graeme-baker-obeUK: BSRIA has announced the death on Christmas Eve of former chief executive Graeme Baker OBE.

Graeme joined the then Heating and Ventilating Research Association in 1967 to run a newly formed test section. Such was the success of the new section that he was quickly appointed contracts manager and, later, assistant director.

Graeme was appointed the first chief executive of BSRIA in 1990, steering the organisation from one that was council led to a more commercial entity with a board including internally appointed executive directors.

He changed BSRIA from an organisation that primarily focussed on research to one that was influential in government and industry, identifying industry needs for research and promoting their uptake by industry. This work was recognised by the award of an OBE for services to industry in 1998. He was also was also made an honorary fellow of CIBSE.

While Graeme led the organisation, BSRIA’s turnover doubled to nearly £5m: the new Instrument Solutions business was developed and the Market Intelligence Centre went global.  A new laboratory was opened in Crowthorne and a complete new area of business was developed looking at construction process work. The seeds were sown for airtightness testing and building performance evaluation.

He retired in 1998 to be replaced by Andrew Eastwell.

Reflecting on the role Graeme has played in BSRIA’s development, Julia Evans, current chief executive said: “BSRIA’s current success owes much to the work of my predecessors. Graeme transformed the organisation and steered the association from a research grant spender to an organisation that provided contract research and consultancy work to government and industry alike.”