Kent Introl Bids a Final Farewell to its Founder, Ed Singleton
Leading British valve engineer and founder of KOSO Kent Introl, Edward Singleton has died aged 90, after a short illness.
Edward, known to all as Ed, originally stepped down from the position of Managing Director of Kent Introl in 1990, acting in a consultancy capacity for the company until recently. With his work ethic no less evident than during his years in charge, Ed was regularly seen at his desk in the company’s Brighouse head office during his tenure as consultant.
In this time, he wrote a series of white papers, and in 2013 published a book, A specifier’s guide to control valves: Optimal performance in petrochemical and power plant. A chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, he represented the UK on the IEC International Control Valve Standards Committee between 1990 and 2004, remaining as a corresponding member thereafter.
He was actively involved in the company’s purchase by KOSO in 2005, and ongoing development of the relationship with the group, in particular with Takashi "Ike" Ikegaya, founder and Chairman of the KOSO Group of Companies, who himself is retiring in 2015.
Ed began his working life in 1941 as an apprentice at Blakeborough’s, Brighouse, where he combined work with studies and after being granted a leave of study absence of two years he completed a degree in Engineering (London University). On returning to the company he rose to the position of MD of the Blakeborough control valve division in 1952. Seeing the opportunity to fill a gap in the market, Ed founded Introl Ltd in 1967. By 1976, the company moved into the first of a series of factories on the Brighouse site they still occupy today. The occasion was marked by a visit from Prime Minister Harold Wilson; later the Duke of Kent also visited the pioneering facility.
Ed’s reflections on his time at Kent Introl were characteristically generous to his colleagues. Speaking shortly before his retirement he commented: ‘Introl was not the result of the efforts of one person. It was a team effort and I was very lucky to have around me a highly talented group of people. I am delighted to say that today’s workforce is continuing this tradition with an expertise in all departments well capable of meeting present day developments.’
Ed founded his company with a clear vision in mind: the provision of high quality, British-manufactured valves for the oil, gas and processing industries. Although the company’s ownership might have changed, and technologies have certainly advanced, Ed’s original vision still holds true and the company continues to go from strength to strength.
And indeed, with Ed’s passing comes not only the end of one era, but the start of another. With Denis Westcott shortly due to retire after eleven years as MD of Kent Introl, this role is now filled by Lynn Mowbray. Lynn is confident about the future of the firm under her leadership: ‘Our strategic vision is for growth within the upstream oil and gas market, particularly subsea and engineered valves. We are always seeking opportunity for product enhancement, cost reduction and system efficiencies and are focused on further strengthening our position in the next three years.’
Despite the focus being very much on the future, Ed’s picture continues to hang in the boardroom at KKI, and the debt the company owes to him will never be forgotten.
Koso Kent Introl
Tel: 01484 710311
Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 35
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