David Redhead- Celebrating 50 Years of Service

Executive Director, Export Sales extraordinaire, well-practiced traveller, father, grandfather, musician, member of many boards, and an all-around inspiration is celebrating 50 years of service at Tex Holdings PLC. 

David Redhead has been an integral part of the Tex Holdings family for 50 years after starting at BSP International Foundations on 17th January 1971. Working his way up the ladder, he currently holds the position of Executive Director on the Tex Holdings PLC board. He has seen the engineering industry go through a world of change in his time and was part of the engineering revolution which consumed the majority of Ipswich and the surrounding area in the ’60s and ’70s.

The start of David’s career began in the late ’60s as an Engineering Apprentice at Reavells, a Compressor Manufacturer based in Ipswich. During his apprenticeship, he attended college, also in Ipswich, which at the time, produced thousands of engineering employees for the local area. During his first major exam, he achieved a reasonably high pass mark, which meant that his training was then tailored towards design and development rather than the craft side of the industry. After gaining experience in machining, fitting, assembly foundry work, laboratory, and time spent within design offices during the remainder of his apprenticeship he then moved on to looking for a different job to kick-start his promising potential career.

READ: David Redhead’s Apprenticeship, Suffolk New College 

At the time, Ipswich was an epicenter for engineering, comprising of many different companies, but the one role which stood out to David was as a Technical Sales Engineer at an air-powered pile driving hammer manufacturer based in Claydon, just outside of Ipswich. This company just so happened to be British Steel Piling (better known as BSP). David secured the role at BSP in 1971.

Be yourself, realise where you come from, and be grateful for where you are.

In 1973, after two years as a Technical Sales Engineer within the BSP offices, management asked David if there were any other areas in the business which he wished to venture into. David inquired about the possibility of moving into the Export Sales Department. This suggestion was not taken lightly by the team as they then placed him on a seven and a half week business trip around the majority of the Middle East for his first ‘hurrah’. Starting in Lebanon, David was met by BSP’s Middle East Sales Agent who guided him around many of the countries which make up the Middle East. David described the moment that he landed in Lebanon as “arriving on a different planet” but on return to Beirut after nearly two months of being emersed in Middle Eastern culture it was like returning to Europe. He describes traveling as the best aspect of his career and has great respect for the opportunity to experience and immerse himself in a wide range of cultures.

Developing business relationships within a variety of countries was a task which David loved to conquer. Business meetings in the early ’70s were worlds apart from how we conduct business these days. The technology, or their lack of it, was in hindsight the challenge of his role, but something that he sees as a blessing as it has given him the drive to always pre-plan and to not rely on technology. So, what has changed since 1971? According to David, a lot has, technology is the main component. He asked our marketing team if they knew how telegrams or telex worked and was met by a few blank faces. To him, telegrams were a core communication source in his early career, as was booking in a phone call, whilst in Iraq, to the UK with the local post office with at least 48 hours’ notice. The operational side of the engineering world has also seen many technological advances, with a lot of mechanical equipment being replaced with electronic alternatives. David explained that ‘understanding how things worked in other countries could be difficult, we didn’t have the ability to look things up online before traveling’, but luckily, the engineering industry within the local area was always on hand to offer any advice needed, such as need-to-know information about business etiquette and traveling tips.

The world of export sales was and still is, a tough industry to master. The quote ‘like making love to a hedgehog, one prick against one hundred’ published in a biography by the late actor and Second Lieutenant David Niven, though not the most eloquent, has stuck in David’s mind. This was because it reminded him a lot of being within the export sales industry. David still receives around 20-25 ‘Happy New Year’ greetings from all different countries from various contacts. His love for building rapport is echoed in his ability to still maintain meaningful business relationships with contacts, some from when he first started in the industry.

In 1974, he was promoted to the Area Sales Manager for the Middle East, fundamentally looking after Iraq for BSP. Following success in this role, in 1978, he was promoted again to Export Sales Manager looking after the Middle East and parts of Africa. He was promoted in 1983 to Sales Director, and again in 1996 to Managing Director of BSP. During his time within these many roles, David visited over 90 countries in total. Iraq remained as a prominent territory and he knocked up over 30 years and at one time filling up a 96-page passport in three years with Iraqi visas.

After 17 years as Managing Director, David opted for an ‘early retirement’ in 2013 (we use this term loosely because as you can tell his early retirement didn’t go as planned, the evidence being us still writing about him in 2021). He then moved into a part-time role as Chairman for BSP. After a short while within this role, David was invited to join the Tex Holdings PLC board as a Non-Executive Director to which he gladly accepted. In 2017, he was then promoted to the position which he currently holds, as Executive Director of Tex Holdings PLC.

