The shed dweller: A day in the life of… Jamie Roberts, Operations and Technical Manager at Egbert Taylor

Jamie Roberts, Operations and Technical Manager at Egbert Taylor

I joined the Egbert Taylor family in November 1994 – so quite a while ago.

I began working on the shop floor and then spent six years as a welder. When the job for Test and Prototype Engineer came up around the mid 2000s, I couldn’t resist applying. I was heavily into cars and motorbikes back then (still am, in fact), and I think the senior management thought the skills I had developed in rebuilding and refurbishing vehicles would be easily transferable. And they were right. 

I spent 10 years as a Test and Prototype Engineer before becoming Technical Manager. Now, I’m Operations and Technical Manager, which means that I can see how the work carried out across our Research and Development division translates in the field.

These days, I can find myself spending days in our in-house testing facility, ensuring that all our new products conform to EN840 standard. Then, the next day I could be overseeing our special projects – one of which, at the moment, is moving our roto moulding facility into our main factory.

Essentially, between 8am and 4.30pm, I’ll do whatever’s needed to ensure that the team – and ultimately the company – gets what it needs. My team consists of a Roto Moulding / Finishing Supervisor, a Welding Supervisor, a Prep Shop Supervisor and a Logo Manager, all of whom play a critical role when it comes to upholding quality standards across the business.

At the moment, demand for our refurbished bins is off the scale. I think this is partly down to the rise in the cost of steel, which makes refurbished units a more economical solution. But it’s also down to the quality of finish our refurbished bins receive. As the only UK bin manufacturer to finish refurbished containers using powder coating, all of our refurbs leave the factory looking comparable with brand new units, which is a huge achievement for us – and a huge bonus for our customers. The downside, of course, is that we’re working all hours to ensure that we meet this growing demand and avoid disappointing anyone. 

As an R&D anorak who specialises in bins, I’m often called on to support industry bodies. For example, I sit on the Technical Committee for the BSI, which is a huge honour and a role I thoroughly enjoy. We’re currently reviewing bin safety in the wake of some incredibly sad instances whereby rough sleepers have lost their lives as a result of using bins as shelter.

Even when the day’s over and I’ve downed tools, I generally head from one workshop to another (although it’s actually a 21m x 4m shed) where I’ll pick up another set of tools – but this time it’s for my car and motorbike restoration projects. 

Whether I’m fabricating or fibre glassing, I can generally be found in the shed working on any number of vehicles. In the past, I’ve restored a 1947 truck from Alabama, a Mark 1 Ford Escort and I’m currently working on a 1970s Lotus Elan. My wife often comments that she’s a shed widow, but tinkering and developing projects is in my blood.

A bit like with work, there’s always plenty to do. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.