Peter Gardner has retired after 50 year sin the industry. Mr Gardner started work at the age of 16 in a South London builders merchant but took his move into the mainstream by joining G&S Allgood as an architectural representative in 1973.
This was the time of product innovation and Mr Gardner joined a small team at D.A.Thomas in South London. The company had the agency for “Hewi” which was a German product almost unknown in the UK at that time. Mr Gardner and the Thomas team took the Hewi range to a new level and it became one of the most popular products of the period.
Mr Gardner then became MD of Beaver Architectural Ironmongery taking that company to new highs and arranging its sale to Fredrick Cooper Group. This left Mr Gardner looking for something new and with some friends, he took over Komfort Systems, a revolutionary but struggling office partitioning manufacturer in Crawley. Despite being new to the industry, Mr Gardner and his team revitalised the company and within five years it became the industry leader in Europe. In 1995 Komfort was sold to SIG Group. This was the first of Mr Gardner’s three previous attempts at retirement. It lasted four weeks before he created the company that became Glass Door Solution. Mr Gardner then teamed up with friends in the ironmongery industry and joined forces latterly to become Chairman of both Glass Door Solutions and Harbrine Ltd.
In 2005 Mr Gardner contracted MRSA whilst in Guys Hospital and was seriously ill. Whilst in various hospitals over several weeks, he discovered that the cause of many hospitals Bourne infection was the poor state of the curtains around the beds so with two friends he developed the blue curtains that you see in almost every hospital today. They started a new business, manufacturing disposable curtains and created a revolution in hospital cleanliness. Mr Gardner won the coveted “Queens Award for Innovation” for his efforts.
Mr Gardner had the distinction of leading three trade bodies, being President of the GAI in 1986, Chairman of the IAI 1983-84. and whilst at Komfort in 1994 he became Chairman of the PIA, which became the AIS and is now the FIS.
Mr Gardner said: “I have been so lucky to be involved in businesses where I have been able to count my colleagues, competitors and customers as my friends.”