READ: Managing director David Redhead becomes chairman at BSP International Foundations

David described his promotion to the Tex Holdings Board of Directors as his most stand-out career memory, saying ‘my father was in the forces, and then became a chauffeur, that was the background I was from. So, to be asked to be a Director of a PLC was a real stand out moment and a major personal achievement. I was really chuffed to be given that opportunity after working my way up the ladder.’

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2KxlGEW

David’s career achievements did not stop at Tex Holdings as he was also the President of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce for 2 years, President of the Engineering Employment Federation for 3 years, President of the Construction Equipment Association for 2 years, and also a Member of Lord Chancellors for Magistrates for 9 years where he was involved with around 40-50 interviews per annum and spent 10 years as a governor at Eastern Otley College.

His dedication to the company did come with sacrifices, one of which was time with his family. On his 30th Wedding Anniversary, he surprised his wife with a trip to Switzerland. It was during this trip that they realised that for 5 years of their marriage in total, David had been away from the family home traveling with work.

READ: Chamber trade group chairman David Redhead welcomes improved balance of trade data

Outside of work, (and we are slightly surprised that he had any spare time at all), David is a keen Ipswich Town supporter, and has held a season ticket since the age of 20. This was after falling in love with the game when he attended his first match at Ipswich Football Club when he was 9 years old. He is also a keen musician and has played in bands since 1962 and even has two guitars and an electric organ in his home office. David a family man, he is married and has 3 children who have collectively given him 5 grandchildren. David’s wife offered a stream of stability at home and for that, he has always been grateful. He explained that traveling so much would have been ‘impossible without the consistent support of his wife’ who took charge of all of the tasks at home.

Gardening is a great love of David’s due to his love of fresh air. He has found that the manual labour needed to maintain a garden helped to ground and humble him as it is a stark contrast from the services available when traveling for business. He was always aware of the false impression of life that can come with the amount of travel that he undertook and never wanted the perks of the role to cloud his reality.

So, what would the advice of this apprentice-turned-Chairman to the younger generation be? ‘Be yourself, realise where you come from, and be grateful for where you are. Ask questions of the older generations, you don’t need to take their advice word for word, but listen to them, a second opinion is always a good idea. Always work hard, there is no substitute for it. Nothing comes easy, and if it does, it may come back and bite you later on.’ The main piece of advice, stay down to earth.

We would like to personally thank David for his 50 years of dedicated service to BSP and Tex Holdings.

Touchdown

air traffic control rooms ships glazing

Commander Nathan Gray (Royal Navy Test Pilot), Peter Wilson (Test Pilot) and Commodore Jerry Kid (Commanding Officer, HMS Queen Elizabeth) put HMS Queen Elizabeth and F-35 to the test in this BBC Video Top Story recording F-35 fighter jets taking off and landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. The single engine swivels 90 degrees during short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) mode and the F-35 hangs eerily in the air as LiftFan blasts 20,000 pounds of unheated air towards the deck. With a wing span of 10.7 m (35 ft), 15.4 m (50.5 ft) in length and a 42.7 m² (460 ft²) wing area, the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is capable of speeds up to 1,200 mph.

The innovative Flying Control Room (FLYCO) on board HMS Queen Elizabeth was designed and manufactured by Tex Special Projects. Subsidiaries of UK manufacturing group Tex Holdings, Tex Special Projects and Tex ATC specialise in radio frequency-blocking glazing for both civilian and military applications and the design and manufacture of air traffic control rooms. Clients include BAE Systems, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Feka, Morgan Sindall, NATS and Thales. Tex ATC have been employed as consultants on numerous air traffic control room projects including Manchester Airport (UK), Mina Mussafah Harbour, Abu Dhabi (UAE), Muscat International Airport (Oman), RAFO Thumrait (Oman) and Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport (Thailand).

Main picture, the first of the UK’s F-35B Lightning II jets to be flown to the UK.

World’s First Aircraft Carrier

Air Traffic Control Room by Tex Special Projects and Tex ATC

100 years after the design of HMS Hermes – the world’s first aircraft carrier – F-35 stealth jets will take off from another record breaker this autumn. Weighing in at 65,000-tonnes, HMS Queen Elizabeth is longer than the Houses of Parliament and her flight deck could accommodate three football pitches; she is the biggest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Still under construction, the second of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers, HMS Prince of Wales will enter active service from 2020.

