Bob started his career in the pulp and paper industry as a management trainee with the Wiggins Teape Group at Dartford and Greaseproof Paper Mill where he received comprehensive training in the theory and practice of operating paper machines. He was later appointed Machine Foreman at Ely Paper Works in Cardiff in charge of coloured glassine production and NCR coating.
He then became Production Assistant at Clyde Paper Co in Glasgow with line management responsibilities, gaining experience in on-machine coating and a wide range of off-machine coated papers and processes, before joining Portals Limited, the world’s largest banknote and security paper manufacturer.
At Portals, he spent two years as General Manager of a new security paper mill in Pakistan, where he was responsible for commissioning, proving trials, and on-going management. This was followed by commissioning of machine rebuilds in Finland and Portals Bathford. He was later employed for part of the time in the preparation of feasibility studies for pulp and paper mills in several other countries and as Production Manager was part of a team responsible for introducing state-of-the-art technology leading to radical development of the production process.
He then managed a speciality pulp mill owned by the Dexter Corporation producing non-wood pulps for Dexter mills in Scotland and France and for third parties in Europe. During his time new products were introduced and turnover was increased tenfold.
Bob joined Reed International in 1988 as a Divisional General Manager and became involved with other managers of Reed manufacturing Group in the largest ever MBO to form Reedpack.
In 1992 he set up Tavistock International now based in Cambridgeshire, U.K. as an independent paper industry consultancy, sometimes combining with colleagues to form a consortium. During this period he has been resident consultant at paper mills in Zimbabwe and Egypt and has been retained by paper mills in India and China and a prominent paper machinery manufacturer. He was also recruited by the World Bank to carry out surveys in Bosnia and Albania.