You could say that Dr Tony Trapp was destined to be an entrepreneur. During his school years, Tony sold ex¬plosive sodium pellets to fellow pupils, much to the dismay of parents and his headteacher. Swapping schoolwork for real world experience at just fifteen years old, Tony left education to start working at a glasshouse nursery which proved to be the catalyst for a lifelong career dedicated to engineering.
Intrigued by the glasshouse’s heating system, Tony returned to academia to read agricultural engineering at Newcastle University followed by a doctorate in vibratory cutting of rock and soil. After 5 years as a lecturer at Edinburgh University Tony returned to Newcastle University where he helped to pioneer research into underwater earth-moving technology, a pivotal technique in the development of North Sea oil and the global communications industry.
Tony’s own inventiveness combined with his passion for engineering has enabled him to help create a cluster of world-class marine tech businesses within the North East including: SMD, Royal IHC (formerly The Engineering Business) and now, Osbit, which he set up in 2010.
Along the way there has been plenty of ‘creative tension’ and financial anxiety, though this is outweighed by a wave of technical triumphs and successes. Osbit (On Spec, Budget and In Time) is on track to turnover £20m this year with 90 staff, mainly engineering graduates.
Investing in young talent and enabling them to flourish into brilliant commercial engineers is a running thread throughout Tony’s ventures in addition to supporting and delivering outstanding engineering in the North East. Both topics will provide the focus for our upcoming dinner with Tony which promises to be an insightful and informative discussion, and an evening not to miss.
Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle, NE2 2EY
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