Mike Jennings and Trevor Pardoe formed Fibresec in 1980 to manufacture and market GRP (glass reinforced plastic) sumps for gasoline tanks. During field visits, they noticed operators lugging heavy metal access covers during inspection and refueling. Upon learning there wasn’t a safer solution in the market, they decided to create one using their composites expertise.
Through teaming up with John Newton of 3D Composites, the duo evolved their concept of composite manhole covers to gain access to sumps and gasoline tanks. After years of experimenting and countless prototypes, the team finalized its first successful model in 1984, which they pitched to Esso (ExxonMobil).
After exhaustive testing by Esso, Fibresec was awarded a lucrative sole supplier status in 1985 for its tank manhole covers. The status holds strong to this day.
To enable in-house production and to build enhanced facilities, Fibrelite Composites was formed in 1988. Business quickly took off with Fibrelite reaching $2.75 million in cover sales the following year.
Following the success of its manhole covers, Fibrelite branched out into the development of composite railway car seats. It quickly won a contract from British Rail and began production in 1991. From that point through 1995, the factory ran nearly 24/7 producing approximately 1,200 rail seats per week!
Fibrelite experienced significant growth over the next two decades, driven by new technologies, accreditations, substantial contracts, and global sales support.
A monumental moment came for the company in 2013 when it was acquired by OPW, a Dover Company. The combination of these highly-respected brands created an unprecedented portfolio of best-in-class products for the petroleum industry.
Since joining OPW and the Dover family, Fibrelite has experienced accelerated growth,introduced streamlined processes, and entered new markets around the globe.
To learn more about OPW's 125th celebration, and how revolutionary brands such as Fibrelite help to build on its legacy, please visit the 125th Anniversary Website.