Tributes paid to pioneering businessman and dad who was awarded MBE in 2009

A company boss - who founded a firm which now employs more than 160 people worldwide - has died aged 66.

Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 1:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 1:35 pm
Seaward founder Rod Taylor.

Much-loved Rod Taylor was the managing director of the Peterlee-based Seaward Group of companies until its sale in 2015.

Colleagues have praised him for his forward thinking and the way he guided Seaward to success.

Seaward founder Rod Taylor.

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Current managing director Andrew Upton said: “Rod was well-loved and is fondly remembered by the Seaward staff who worked with him, as well as by those in our distribution network and supply chain.

“It is due to his entrepreneurship, forward-thinking, hard work and diligence that Seaward is where it is today – leading the field internationally in biomedical engineering, renewable energy and health and safety testing and measurement.”

Rod was born in Nairobi, Kenya to Scottish parents in 1951. He returned to the UK in the early 1960s to settle in the North East.

He spent his early career in engineering and marketing. But this natural entrepreneur branched out with his own instrumentation products, which in the very early years often involved selling test equipment he had designed during the morning and assembled in the afternoon.

Seaward founder Rod Taylor.

With the support of his father, in 1982 Rod started a fledgling instrumentation business, Seaward Electronic, and set up operations in Peterlee - building a highly successful company supplying test and measurement equipment to the electricity boards, power companies and public utilities.

Mr Taylor was managing director of the Seaward Group of companies, which includes Seaward Electronic, Clare Instruments, Cropico and Rigel Medical until its sale in June 2015.

Mr Upton added: “Under his guardianship Seaward won more than 20 business excellence awards, including the Queen’s Award for export in 2013, and accolades for innovation and employee development. Rod was awarded an MBE for services to industry in 2009.

“All at Seaward pass on their sincere condolences to widow Rosemary and children Russell, Jennifer and Frances.”

Mr Taylor was also a past chairman of the North East Confederation of British Industry and former president of GAMBICA, the UK-based association for instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology.

He was the former chairman of the Regional Technology Centre and director of County Durham Development Company.

His funeral wll be held on Friday, February 9, at 1.30pm at Holy Cross Church, Swainby.