Marios Zapitis – Chairman

I joined the IBA in 1980 straight from university after having done a 6 month industrial training the year before as part of my degree course.  In the early days I worked in the Masts & Aerials Group as an antenna engineer until 1990 and then moved on to project management in Telecoms.  I was then appointed Engineering Manager for Radio and got involved in the early pioneering work for Digital Radio (DAB) and then moved on to TV where I was part of the team rolling out the world’s first Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in 1998.  In 2000 I spent a very enjoyable 6 month in Australia helping out NTL Australia to rollout DTT and DAB services.  On returning to the UK, I was then involved in something completely different in building out NTL’s first ever Playout Centre in Feltham and is still in operation today playing out numerous Satellite and DTT TV channels.

In 1995 I moved to Arqiva after the sale of NTL Broadcast and became involved in the rollout of DSO (Digital SwitchOver) as a Head of Programme implementation. This was a massive and a very high profile project for both Arqiva and myself and was successfully delivered in the end of 2012 both in budget and on time with high praise from the customers and the UK government. After DSO I was appointed as Arqiva’s Projects Director where I was responsible for the successful delivery of all of Arqiva’s projects ranging from Broadcast, Telecoms and Satellite. I took early retirement in late 2014 and now spend more time with the family and particularly with my 2 grandchildren. I became an NTLPA committee member in early 2018 and voted into the Treasurer’s position in the October 2018 AGM.

Trevor Birkbeck

Trained in an EMI apprentice scheme to HNC level, worked in Nigeria and joined ITA in Oct 1969 working at Brompton Rd, then down to Crawley in the IBA, ntl & Arqiva as Antenna Engineer, switched to being an Antenna Maintenance Engineer in 1975.
Retired Jan 2002…then dragged back to work Sept 2005 for the DSO project, retiring again Jan 2011 then back again Oct 2011 to late 2013 (monitoring antenna contract work). Now fully retired but as busy as always.
Elected!! Newsletter editor at 2013 AGM for 5 years and am now in the post of secretary.
Interests are Hang Gliding, Paragliding, Motorcycling, E-biking and Sailing

Paul French – Treasurer and Membership Sec

I joined the IBA in 1983, starting at the Harman Engineering Training College on an 18 month training course; those were the days! I was ‘posted’ to Emley in 1985, working in the ROC and on field operations.

Since the early 1990′s I worked in lots of different areas of IBA/NTL/Arqiva, in the Radcoms/Public Safety side of the business, and even in the ex-Cabletel super head-end at Langley. When I finally left Arqiva in 2015 I was fortunate enough to be leading the terrestrial field operations team, still based at Emley but travelling all over the UK. It was a good time to leave; what better job could I have had, and what better people to work with..?

I’ve been married to Gill for nearly 39 years, and we have 3 grown-up (?!) children, 35, 33 and 31.

Since retiring I’ve managed to expand on my hobby of dry stone walling, volunteering for the Peak District National Park and a local environmental group. I keep bees, as you might have guessed, and I still have a passion for motorcycling. I make a mean pork pie and I was sworn-in as a magistrate in 2019. And I’m still a keen DIY-er!

I originally got involved with the NTLPA to get in amongst the vast amount of information that is available and tap in to some good opinions, and that is still the case. I edited the newsletter for 3 years and I am now the NTLPA Treasurer.

John Goodson – Newsletter Editor

Born in Warwickshire, I moved to Weymouth when I was six. Luckily, the rest of the family moved with me. I went to school and college there before moving to Southampton to work in the NHS. I moved to the IBA about 6 years later to work in the service area planning department, later called spectrum planning. Our work was concerned with identifying areas of poor reception and planning small fill-in TV transmitters. This work took us, quite literally, from one end of the country to the other but it was always interesting, sometimes in large towns, sometimes in very remote villages. People were very grateful for what we did, some had never had good TV pictures.

I took voluntary redundancy and left Crawley Court in 2008.

I have an interest in aviation, having once trained for a private pilot’s license at Southampton airport. It was fun sharing the airspace with a number of large jet aircraft on a busy Saturday afternoon in the summer. I enjoy cycling and enjoy walking dogs. I’ve always had an interest in astronomy too. I always liked the idea of been the first to identify that never-seen-before celestial object……it hasn’t happened yet !

I do not play golf, Crazy golf is about my limit.

