Ian Strudwick

My Interview

Me and my work

I am Technical Manager of Shirley Technologies Limited, part of the BTTG Ltd group of companies. My career history started in 1983 in woollen yarn quality control, but I have spent the past 20 years working in independent textile testing laboratories. At STL I have responsibility for the toy, laundry, degradative exposure and microbiology testing facilities as well as for the services in respect of complaint investigation, product fault analysis and dispute resolution. To this end I am a qualified Expert Witness and a UKAS accredited technical expert. As Technical Manager, one of my primary responsibilities is provision of technical support, expertise and response to operational, technical and legislative queries for clients as well as product/test development and investigative work incorporating the whole range of testing operations that STL offer. I am a Chartered Fellow of the Textile Institute and hold BSc, HNC and ONC qualifications in Textile Technology. I am Chair of British Standard committee TCI/81 dealing with issues relating to colour fastness and colour measurement standardisation and sit on numerous other BSI committees, as well as representing the UK on numerous ISO committees and working groups dealing with textile standardisation. I am also STL’s representative to UKTLF, SDC, TSI, TI, AATCC, EWI, RSM, ASBCI and other industry bodies. I am a member of STL’s Quality Group with responsibility for assuring the ongoing UKAS accreditation of the laboratory facilities to the BSENISO17025 standard.

My Typical Day

No such thing – which is one of the best things about my working life! On any given day I can be writing expert reports, carrying out investigative testing, answering technical enquiries from clients and visiting or having visits with clients to discuss technical problems. Then there are the responsibilities of supervising staff, running quality systems and profit-making departments, attending internal meetings and all other other joys of management. On a non-typical day I might get to attend BSI and ISO committees and the various conferences and seminars organised by the industry bodies of which STL are members

What's the best work related thing you've done?

Assuming this is a work-related question I would say that I’m very proud of my work history, but perhaps my finest achievement is rising from being an Operational Head running one department to being Technical Manager with a seat on the BTTG Ltd Board within 7 years at STL. That and turning round a loss-making microbiology lab on the brink of closure to one of the most profitable units of STL whilst knowing absolutely nothing about bacteria and fungi!

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Hardworking, thorough, dedicated

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Like Sophia I have spent time in Nepal, I did the Everest Base Camp walk in 2009. On that trip I met a couple from Australia who got engaged, which led to a trip to Australia in 2011 for the wedding. I’ve still got the invitation written on recycled elephant dung (the bride was the elephant keeper at Taronga Zoo in Sydney)

Who or what inspired you to do the work you're doing now?

When I started work in 1983 textiles wasn’t my vocation, just something I fell into. However I went to Hudds Poly to do my qualifications where I met lecturer Philip Townhill and and lecturer and subsequent Head of Department John Pearson. No two men have ever seemed to get so much enjoyment from talking about textiles and I just got swept away with them, and textiles turned into a career for me. Laterly Professor Subhash Anand, former Chair of the TI and Head of Technical Textiles at Bolton University has always amazed me with his knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject, whenever we collaborate on a project I seem to learn something new