Hydor’s stalwart, Dennis Farr is celebrating 50 years service with the company this year and his colleagues are paying tribute to an impressive and eventful career serving the poultry and livestock industries.
Born in Devon in 1940, Dennis, as a young boy was fascinated with seeing chickens roaming around the farm. After serving an electrical engineering apprenticeship with Thornycroft Limited, Dennis joined a small company that produced gas turbine powered generating sets, an extremely valuable experience which later served him well.
Dennis joined The Hydor Company, as it was then known, in October 1964 as workshop manager/foreman of the Control Panel Division. His relationship with the founder and Chairman, Colin Hyde, soon developed into a firm friendship.
“Colin was a go-ahead entrepreneur,” reflected Dennis, “he was always thinking outside the box on the best ways to ventilate sheds. We built fan control panels and we were able to offer three speeds by including a transformer. They were sold at £10 per fan, so a 10 fan panel cost £100, a bit different to today!” explained Dennis.
Among the first agricultural ventilation customers were some great names including, Dale Turkeys, JD Woods, Twiddle Turkeys, Jack Eastwood and many more.
“Colin had the foresight to think that these fans should not be imported but rather, British designed and made,” said Dennis. During his long career Dennis has been involved in the development of the High Performance (HP) fan; a four-bladed unit, manufactured solely in the UK. Hydor also sought business overseas and Dennis and his colleagues travelled extensively across Europe, the Middle East and eventually going even further to South Africa and Australia. This travelling helped to establish Hydor as the third largest exporter of fans to agriculture in the world, behind only GEC and the Big Dutchman. Dennis states that from 1965 to this day, Hydor has not missed a major poultry show in the UK, something not many companies can match.
In 2000, Colin Hyde sold the company to Elta Group. “Our first reaction was ‘what on earth does this huge company want with us?’ Of course the truth was that Elta had recognised that agriculture was a sector of the ventilation industry that they had not yet considered. Like us, Elta also had companies in Australia and South Africa”. So began another exciting chapter in the development of Hydor. Reflecting on his long career Dennis said: “It’s been a real privilege to be involved in the Hydor journey. We have achieved much in terms of innovative product development and developing solutions in the agricultural markets.” Dennis’ long and fruitful career, spanning half a century continues to this day. He still brings his wisdom and advice to the company two days a week: “I enjoy it. I work with great people.
Hydor for me has been a very happy place to work. I have met some great characters in the company, the farming industry, the ventilation industry and throughout the world.” Hydor’s Managing Director, Duncan Burl said: “Dennis is a true pioneer in this industry and we are fortunate to continue to have his valuable experience and dedication within the company” .