Managing Director, John Planck Ltd: 1991 – 2009
President, Guild of Architectural Ironmongers: 1984-85 and 2000-2002
GAI Award for Outstanding Contribution to Architectural Ironmongery Industry: 2009
John himself was the son of an ironmonger and spent all of his working life within and dedicated to our industry. He joined his Father at Alfred G Roberts (Exports) Ltd at the age of 19 and started his ironmongery career-path in the warehouse followed by pricing, estimating, sales and eventually going “out on the road” as a representative in the Summer of ’69.
In 1972, Alfred G Roberts was taken over by Laidlaw and Thomson and he was instantly made a Director. He also became Laidlaw’s marketing manager, a position held for several years until, in the mid-’80s, Laidlaw split their London operations in two and John was asked to concentrate on the major projects being built in the Capital. Newman Tonks then acquired Laidlaw’s and other architectural ironmongers in the late ’80s and created Thomas Laidlaw AHD (Architectural Hardware Division) and John was invited to become its Technical Director. He held this position until he declined their offer to relocate with his family to the North West of England in 1990 and so was made redundant.
Following his redundancy, John started a new venture, John Planck Ltd., in the South East of England with the assistance of John Monaghan, which started trading on 2nd January 1991. Today, his company is still going strong based in Chatham, Kent thanks to the foundations built under his stewardship during his tenure at the company.
John was also heavily involved with the trade’s association, The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers from the early 1970s, which itself has his Father, Richard, as one of the founding members. John was a member of the association’s education committee in 1970 and was for many years a lecturer at the Guild’s residential courses and an examiner at the final years’ level. John was a member of the Guild’s Executive Committee from 1973, apart from a short break in the early 1990s after starting John Planck Ltd and, most impressively, he was the association’s leader twice, as Chairman in 1984 to 1985 and President from 2000 to 2002.
John was instrumental in launching the Guild’s Specification Awards, but perhaps his most notable achievement was in conceiving and driving the AI2001 exhibition. He always felt it was a great shame that it was a “one-off” and that our industry was not able to support a dedicated exhibition as AI2001 was.
John also holds a unique record that is difficult to see being equalled. He is the only President or Chairman of the Guild to successfully pass his final examination whilst holding office. John was a top student and won the gold medal for his Diploma examination in 1984.
John was a devoted father of four sons, nine grandchildren, a loving husband, a mentor, and a leader. He is sadly and sorely missed by all whose lives he has touched, both in and out of our industry.
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