Interview: Bob Mellis
Bob Mellis, our shop-floor supervisor, is one of the most respected and long-serving sign fabricators in the company, and the most experienced die-pressed signage maker in the country.
Bob has been with GB for 42 years – and has seen all the developments and changes that the company and industry have been through in that time. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience that is invaluable.
Our marketing assistant, Eleanor Forrest, caught up with Bob.
Why did you want to be in the signage industry?
BM: My friend, who was already at GB, asked me if I wanted a job. I didn’t have anything else at the time, so I said yes. There were short staffed in the die-press area and needed someone to learn how to use the die-press machines. I said I’d give it a go and was trained in the skills of it.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve had to make?
BM: Jib plates for cranes. They’re always going to be a bit of a challenge, and I like nothing better than a challenge. I also enjoy working on the monoliths that we make for various customers, for example universities. They can be really impressive.
Ultimately, I like being hands on and I enjoy what I do. I’m not the type that can sit at a desk all day.
Has there been many changes to the die-press industry?
BM: Die-press isn’t as intense as it used to be. We still press a huge number of signs, but they’re not as physically big. We used to be pressing huge sheets and 10 of them at a time. To do this you’d press one section and then turn the whole of thing over to carry on. Other than that the machinery and skills in die-pressing haven’t changed that much, it’s one of the last traditional sign making techniques.
Bob has a photographic memory for work he has done, and has a lot of patience for teaching and explaining things to the less technical colleagues, like me. Bob is currently training the next generation of traditional die-press operatives at GB Sign Solutions.