In conversation with Paul Raybone
What is your name and what job roles did you do at Leada Acrow?
I’m Paul Raybone and I work at Leada Acrow as Technical Director in the Central Engineering department, based in the Midlands.
I started at Acrow in 1977 and held a number of positions - starting as a designer then regional engineer, engineering buyer development engineer, project engineer, deputy chief engineer and, ultimately, chief engineer. I worked there until the A-Plant acquisition in 1996. I then returned in 2007 and am still here to this day!
What is your most memorable project?
My most memorable project, although there have been many, is Strensham Water Treatment Works in Worcestershire.
I remember this project well because it was a new water treatment works, at the time, and I had to design some clever systems. I designed 10m x 10m hoppers. There were no other formwork suppliers on-site and we supplied 12000m2 formwork to form 237,000m2 of concrete face, with some walls up to 12 metres high. The project started in 1993 and lasted for two years - we were involved from start to finish.
Strensham Water Treatment Works deliver clean water to the people of Worcestershire, so it’s a vital site, and I’m proud of the work that I and my colleagues did.
What is your favourite memory?
I think I would have to say my favourite memory is from back in 1982, it was winning the order to supply a system of formwork to construct the mooring dolphins in Southampton water, beating all the other suppliers with a novel craned solution that was floated out at the lift point.
What advice would you give to Leada Acrow for the next 80 years?
My advice to Leada Acrow, for the next 80 years, is to look at where the market is going and diversify accordingly. I’m not convinced that concrete will be used in the future of building, so I doubt that there will be concrete foundations. I think that new materials such as plastics, composites, and pre-cast will be used. There will be more building done off-site as well.