Topsoil industry to lose passionate educator: The UK’s topsoil industry is to lose to retirement someone who has spent the past 26 years raising the quality bar for manufactured topsoils and leading the industry in educating and informing customers across the construction, landscaping, and amenity markets.
Andy Spetch is retiring at the end of April after a career with British Sugar spanning 36 years. He joined as an agricultural trainee in 1987 and worked as an agronomist for the company in the UK and Poland before starting up British Sugar’s TOPSOIL division in 1997.
Recognising that the rich arable soil brought into British Sugar’s UK factories on the sugar beet was a valuable resource, and in line with the company’s vision to make its operations environmentally and commercially sustainable, Andy set about designing quality topsoil products. Working closely with soil scientist Tim O’Hare, with whom he has continued to work to develop products and stringent testing and analysis protocols, Andy developed a range of products for the construction, landscaping, and sports amenity markets.
Key to TOPSOIL’s success has been Andy’s determination to provide customers with continual independent detailed product analysis, case studies and testimonials, and reports on scientific trials carried out on TOPSOIL products by respected organisations such as the Sports Turf Research Institute and Cranfield University. He has always believed passionately in informing and educating customers about soils and soil products so that they have the information they need to make informed choices. All data, analysis, trial reports, and case studies remain freely available for download from the company’s website.
Andy’s all-encompassing role at TOPSOIL is being re-structured in advance of his departure. Senior TOPSOIL Manager Natalie Gudgin, who joined British Sugar in 2009 and who has worked closely with Andy in managing the TOPSOIL sales team, will take on the strategic sales role. Overall responsibility for production, testing and analysis will rest with the topsoil production managers, and British Sugar’s marketing department will take on direct responsibility for promoting TOPSOIL and its products to its key markets.
“I would like to thank our customers for their support over the years; I know Natalie and the TOPSOIL team will continue to give them excellent service and advice going forwards. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the trade associations we have worked with from day one. In particular, BALI and the late John O’Conner of John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance who was such a tremendous help to me personally as I found my way around the landscape industry back in the late 1990’s, and Geoff Webb and Jason Booth of the GMA who have been a great support throughout TOPSOIL’s development and growth.”
Commenting on his future plans, Andy said:
“My time with British Sugar, and particularly heading up TOPSOIL, has been incredibly rewarding. Together with the great team at TOPSOIL, I hope I’ve managed to make a positive contribution to the use and acceptance of quality manufactured topsoils, which must be the future if we are to protect the earth’s soils.
“In retirement I’m looking forward to continuing as a volunteer pitch advisor for the RFU and to doing more bicycle touring. In July this year we will be riding from home to Switzerland, following the Rhine for over 700 miles. I want to use this ride to raise funds for research into Motor Neurone Disease to show my support for Doddie Weir, Rob Burrow, Ed Slater and others suffering with this awful and currently incurable disease.”
You can sponsor Andy at JustGiving by clicking here or visiting www.justgiving.com/page/andrew-spetch-1673869582965
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