was John’s manager, said: “John’s expertise has been extremely valuable to VIP. We wish him a very happy retirement, but his contribution will be missed by the whole team.”

The importance of John’s work to VIP has meant the company has had a succession plan in place spanning two years. A key part of that has been the recruitment, 18 months ago, of Laboratory Chemist Marcus Harrison, who had previously worked for Goodyear Tyres.

Since then, he has worked closely with John, benefiting from the insight and expertise he has willingly passed on. “Just as John has helped VIP during the growth of exacting standards within our industry, Marcus represents another stage in the development of our service,” said Peter.

“Regulators use ever-more advanced techniques to analyse and test our products, such as mass spectrometry and gas chromatography. We are matching these approaches by developing techniques that allow us to understand and manipulate our rubber formulations at a molecular level.

“It represents another step on the journey from that ‘dark art’ to a clean science, that John has greatly helped VIP make, before handing over the baton to Marcus, and the colleagues to come.”

Picture caption: Peter O’Connor (right) congratulates John Patchett (left) for his services to VIP.