Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 23rd March 2023 Issue no. 1057
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OBITUARY - Ron Tilley
Prochem Europe regrets to announce the passing of its founder and chairman, Ron Tilley, at the age of 88 years.
A man of abundant charisma and wit, blessed with the capacity to engage all about him while putting them at their ease, Ron built a highly successful career in the cleaning sector and with it, a company that was to go on to become one of the most innovative solutions developers and a leading light in the training of the cleaning professional (a job designation that did not exist when he entered the business in the late 1950s).
When Ron joined Servicemaster in 1959, the carpet cleaning industry barely existed. Shampoo Crystallisation was the new technology; there was no such thing as a soil extractor, and no training was available. As a result of a back injury in 1962, Ron could no longer continue as a carpet cleaning operative and a new position of trainer was found within the company.
Under the auspices of his newly-formed Professional Chemical & Equipment Company, Ron set to putting matters right, and his courses on carpet, upholstery and floor cleaning held at the old Victory Club near Marble Arch in London on behalf of the British Institute of Cleaning Science were enthusiastically received.
These courses were not only benefiting cleaners by empowering them to do their jobs better and enjoy a better standard of living, but they also proved highly formative in developing a presentation technique for Ron that was in itself a winning formula. Many years later, in 1998, Ron was to receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented by the National Carpet Cleaners Association in recognition of Outstanding Services to the Carpet Cleaning Industry.
Prochem (the new-found abbreviation for the company name) started up a Technical Help Line and carpet manufacturers soon came to Prochem for cleaning advice.
A man with a keen eye on the interests and needs of the cleaner, Ron also set to work establishing associations with manufacturers to import hot water extraction equipment from the US where the innovation had started.
In 1977, Ron's son Alan joined the business and in 1980, the company began manufacture of chemical products at its premises in Kingston upon Thames. During the next 15 years, products and formulations were developed and refined to meet the growing demand from the company's now extensive distributor network.
In 1995, the company relocated, once again, to larger premises in Chessington where space became available for manufacturing expansion, storage, laboratory product development and equipment sales and service.
The new building also perfectly provided for a dedicated two-storey training facility which has subsequently seen thousands of trainees attend Prochem courses in a period of over 20 years.
Ron remained active at Prochem, continuing to train carpet, upholstery and floor cleaners well into his seventies.
16th May 2019