(Jim Emmines presents Ray Jackson with his award)
A Thames Water stalwart has received a special award after clocking up more than half a century working at the company.
Ray Jackson, 65, joined the then Metropolitan Water Board on September 19, 1967 and picked up his 50 year service award at a special presentation in September.
Ray, a technical support manager based at Beckton, first joined as an apprentice electrician, and has helped oversee dozens of projects during his time at the company as he’s moved through the ranks.
“When I joined, my then line-manager asked me where I wanted to be in the future, and I said I wanted his job and he laughed but I was serious,” Ray said.
“He then arranged for me to join the engineering department, and I started a degree course in 1975, and it's just progressed from there.”
Ray has taken on many large-scale projects during his time at the company, and believes a key part of his longevity is his willingness to put himself forward for roles.
He said: “Often, I’ve been promoted in responsibility because I’ve shown I can do things. I always put myself forward for difficult projects and jobs other people don’t want to do, and I’ve always completed them to a very high standard.
“I take a great deal of pride from what I do, and I know I can always be successful. I haven’t really got any specific highlights of my time at Thames, just knowing that each job and project I’ve undertaken has been completed to a high standard.”
As expected, Ray has seen a great deal of change during his time at the company, from the introduction and use of technology, to how major projects are handled, but says the biggest change is the mind-set of the company.
He said: “We always used to be great at being reactive and fixing things but now, we’re definitely becoming proactive and trying to stop things breaking in the first place.
“I’ve always said ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and if we can make sure they don’t break in the first place, we won’t have to repair it.
“That’s very important.”
Although he’s now reached the golden retirement age, Ray has no plans to step down. “I’ve got no intention of retiring at the moment,” he said.
“There’s a lot of big projects and jobs on at the moment and I’d like to see them through, and I’d probably be a bit bored anyway if I retired.”
Ray’s manager, Jim Emmines, said: “To spend 50 years in one company is a fantastic achievement.
“The knowledge, passion and tenacity that Ray possesses is remarkable. Myself personally and the rest of my team have learnt a tremendous amount from Ray over the years. If you have a technical electrical problem that needs solving, Ray is the man to go to.
“There are probably very few Thames Water sites in London that have not benefited from Ray’s expertise over his amazing career.”