Air traffic control room design by Tex ATC
HMS Queen Elizabeth sailing from her home in Portsmouth for the first time.

A BBC news article The UK’s Giant Aircraft Carriers illustrates a century of extraordinary shipbuilding and explains some of the many advanced features of Britain’s new carriers. Perhaps the most distinctive aspect are the twin islands and especially the aft island which takes the form of a flight control tower. Dubbed the “Flyco”, the innovative air traffic control room was designed and manufactured by Tex Special Projects.

Subsidiaries of UK manufacturing group Tex Holdings, Tex Special Projects and Tex ATC specialise in radio frequency-blocking glazing for both civilian and military applications and the design and manufacture of air traffic control rooms. Clients include BAE Systems, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Feka, Morgan Sindall, NATS and Thales.

Tex ATC have been employed as consultants on numerous air traffic control room projects including Manchester Airport (UK), Mina Mussafah Harbour, Abu Dhabi (UAE), Muscat International Airport (Oman), RAFO Thumrait (Oman) and Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport (Thailand).

Britain’s Biggest Warship

Tex Special Projects designed, manufactured and integrated the innovative HMS Queen Elizabeth “FLYCO” visual control room and installed the navigation windows.

What makes HMS Queen Elizabeth so unique? Three years in the making and with unprecedented access, a new BBC series tells the story of “Britain’s Biggest Warship.” Series 1:1 “Crewing Up”, first shown 15 April 2018 on BBC 2, documents Captain Jerry Kyd and his 700 crew as they embark on seal trials in the North Sea.

Tex Special Projects designed, manufactured and integrated the innovative HMS Queen Elizabeth “FLYCO” visual control room and installed the navigation windows. Specialists in EMC/EMI/RFI shielding, IR screening, acoustic attenuation, and ballistic/impact resistance, Tex Special Projects design bespoke structural, engineering and glazing systems for both military and civilian application, and undertake research, design and development for leading edge engineering consultancies.

Specialists in EMC/EMI/RFI shielding, IR screening, acoustic attenuation, and ballistic/impact resistance, Tex Special Projects design bespoke structural, engineering and glazing systems for both military and civilian application, and undertake research, design and development for leading edge engineering consultancies.
Simulator view of the FLYCO.

Tex Special Projects are a division of Tex ATC, the world-renowned supplier of air traffic control rooms, prefabricated VCR’s and VCR refurbishment.

“Britain’s Biggest Warship”: now available on BBC iPlayer.

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commissioning Ceremony

HMS Queen Elizabeth as she sailed into her home port of Portsmouth. Flyco by Tex Special Projects

UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, entered service in Portsmouth today, 7 Dec 2017. The Queen, ship’s company and 3,700 guests attended to see the Royal Navy White Ensign raised on the vessel for the first time.

Tex Special Projects designed and manufactured the innovative Flying Control Room (FLYCO) and installed the glazing throughout the ship.

FLYCO design by Tex Special Projects
The 65,000-tonne carrier was met with the warmest of welcomes as she arrived in her home port.

The Queen described the ship as “… the most powerful and capable ship ever to raise the White Ensign. At the forefront of these responsibilities will be the men and women of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, supported by the Army, Royal Air Force and by coalition partners. As the daughter, wife and mother of naval officers, I recognise the unique demands our nation asks of you and I will always value my special link to HMS Queen Elizabeth, her ship’s company and their families.”

FLYCO design by Tex special Projects
The ship berthed at the newly-opened Princess Royal Jetty at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, described how today’s events confirmed Britain’s place “… among the world’s great maritime powers in the most majestic and muscular terms.” He added: “We have been on a long, complicated – but committed – journey to get to this point and commissioning the ship is a key milestone. The point of the big grey ship is it’s enormously big, flexible, capable and adaptable. The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will sit at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy, capable of projecting power and influence at sea, in the air, over the land and in cyberspace… ”

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said: “Congratulations from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Navy on achieving another important milestone in the UK’s Carrier Strike capability. I know the RAF and RN F-35 crews are looking forward to starting to fly from HMS Queen Elizabeth next year.”

8ft-long (2.44m) cake replica of the ship.
8ft-long (2.44m) cake replica of the ship!

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin visits Tex Special Projects

air traffic control tower room aircraft carrier control room ships glazing

HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s new 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier and the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy, is soon to be formally commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet by Her Majesty the Queen. Tex Special Projects designed and manufactured the innovative Flying Control Room (FLYCO) and installed the glazing throughout the ship. Over 10 years’ of feasibility studies, design and Finite Element Analysis was carried out at Tex’s UK site.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin visits Tex Special Projects on 23 November 2017
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin visits Tex Special Projects on 23 November 2017.

