General Manager Howard.
25th February 2017
25th February 2017
I was born in Solihull and spent my childhood living not much more than a stone’s throw
away from the Rover / Land Rover plant. I was interested in cars as far back as I can
remember and learned to drive at 12 in my Grandfather’s Ford Thames van ( on private
ground ), bought my first car, an Austin A40 Farina Mk 2 at 16 so that I was ready to take
to the road legally at the stroke of midnight as I turned 17, took and passed my driving test
4 days later and have loved being behind the wheel ever since.
I started my working career in the Motor Industry with an Apprenticeship at what became
Leyland Cars, then Jaguar, Rover, Triumph based at Lode Lane, Solihull. My Father spent his
career in Interior Body Design, also at the Rover plant so I sort of followed in his footsteps.
After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I specialized in Exhaust Emission
Control systems and had lots of fun with developing Range Rover for the US market, putting
the Buick derived Rover V8 into Land Rovers and the Triumph TR8 and with Morgan for the
+8.I was offered a position back in 1980 with Lotus Cars out in Norwich to run their
Emissions Lab for the Lotus product and DeLorean, but at the same time I was offered a
position as a Development Engineer for Gas Turbine Engine Fuel Control systems, by
The salary and prospects at Lucas were much better and I was courting my now wife Julia at
the time, we were looking to buy a house together, so the latter opportunity was the one I
followed. I found myself working with Nigel Mansell ( yes that’s the one ! ) and his father Eric,
those were good days ……. and I have been in an Engineering role in the Aerospace Industry
for over 37 years.
I specialise in mechanical components, mostly high performance bearings with design &
development consultancy for a number of major OEM’s including Pratt & Whitney, UTC
Aerospace Systems and
Parker Aerospace as well as projects for the US Government which is why collectively, I spend so
much time away from home in the USA supporting these activities.
Cars however have always been in my blood, so having restored an MG Midget, a Lotus Elan
+2, a Jaguar XK150 and 2 E-types, a third E-type was sold as an incomplete project when
we moved to Germany with 2 young children back in 1993, but I have always had a love affair
with BMW having dreamed of owning an E23 M625CSi and how I wanted an E21 323i. My first
however, was an E30 320i as a Company car back in 1988, followed by an E36 325i in 1991 and
then a long gap until a new dream became a reality in June 2009 with my current pride & joy,
the E60 M5. The M5 has always been for me that perfect blend of a sports car for the family that
can be a normal family saloon one minute, but push that M button and it becomes a beast !
We also have 2 other BMW’s in the household with an F15 X5 30d M-sport and an F21 118d M-sport
As I have always enjoyed working on cars, I continue to tinker with the M5, it is not an easy car to work on which is what makes it all the more rewarding to do so, and though it is not a daily driver, neither is it a garage queen, I love to drive the car and look forward to taking it from its regular winter SORN status and onto the road for the Summer months.
I joined the Car Club in 2009 after purchasing the M5 and attended weekend events notably the first Invasion of the Lakes in 2012 and the Welsh Weekend in 2013 and a few pub meets before taking the plunge to become more involved. I launched the Cotswold Region in August 2014 following discussions with Cotswold Motor Group and the then Car Club Chairman and these factors have given rise to my increasing interest, activity and deeper involvement in the club.
I was invited to join the Board of Directors following a board meeting in September 2016. Having given it some serious thought, I accepted the position on the strict understanding that I was not interested in just making up numbers and wanted to make a positive contribution towards the day to day running of the club and its future.
My role as such is still in a process of evolution with Dealer Liaison and its primary goal to develop a structured network of dealer partnerships throughout the Country, International relationships with other BMW Car Clubs around the World and I have volunteered to take a leading role in the planning and execution of our Annual National Festival.
Waiting on Richard
Design & planning of Car Club – stationary/event flyersTo work with office – with co-ordination and marketing the futures of the club
Communication with & Support of regional chairs.Guidance & development of Regions.
As you know I am a member of the Board and delegated as Regions Director. I was democratically elected to this position by a unanimous vote at the 2014 AGM meaning I have one more year to serve on the board. I was chosen as I have successfully run the East Anglia Region for some time and consider it stands as a model for all other Regions to adopt as I am supported by an excellent committee. Each committee member is a Branch Representative responsible individually for each of the Counties within our area. One year we managed to increase our membership by 24% so we must hopefully be doing things right for our members.
Personally I spent my entire working life in the insurance industry. Firstly I had to acquire knowledge of all classes of General Insurance in other words Motor, Fire, Accident, Liability etc. plus a broad understanding of English Law and Economics. This was put to good use as I dealt with insurance claims including meeting claimants face to face and investigating losses on site. Later I branched out into sales having to also take on knowledge of Life, Pensions and Investment business and ultimately becoming a Sales Manager before finally branching out and went Self Employed as an Independent Financial Adviser before retiring.
My well known mantra is based on the words of Winston Churchill “ Never, never, never give up” and this I practice to this day trying to ensure I deal with tasks I have been set immediately and succeeding the majority of the time. I very rarely have to admit defeat although I don’t get my way all the time especially at home. Faults? yes I have a few, I can be lazy sometimes especially if a job is something I am not interested in. Ask my wife Maggie and she will tell you how long she has to wait for something to be painted or a shelf put up. Apart from that I am almost perfect (probably).
Regions Director And East Anglia Regional Chairman
Currently looking after Motor Sport
Web Design & Development, Technical support for It and website training Media Team Leader.
Oversees all communications and media pages. Responsible for project managing the new website (July 2014) - webmaster.
Born 1942 to working class parents in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
Attended a grammar school (5 O levels) followed by technical college education in electronics and telephony and an Open University course in computing to 2nd class honours level.
Worked as a draughtsman for three weeks aged 16 and then was offered a job as a telecoms technician with the Post Office where he stayed for 11 years.
Married his wife Jacqueline in 1968 and started together with his brother, a steel construction and manufacturing company with £100 capital, which eventually had 50 employees, three factories, a warehouse and an office block.
Sold out to his employees around 1999 and has played with cars ever since on the proceeds.
Played with and restored MG, Opel and eventually BMW cars, rebuilding and restoring one of each from almost scrap condition.
In 1995 he joined the BMW Car Club GB and became the North East Region Chair, Director, webmaster and negotiator for the club with the BMW Clubs International Council in short order. After successfully helping to negotiate the UK and Scandinavian Clubs out of BCE, saving BMWCCGB about £13K annually in fees, he was secretary to the replacement umbrella organisation BCEF from its conception until about 2012, when he re-joined the BMW Car Club GB.
Shortly after in 2015 he was asked to take a seat on the board, which is the position as of February 2017.
Responsibilities – interpreting club rules, maintaining and developing the web site,
Communicating with club members.
BCEF delegate and communications alongside many other bits and bobs.
Was made a friend of the Marque in 2016 by the BMW international Council and BMW AG, in recognition of services rendered.
Took the job of voluntary General Manager in March 2017.