We were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Rod McBrien on the 27th of January this year. Rod was a very talented designer with whom we worked for the past 20 years on a number of high-level design projects.
Rod began his professional career at DCA Design in Warwick where he became an Associate, designing a host of industrial products. In 1989, along with three other Directors, he formed Creactive Design who, in the 90’s, operated from their studio in New St Leamington (a converted boys’ school, St Peters, built in 1912).
As a supplier to Creactive, this is where Simpact first met Rod. Simpact had just started out in 2000 and after a business proposition, we moved into the ‘Headmaster’s House’ which was separated by a shared kitchen. To this day, we continue this close relationship.
This collaboration brought Simpact (a 100% Automotive crash Consultancy at the time) a fine appreciation for product design and this provided an attractive conduit for our diversification activities. Simpact and Creactive supported each other with high end skills in CAE analysis and CAD design respectively.
The pinnacle of these diversification projects is undoubtably the carbon fibre piano. Here, Rod’s attention to detail and his ability to work closely with our CAE team produced an icon in design – superior in structural performance, dimensionally stable, significantly lighter and with best-in-class acoustics. This created a new benchmark in the piano industry when compared to the traditional cast iron framed baseline.
Simpact always loved working with Rod. When he retired from Creactive he continued to support us on a freelance basis, and he worked with us on a number of special design and development projects mainly involving the protection of valuable items. These ranged from protective helmets through to guards that are used to protect valves in the packaged gas industry.
Rod leaves his wife Jan and son Theo. The celebration of his life was held on the 14th February at the Harbour View Crematorium, Lytchett Minster, Dorset. The service was perfect and would have made Rod very proud. After the service, we joined everyone at the Parkstone Yacht Club where Rod moored his boat and spent much of his retirement.
Rod was a close friend who joined us for many social events. His high standard in design and attention to detail influenced us significantly and continues to live on in our project work.