Simpsons Malt and MSP bid farewell to retiring Ivan and Kathleen

Simpsons Malt and McCreath, Simpson & Prentice have bid a fond farewell to two of its longest-serving employees – Operations Manager Ivan Goodwin and Compliance Manager Kathleen Park – who have retired after almost 80 years’ combined service with the family-owned company.

Ivan joined Simpsons Malt on August 4, 1975 as a labourer shortly before his 18th birthday, a role he held for a number of years before becoming a chargehand in 1980. From there, he was made a foreman and then, in 1993, he became the production manager.

After seven years in that role, he was promoted to site manager and, in 2009, he became operations manager, a newly created position at the time that saw him become part of the company’s operations board.

Ivan takes great pride in the fact that Simpsons Malt has produced more than six million tonnes of malt during his time with the company and leaves with a tonne of happy memories of his own.

“It’s been a fantastic company to work for and not once in my 43 years, eight months and 29 days did I ever consider leaving,” said Ivan. “When you look around this company, the amount of people who have been here for more than 30 years is extraordinary and that’s testament to how well the company treats its employees.

“The growth of the company in my time has been remarkable, too. All we had when I first started was the main silo block, saladin boxes, the barley silos and a couple of sheds. There were no barley driers, no big sheds, no GKVs, it was just a small 40,000 tonnes per year maltings. Now, our capacity is 240,000 to 250,000 tonnes per year – so it’s been fantastic to see that continued development and investment from a family-owned company over the years.”

Kathleen, meanwhile, joined McCreath, Simpson & Prentice on October 3, 1983, in the company’s office in Kelso, working as an administration assistant before progressing to office manager. In 1991, when MSP took over the marketing of Eildon Grain, the 30,000-tonne farmers co-operative in St Boswells, Kathleen became the manager following the emigration of colleague Andrew Dick – a role she held until 2000 when she moved to the MSP offices in Berwick to become PA for David McCreath and Andy Richardson, before being seconded to the Grain Department.

When the MSP and Simpsons Malt offices merged in the mid-2000s, Kathleen transferred to Simpsons Malt in a company support role, dealing with compliance and quality with David Thompson as her boss and, when he retired, she became the compliance manager.

“I’m going to miss working at MSP and, latterly, Simpsons Malt as it has been such a big part of my life over the past 35-and-a-half years,” said Kathleen. “I’ll miss the people, a lot of whom I have become close with and got to know as personalities over the years rather than just work colleagues.

“I also feel very fortunate to have had Dave as my mentor in my time at MSP. He suggested to the Board at Eildon Grain that I became the manager and his encouragement over the years led to me becoming the first woman to sit on the MSP Board as company secretary.”

Commenting on the retirement of both Ivan and Kathleen, Simpsons Malt managing director, Tim McCreath, said: “Ivan and Kathleen have been an integral part of the Simpsons Malt and MSP families over the past 40-plus years, a time in which the companies have enjoyed substantial growth.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank both Ivan and Kathleen for their 43 and 35 years of service respectively. All of the staff here at Simpsons Malt and MSP wish them a very happy retirement.”