Vic looks good ‘out on the shopfloor’…at 90 years-old

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Veteran engineer and popular Northern Soul DJ celebrates major work milestone in style

One of the UK’s longest serving engineers celebrated 76 years working in industry this week and insisted he wants to carry on until he is 100.

Vic Sutton, a Calibration Engineer at harness and wiring looms specialist Teepee Electrical in Bloxwich, turned 90 on Tuesday and spent his big birthday playing a role in daily production and enjoying a surprise party with colleagues he openly calls ‘family’.

It marked what has been a rollercoaster career for the former mechanical engineering apprentice, who started work just four years after the end of the second world war and has spent time at English Electrical, as a radio engineer in the Royal Air Force, with British Electronic Products, Thorn EMI and a local Staffordshire start-up.

He has combined his love of manufacturing with an insatiable appetite for Northern Soul music that has seen him become one of the scene’s most loved DJs with more than 700 gigs under his belt.

It was only the weight of equipment that saw him pack up his decks a few months ago, but Vic readily admits he still gets pulled into doing some guest spots by friends.

“My family keep asking me when I’m going to stop, but I genuinely just love coming to work,” explained Vic, who still works three days per week.

“Teepee Electrical is a fantastic company. We all get on really well and it’s like one big family – the fact we are doing such great work for the ‘blue light’ sector is the icing on the cake.

“I’ve been here two decades, starting off doing the drawings for the wiring harnesses for some big-name customers. These days I’m responsible for the calibration of more than 428 hand tools used by my colleagues to crimp the wires.”

He went on to add: “We’ve got our own testing room that’s like my own den and my problem-solving skills are definitely put into good use as the management team tend to bring me in to make things more efficient at our Leamore Road Factory.”

Vic, who witnessed the final days of the Battle of Britain from the family home in Walthamstow, believes the biggest change in manufacturing has been the emergence of technology and the fact everything is done on computers – including his calibration work.

However, his message to the engineers of the future is ‘education, education, education’, making sure that young people take every opportunity to learn, whether that is at school, college, university or on the shopfloor.

Steve Clarke, Managing Director of Teepee Electrical, added his support: “Vic is a walking, talking inspiration…it’s as simple as that.

“Everyone loves him, and he really brings a feel-good factor to the factory, not to mention years of manufacturing and problem-solving experience that makes a real difference on our shopfloor.

“His stories are amazing, from overcoming tuberculosis as a child and playing in two bands in Stoke-on-Trent to rubbing shoulders with Alvin Stardust and Billy Fury.”

Vic received an early 90th birthday present in March when he welcomed his fourth great-grandchild to the world, with Elliot James joining Nevaeh, Harlow and Nixon.

He also has four grandchildren (Ashleigh, Amy, Ellie and William) from his daughter Joanne and son Darren.

“I love my family to bits, but I have no intention of giving up work just yet. As long as I remain fit enough – both in body and mind – I hope to still be working at Teepee Electrical when I hit the big century.”

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