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JCB veteran bows out after almost 47 years

Roger Bree, Manufacturing Manager of JCB’s Loadall Division, has retired after almost 47 years with the company. When he joined JCB at Rocester, aged 16, back in 1963 he was one of just a few hundred employees, but since then he has seen JCB grow into one of the world’s top three manufacturers of construction equipment employing around 7,000 people on four continents.

At his retirement presentation Chief Executive Officer Alan Blake hailed Roger and his generation of employees past and present as the “pioneers” of JCB.

Alan said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Roger and his generation who have really helped build up JCB into the company it is today. Employees from his era were the pioneers of JCB and we thank Roger and everyone like him for what they’ve contributed over the years.”

On leaving school Roger worked on a farm for a few months before joining his father at JCB in the machine shop where he learned manufacturing skills such as welding. In those days JCB manufactured only backhoe loaders and small dumper trucks and Roger worked closely with JCB Founder Joseph Cyril Bamford. He has fond memories of enjoying fish and chips and ice cream bought by Mr JCB for his employees when they worked late into the evening in order to complete orders on time.

Roger, who joined the Loadall Division 12 years ago, said: “I have been provided with first class in-house training in manufacturing engineering and management in order to progress my career with JCB, and I’ve been all over the world with the company buying machine tools and working in our factories overseas.

“Now JCB offers even more training and career opportunities, especially as it has grown into a truly global business. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every moment of my time with JCB. There was never a morning when I didn’t want to get up and go to work.”