Long-serving ABB Employee John Austin receives posthumous lifetime achievement award at the BEAMA Annual Conference

John Austin’s family was presented with a BEAMA award recognizing his service to the Electrical Industry across more than 50 years

A lasting legacy in cable protection
BEAMA is the UK trade association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure, technologies and systems, representing more than 200 companies of various sizes in the UK. John Austin had been part of BEAMA since its inauguration, making him the longest-serving member until his sudden passing in late September of this year. Attending the ceremony and accepting the award on John’s behalf was his daughter Kelly Austin, who was accompanied by UK and Ireland Sales and Marketing Manager for ABB Installation Products, Chris Clements.

Nick Hayler, Head of Building Electrical Systems for BEAMA presented the award to John’s family. Speaking on why John was chosen to receive the 2022 prize, Nick said, “John was a pillar of the Cable Management community, his contribution to BEAMA and support of his peers within the membership was very much appreciated. His dedication to the industry for 52 years is an amazing achievement. I nominated John earlier in the year when I heard he was to retire and wanted to ensure he knew how much he was appreciated and respected within our industry.”

(Left to right): Chris Clements UK Sales & Marketing Manager for ABB Installation Products, John Austin's daughter Kelly Austin receiving the award on his behalf and Nick Hayler, representative of BEAMA.

John Austin (back row, fourth in from the right) with the Unitube management team.

From engineering apprentice to cable management specialist
Speaking of the ceremony and John’s recognition, Chris Clements said, “It was an honor to work with John and to be at the award ceremony with his daughter Kelly. John was a great person and had extensive knowledge of the cable production in-dustry that was simply unmatched. ABB Installation Products has worked on many prestigious projects over the years and part of this was due to John’s tireless work ethic and his commitment to our customers. John was a good friend and superb colleague, it was my pleasure to have known him and to have worked with him over the years, both at ABB and on the BEAMA committee. I am saddened by the fact that John passed before receiving his honor in person.”

John started his career in engineering as an apprentice with a major consulting group, working closely with Rolls Royce Aerospace Division and helped develop tooling to manufacture the turbine blades for the engine of the Concorde. He then went on to study Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Product Design at Thames Valley University. In 1971, he worked for Unitubes (which would later become known as Kopex International) at Slough as Chief Design Engineer. During this time, he was a key contributor to the development of early Kopex conduit solutions such as ducting, flue-linings, plumbing products and electrical conduit.

50+ years of evolution and innovation
Over the next several decades, John continued to work for the Kopex and Adaptaflex product lines, which were acquired by ABB in 2012 as part of the Cable Management Group (CMG) and included with the Thomas & Betts acquisition. Although both Kopex and Adaptaflex Flexible Conduit Systems were already global brands, the integration into the ABB family created a new and exciting chapter allowing for an even wider audience and reach. This enabled development into segments such as transportation infrastructure, utilities, construction, machine tools and hazardous areas.

Nathan Cook takes the baton from John as Global Business Development for Cable Management Products. On John’s legacy and the future of Cable Management heading into 2023, Nathan said, “I had the privilege of working with John off and on for more than 20 years, first as a competitor during his time at Kopex and then as a colleague and sales team member of the newly formed Cable Management Group, where we worked together at a time of huge change and massive global growth for the CMG brands. John is a true legend within our business and the wider industry, remembered not only for his wealth of product knowledge but equally for his wicked sense of fun and willingness to support in any way he could. A people person and a true gentleman in every sense, he will remain an inspiration to us all as we continue to build on the foundations he laid.”

John Austin being recognized as Employee of the Year in 1977.
About the author

Julie Barlow
is the HR Leader for Europe & AMA for ABB Installation Products, part of the Electrification Products (EL) division. She is focused on the ongoing strategic transformation of Installation Products by partnering with the leadership team to develop and implement strategies that support the growth plan, and foster a culture of accountability, empowerment, and results. Julie specialises in Employment Law and Labour Relations across Europe with over 25 years experience, and started her journey with Thomas and Betts in October 2004 where she had the responsibility for UK and MEA. She is currently located in the EL Division office in Nottingham, UK.

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