Picture of Graham Sawdy
Graham Sawdy – Webmaster

My first job was at the BBC where I was dropped in at the deep end by being given the job to rebuild a fire damaged relay station at Keighley. The power supply for the klystron amplifier had caught fire and caused major damage. Why the BBC went for a diy rebuild rather than just buying new equipment is still beyond me. This was followed by a period converting all the FM main stations and networks to stereo, with a digital distribution network, and then work to upgrade the transmitters to 2x20kW and mixed polarisation. Finally I spent short while in the BBC’s Communications Department.

A move out of London was threatening and I didn’t like the uncertainty. I’d visited Crawley Court and thought how much nicer it was than London. I applied and got a job in IBA Telecoms Department in 1986. The job again included a stereo conversion – this time the conversion of ITV and C4 networks to NICAM sound – as well as a number of links projects for TV and ILR.

With privatisation, NTL Telecoms was looking for new business areas and things really took off with a contract to provide links between Vodafone switch sites. More customers followed and soon we needed more capacity than our radio links could provide. So we started installing optical fibre – which, along with our UK wide telecoms licence, possibly led a small US owned UK cable company called CableTel to buy NTL from its initial private equity owners (Mercury Asset Management)!

I saw the growth of the fibre transmission network right through from this small beginning to become probably the second largest network in the UK and ended up heading the Transmission Architecture team at Hook.

The Telewest/Virgin merger caused a lot of headcount reductions and I was happy to get redundancy in October ’06, about 30 months before I would have retired anyway.

My wife and I live in Winchester, where our two sons were born. They are now through uni and theoretically off our hands but continue to provide additional diy jobs to add to the list! I still enjoy skiing and try to keep up with some cycling too.

Mike Thorne – Secretary

My NTL pensioner career began in 2002 when I took early retirement from Crawley Court where I was a director in the International Mergers and Acquisitions group when NTL’s financial difficulties were triggered by the telecom stock market collapse. Prior to those four years in international business I was the director of Broadcast Radio at Crawley Court, taking the business through from the IBA privatisation into the commercial world.

My earlier roles in the IBA were as an engineer and then an engineering manager at Stockland Hill and in the Crawley Court SD&C department. I was the project manager for the Channel 4 Marconi main station transmitter procurement and installation programme.

After retiring from NTL in Jan 2002 I consulted occasionally in the Telecoms and Broadcast Transmission market but have now withered on that vine. I joined the NTLPA committee at the AGM in 2005 and was elected Chairman at the AGM held in November 2008, retiring from this role at the Sept 2011 AGM.

My leisure interests are predominantly gliding related, both as a cross country pilot and an instructor. I’m also an active member of a Rotary Club in Romsey and a poor player of Bridge after succumbing to a 12 week teaching session from my wife. Unlike most NTLPA members its seems, I don’t play golf! I think I could still tune a klystron if pressed but where are they all?

John Jardine

After leaving the RAF in 1986, I started work with the (then) Directorate of Telecommunication, Home Office at Kippax Maintenance Unit, near Leeds, working on a variety of tasks, from repairing modules from personal radios through to base stations.
To give me a broader experience of the work of the department, I was seconded, first of all, to the local service centre, then out to their Bradford sub-centre, working on everything from police vehicles to hill-top sites. This lasted about 6 months, when I returned  to Kippax MU, working on the first fully synthesized police radio equipment. During this time, I was appointed as local union representative, which led to more responsibility in this role. In the run-up to privatisation from DTELS, as we were then known as, to NTL in March 1994, I took part in many meetings with the Home Office and senior management of NTL.
My work responsibilities changed in the late 90s to looking after paging equipment for HM Coastguard, which then led to being involved in the role out of pagers for the RNLI. I really enjoyed this work, as I was liaising not only with the local service engineers but staff at most RNLI stations, length and breadth of the country.
In 2005, I took redundancy from NTL, and then took the opportunity to do “ something completely different “ and was appointed to a position within a major high-street financial organization, where I ended up working in their department, buying and selling shares for customers in various stock markets. I retired from there in 2014.
Since retiring, I have spent time volunteering for two charities in the area.
My other interests are cooking and reading. Jean and I share an interest in antiques and occasionally attend antique fairs in the area.
For the past 10 years or so, we have enjoyed holidays in Cyprus, where we love meeting new people, the guaranteed sunshine and the local food.