The recent history here at Lavender International has seen one major and very positive change. After 40 years of being a family business the company is now owned by its employees. In 2015, in order to see the company’s success continue into future decades, it was decided that Lavender International would become an Employee Owned Business. The process was completed in 2016 making Lavender International the only NDT Training Centre wholly owned by all its staff. We are immensely proud of this and it means that Lavender people are literally invested in the success of the business. For our customers, this means a continuation of the quality of service and dedication that has been built up over the last 40 years. We aim to build on the reputation which has been firmly established by the Lavender family, ensuring that their legacy survives and flourishes as we enter a new and exciting era.
Our story begins with Jack Lavender.
Jack’s long and illustrious career in the steel industry and consequently NDT started as soon as he left school in 1939 when he took his first job in the cogging mill at Firth Brown. Here, he became involved in the X-ray examination of castings for aircraft. Later he joined the physics department where he worked on X-ray crystallography and microradiography.
During the 1950s Jack became Foundry Metallurgist at Firth Vickers and in 1957 he moved to British Steel Casting Research Association at East Bank Road, Sheffield. Here Jack was introduced to the work which gave him the greatest personal satisfaction developing ultrasonic techniques for castings.
In 1962 he started to develop training courses for operators testing castings. Developing courses and examinations for the Central Electricity Generating Board and City and Guilds formed the next phase of his work.
During his 20 years with BSCRA Jack made many contributions to the world of non-destructive testing in the form of lectures, papers and articles. He continued with research and he conducted training courses around the world. He was involved with Ron Halmshaw in early fluoroscopy and worked on the High Energy radiography of castings. He also patented a C-scan system. He contributed to committee work for British Standards, the International Institute of Welding and the City and Guilds of London Institute. He was a one-time secretary of SONDE, and on the Editorial Board of NDT International.
In 1967 he lectured in Montreal at EXPO 67; in 1969 and 1975, he was awarded the Diploma of Honour by the Steel Founders Society of America through his lectures in Cleveland, Ohio. He was instrumental in establishing the SNT group under the British Institute of NDT following his organisation of an initial meeting in Sheffield with George Wheeler, a past President of ASNT in the early 1980s. Following on from these meetings, the ASNT North Atlantic Section was born in 1993 and Jack was one of its founder members.
In 1976 his son David encouraged Jack and his wife Joyce to establish the J D Lavender Partnership and together the three brought the Company into the eighties. The needs for high quality NDT training are, Jack always believed, best met by the SNT system of training and qualification. Consequently, he became its champion in the UK. Jack himself became one of the first ASNT Level 3s in 1977 (UT, MT, PT, RT, FA 726), a Member of the Institute of Physics, a Chartered Physicist, a Fellow of the Institute of Metallurgy and a Fellow of the British Institute of Non-destructive Testing. In 1991 he became a Fellow of the American Society of NDT and later in 1997 an Honorary Fellow of the British Institute.
Son Stephen joined the company in 1982 and around this time the PCN system of NDT Operator Certification started to develop in the UK. The Lavender family decided that it was necessary to embrace this new programme of central certification and to reorganise the Company structure, so in 1985 the J.D Lavender Partnership became Lavender International NDT Consultancy Services Limited.
Lavender International gradually grew and evolved in 1995 expanded to include our Level 3 Consultancy Services.
Since then Lavender International has established training centres in Houston, Texas, where we continue to offer the same quality of service that has come to be expected of the Lavender brand.
As we look to the future as an Employee Owned Business we are building on the solid foundations laid down by the Lavender family. The twenty first century will see us do Jack proud.