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Baseefa leader honoured

Author : J GALE

01 March 2011

Ron Sinclair, Managing Director of Baseefa, was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for his services to certification and standardisation.

Sinclair, who spearheaded the private sector rebirth of the Health and Safety Executive’s Electrical Equipment Certification Service (EECS) when it closed in 2001, is probably Britain’s most widely-respected certification engineer, serving on many national and international IECEx and ATEX committees.

"I was gob-smacked when I received the letter from the Cabinet Office," Sinclair admitted. "I see the honour as recognition for all the work we did in rescuing the service from the threat of closure in 2001, and the way that since then, we have seen it grow into a world leader in its field."

Receiving the letter from the Cabinet Office was in stark contrast to the one he had from the Health and Safety Executive – "at 3pm on September 25, 2001", Sinclair recalls with chilling precision – announcing the closure of its Buxton-based certification service.

Following the HSE announcement of the closure of its Electrical Equipment Certification Service (EECS) based at Harpur Hill in Buxton and the enforced retirement or redundancy of all the technical staff, it was Ron who led the new management team and the formation of Baseefa (2001) Ltd. in the private sector. The company’s headquarters are now in a purpose-built 12,000 sq ft laboratory on the Rockhead Business Park, opened by Lord Hattersley in 2004.

"The decision to carry on with the business was done with the wholehearted support of our customers, who insisted that we should keep it going," he recalled. "But our type of business is nothing without the depth of knowledge and the application of the people in it, and the support of the staff and of my wife to the venture was tremendous. I would say that leading the formation of Baseefa and seeing it grow into the internationally respected company that it is today has been my greatest achievement."

Sinclair’s many international responsibilities include chairmanship of ExTAG, the Test and Assessment Group of the IECEx International Certification Scheme, and chairman of the committee responsible for the UK input to both European and International standards for Electrical Equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Ron is also chairman of Cenelec TC31 and is responsible for representing electrical standardisation interests at the European Commission’s ATEX Standing Committee.

Sinclair was born in Edinburgh in 1944, the only son of an insurance manager whose work later took the family to Barnet in London on Sinclair's seventh birthday. He was educated at East Barnet Grammar School, where his favourite subject was physics. The family later moved back to Edinburgh and Ron gained his first degree in electrical engineering at Edinburgh University at the tender age of 19.

He later gained a post-graduate diploma in Advanced Electrical Machine Design Technology at Aston and Southampton Universities, and he is a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

By now the family had moved to Norwich, and Sinclair ’s first job was as a graduate apprentice with Laurence Scott and Electromotors. He spent 10 years with this company, designing large electric motors for various applications, before joining HSE at Buxton as a certification officer in 1975.

Sinclair ’s first wife, Madeleine, whom he married in Norwich in 1970, tragically died of cancer in 1994. The couple had three children: Fiona, who now lives in New Zealand and has three children, Kara, Zia and Noah; Rachel, who has two sons, Cameron and Daniel, and whose husband Steve Taylor works for Baseefa as laboratory manager; and Alistair, who works in Brighton as a video editor and is the father of Eleanor. Ron married his second wife Isabel in 1999.

Outside his work, Sinclair has been a circuit steward and is now church steward at Buxton Methodist Church, and he had a 20-year association with the Patients’ TV Service at the Devonshire Royal Hospital in the town. He and Isabel are keen on Scottish dancing and they are members of the Buxton Scottish Country Dance Group, where Sinclair is one of the teachers. Sinclair and his wife have also been involved in supporting schools for underprivileged children in India, an activity in which they became involved while visiting the company’s associated laboratory near Mumbai.

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