David Taylor, a lifelong stalwart of the quarry products industry and one of the most influential managers of his generation, sadly passed away at the beginning of August.
After obtaining a Diploma in Engineering from Loughborough, David’s first job was a posting in the Middle East working for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in what was then Persia, and also Iraq.
On his return to the UK he obtained his first job in the quarrying industry when he joined the Enderby and Stoney Stanton Granite Co. as an engineer/draughtsman. Subsequently, he moved over to Cliffe Hill as general manager and, in due course, returned to his former employers, who by then had been taken over by Redland, in a senior role. He remained with Redland for the rest of his career rising to the position of main board director and chairman of the company’s aggregates businesses in the UK and North America.
In this role he is remembered as one of the true captains of industry who was not only known for his sound judgement, but also for leading the way forward in the development of ‘super quarries’ with the major new plant installed at Mountsorrel Quarry in 1974. In addition, he was one of the first to recognize acquisition opportunities for British companies in the US, completing the takeover of Maryland-based Genstar Corporation and McDonough Bros in San Antonio, Texas, in the late 1980s.
At this time British takeovers of American businesses were not universally welcomed by the industry in the US, but David’s ability to get on with people won him many friends. And, when he retired in 1989, he was held in such esteem by the Washington-based National Stone Association that he was presented with a special illuminated certificate in respect of his valued contribution, the first that had ever been given to an overseas member.
David joined the Institute of Quarrying in 1963 and subsequently served on the Council for 27 years. He took on the role of President in the year 1987–88 when he and his wife Jo travelled widely in the UK to attend local branch functions.
As part of the Institute’s centenary celebrations, David was very pleased to be invited to attend a gathering of past presidents at IQ’s headquarters in Chilwell, hosted by the present incumbent, Dr Miles Watkins. The day provided an enjoyable retrospective looking back at life in the industry over the years and, as the oldest attendee, David contributed recollections of his long career, embellished with many an amusing anecdote.
As an extension of his involvement with IQ, David was invited to join the board of QMJ Publishing Ltd (now The QMJ Group) in 1986. He took over as chairman the following year and remained in post until his retirement from the board in 1996. During this time he provided the company with invaluable help and support which assisted the development of the business, in particular, the Hillhead Quarry Exhibition, which started as a sideline to the Journal and grew into a major event of international standing.
With his Leicestershire roots, David was a long-serving member of the Granite Guild and throughout his career he was also actively involved with industry trade associations, serving on the BACMI Council (forerunner to the MPA) for many years.
In his retirement he devoted his time to a variety of interests including looking after his two Jowett cars. In this latter regard, for many years he acted as Secretary of the Jowett Car Club and organized spare parts for members around the world.
The final word, however, goes to two retired quarrymen from Mountsorrel who attended his funeral and commented that ‘As a boss, David was both decent and knowledgeable, but the thing that made him different was that whenever he was driving through the quarry he would always make time to stop and have a chat to find out how the job was going. And for the genuine interest he took in both the men and the quarry, he was always held in great respect by the workforce’.
David’s wife Jo predeceased him in 2004 and he leaves a son, Nick, and daughter, Dianne.