Managing Director - AJE Ltd
I went to the University of Leicester to do General Engineering. The big wide world of University offered many opportunities to me so I joined a whole load of clubs and societies, including the Exploration Society and Caving Club. One year later I was exploring a cave underneath a glacier in arctic Norway with the Leicester University Expedition Society. My love of exploration started.
On graduating I was offered a second degree in Mining Engineering at Leeds University sponsored by the National Coal Board. At that time Leeds University had possibly the best caving club in the world. On graduating a couple of years later, having explored a lot of caves in Britain, I did seven years with the National Coal Board becoming Colliery Manager grade.
Being unemployable, I looked for something entrepreneurial and went into plastic moulding with two friends of mine, Mike and Noel Thompson. Thompson Plastics had been started a year or so earlier. The three of us then worked very hard on the business until I sold it in 2009 when it was turning over £42m and employing 750 people. At the same time I had led more than 30 caving expeditions all over the world particularly to South East Asia. My teams mapping over 500 kilometres of some of the largest cave passages on earth. Many could be easily negotiated by aeroplane. I finished up as sole owner of the Thompson Plastics Group which I sold leading to the interesting retirement I enjoy now. The for many years I was a Senior Member of the Society of Plastic Engineers (Europe) responsible for organising a 2 yearly conference in many European cities.
I have a lot of experience in low number plastic moulding including, vacuum forming, rotational moulding, and resin injection moulding. Simultaneously my hobby interest has led me to become Chairman of the British Caving Association, President of the World Caving Association, a post I have now held for 8 years. I have led over 30 caving expeditions around the world and been involved with many TV films, several more are in preparation at the moment.
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