John Fuller – Chairman

I joined the IBA on the day it moved in to Crawley Court in September 1973 as a Junior Engineer (Trainee), arriving before my new section’s furniture and being sent home for a few days until it turned up!

Most of my time was spent on the TV side, working on video, audio & telemetry system design and installation. Following many reorganisations, I ended up as the Analogue TV Product Manager a post I held until leaving at the end of July 2003 having worked at Crawley Court for nearly 30 years.

In my time with NTLPA I’ve been Secretary, Web Master and Chairman. I’m part of the teams that meet the Plan Trustees regularly and attend OPA meetings.

My main interests outside NTLPA are in athletics, I’m Treasurer of Winchester & District AC and officiate at Track & Field meetings amongst other things. I’m still trying to find the time to do more of those things I promised myself I’d do when I had more time – walking, bird watching, sorting out the garden, skiing and traveling more ……..

Trevor Birkbeck – Secretary

Worked for IBA, ntl & Arquiva as Antenna Maintenance Engineer
Retired Jan 2002…then back to work Sept 2005 retiring again Jan 2012….then back again Oct 2012 to ? Unknown as I’m still on contract (though not as an Antenna Maintenance Engineer)
Elected!! Newsletter editor at 2013 AGM
Interests are Hang Gliding, Paragliding, Motorcycling, Sailing

Marios Zapitis – Treasurer and Membership Sec

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.

Mike Thorne – OPA liaison

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?

Picture of Graham Sawdy
Graham Sawdy – Webmaster

My first job was at the BBC where I travelled around the UK commissioning UHF relay stations – large vapour cooled klystron ones in those days as well as smaller travelling wave tube ones. This was followed by a period converting all the FM main stations and networks to stereo, with a digital distribution netowork, and later the 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.

Paul French – Newsletter Editor

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 35 years, and we have 3 grown-up (?!) children, 31, 29 and 27.

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 now 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’ve now ’sat’ a number of times.  And I’m still a keen DIY-er!

I originally got involved with the NTLPA to get in amongst the vast of information that is available and tap in to some good opinions, and that is still the case. And, thanks to silver-tongued Trevor Birkbeck, I edit the NTLPA mag, which I’m really enjoying…honest..!

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.