Peter Thomas 1950-2011 (Obit)

The Polymer Society
19 Dec 2011

Peter Thomas, who died on 16 October 2011, was a Fellow of the Institute
of Materials, Minerals and Mining and a committed environmental manager
with a successful background in representing the flooring and plastics
industries at company and sector level on a range of technical and
sustainability issues. He had much experience at working with
standardisation and consultative committees at both national and
European level which he put to good use in achieving consensus across a
range of diverse interests.

After graduating at The University of Kent Canterbury with an honours degree in Chemistry during the early seventies, Pete started his career working for Nairn Coated Products in Lancaster and by 1975 was a member of the technical team of Wallington Weston in Frome where he first became involved in the Marley Floors activity.  It was here, where Peter was to establish an important link with Brazil. Peter specified the manufacturing equipment which was subsequently commissioned in the Fademac plant in Sao Paulo and with his wife Margery and young son Chris, literally followed this equipment to Sao Paulo where they spent the next four years in which Margery describes as a ‘Life changing experience’.

On returning to the UK Peter spent the ensuing years in the Marley Floors business in a variety of roles covering production, technical and environmental activities. Peter and his wife were active members of ‘Friends of the Earth’ in the early seventies and Peter was always able to balance his purist environmental thinking with the ability to stand up and fight for PVC as an example, against any anti lobbyist.

Outside of the business but closely linked with it, Peter gave his professional time to so many external institutes and associations.

He was really trusted in this technical ambassador role and so found himself actively chairing the Contract flooring environment committee, the Flooring Sustainability Partnership and the Life Cycle Assessment committee for the European Resilient Flooring Institute.

Peter also managed to represent his company and the wider industry at the British Standard Institute, Building Research Establishment, British Plastics Federation and the Construction Products Association.

Peter joined the IOM3 Brighton PVC Conference organising committee in 2006 and was instrumental in helping to arrange speakers for, and chair sessions, at both PVC conferences held in 2008 and this year. His knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment in defending and promoting PVC based on sound science grounds were legendary.
Prior to 2006 he was always a great supporter of the Brighton conference and we were very pleased if he was in the audience as he would be sure to ask the first question after a presentation. He would wait for the microphone to be passed along to him (but did not really need it), introduce himself as Pete Thomas, Marley (but almost everyone knew who he was) and launch into a very relevant question or comment that got the discussion started on the floor.

We were all privileged to know such a talented and dedicated professional and will miss him and forever respect him.