Harriett Baldwin explained “Soon our sailors will be watching, through these panes of glass, our F-35 fighter jets take off to defend our country. Our new aircraft carriers are a floating example of British industrial ingenuity and have helped to boost local businesses right up and down the UK.”

Chris Parker, Director reported “Tex Holdings have long been involved in a variety of Ministry of Defence projects such as designing visual control rooms within air traffic control centres for Royal Air Force and Royal Navy air stations across the UK. For this project we had to design and overcome some very demanding technical challenges, delivering a near uninterrupted 290-degree field of view of the flight deck, which is unparalleled in any nation’s warships. We feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of this very prestigious capital project. For 12 years we have provided our technical expertise and supplied the FLYCO and all the ship’s windows, wipers and blades. Without the Queen Elizabeth Class programme the Special Projects Company would never have been formed, so we are extremely grateful for the exceptional opportunity it afforded us.”

Other Tex ATC Division projects include the air traffic control room at Manchester Airport, towers in UAE, and the visual control room at SBIA Bangkok, the world’s tallest control tower.

Read more about Harriett Baldwin’s visit on the HM Government GOV.UK and Ipswich Star.

Award Winning Design at INMEX SMM India 2017

The Tex Special Projects stand featured UK’s Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier, the biggest and most powerful warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy, and showcased the technologically advanced FLYCO (Flying Control Room) designed and manufactured by Tex. In recognition of the contribution to both the project and the innovation of such an advance in glazing for the maritime environment, Tex Special Projects was awarded the industry coveted BAE Systems Design Award.

INMEX SMM India 2017 was a great success and Tex Special Projects would like to send out a big thank you to colleagues, partners, clients and industry leaders from 32 countries. Once again INMEX has proved to be an unrivalled venue and allowed us to demonstrate our unrivalled expertise in advanced glazing systems for both military and civilian application.

The Tex Special Projects stand featured UK’s Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier, the biggest and most powerful warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy, and showcased the technologically advanced FLYCO (Flying Control Room) designed and manufactured by Tex. In recognition of the contribution to both the project and the innovation of such an advance in glazing for the maritime environment, Tex Special Projects was awarded the industry coveted BAE Systems Design Award.
INMEX SMM India 2017 was a great success.

The Tex Special Projects stand featured UK’s Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier, the biggest and most powerful warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy, and showcased the technologically advanced FLYCO (Flying Control Room) designed and manufactured by Tex. In recognition of the contribution to both the project and the innovation of such an advance in glazing for the maritime environment, Tex Special Projects was awarded the industry coveted BAE Systems Design Award.

The Tex Special Projects stand featured UK’s Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier, the biggest and most powerful warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy, and showcased the technologically advanced FLYCO (Flying Control Room) designed and manufactured by Tex. In recognition of the contribution to both the project and the innovation of such an advance in glazing for the maritime environment, Tex Special Projects was awarded the industry coveted BAE Systems Design Award.
A big thank you to colleagues, partners, clients and industry leaders from 32 countries.

Key members from the Pratex Power Vision Group were able to attend (see picture at top of page), including (from left to right) Shankar Mathur (Director, Pratex Power Vision), Ratee Prasad (Managing Director, Pratex Power Vision), Amanda Ritchie (Technical Consultant), Stephen Codd (Managing Director, Eurotex International), David Ritchie (Technical Consultant, Tex Special Projects), and Greg Chadwick (Managing Director, G&M Tex).

Sea Trials

ship window designer manufacturer
Sea Trials – First Merlin Helicopter Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The 27th of June 2017 was a landmark day for HMS Queen Elizabeth as she sailed out of Rosyth Dockyard on her first sea trials, conducting a number of evolutions to prove conduct of air execution and navigation. These manoeuvres were supported by the key TEX ATC Division products of Flying Control Room (FLYCO) , Ship Windows, WIndow Wiper Wash System and Window Blinds.

The FLYCO on the aft island consists of two cantilevered steelwork sponsons and a glazing system affording the Royal Navy an unparalleled, virtually uninterrupted, 290 degree field of view of the flight deck, aircraft lifts and the aircraft visual circuit pattern. It is a unique operating space, being a world first in the defence maritime environment. The FLYCO is the key ship compartment to conduct air execution to and from the flight deck, hangar and within the carrier control zone. Ship navigation is conducted from the navigation bridge located on the forward island.

FLYCO, HMS Queen Elizabeth.