Bob Robertson, Chair and MD of R & B Star and the longest serving EDA Board member (27 years), received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Electrical Wholealer Magazine’s Awards 2017 on Thursday 18 May 2017.
The Award was presented by Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA Director, whose entertaining introduction painted a picture of Bob’s career, the ups and the downs:
Former EDA President (1994 – 1996) Bob is pictured here with the evening’s compere, Ryan Philpott, and Margaret Fitszsimons, with thanks to Imageworks for allowing us to use their image.
Here’s a summary of Margaret’s introduction:
“In 1975 a young man was persuaded by his father to leave an exciting career with Mercedes Benz to join the family’s 15 year old electrical wholesaling business. Full of enthusiasm and corporate ideas from the motor industry he presented his vision to the board who, once they had stopped laughing, unanimously agreed that the ideas were bonkers and that our honoured winner must learn the business from the bottom up.
“Like so many in this industry, his wholesaling career started with van driving and working in the warehouse and then progressed through all departments of the business to learn the essentials of the trade – all the while trying to be accepted by long serving staff – not easy when your Dad is the one of the owners.
“Bob looks back on this time as the most valuable lesson of his career. It was in the purchasing department that he found his niche and where long-standing and trusted relationships were built with manufacturers and suppliers.
“When he was still in his mid-twenties, he bought out the business and grew it into a highly successful £15 million pound independent electrical wholesaler with 3 large branches and a staff of 80.
“This award is also being given for the myriad industry and charitable contributions they have made over many years.
“Bob was instrumental in the creation of the buying group we know today as ANEW which was formed in 1993 through a merger of CREW and NEDA and later joined by EMMA in 2001.
Through various fund-raising activities over several years he and his family have raised over £50,000 for the charity fighting Muscular Dystrophy.
“This modest, gentleman would never boast about his business, industry or charitable fund raising successes. However, I think he would say that he is most proud of building a happy and loving family with his wife Marion.
“Theirs is a home filled with music – everyone plays an instrument to a certain extent and our winner is an accomplished Base Guitar player. Brothers and sisters are close knit and supportive of each other. As well as that, sons, daughters and cousins are all involved in the business full time or part time. That must be the greatest achievement of all.”