After a 40 year career in milling, Carr’s Tim Hall is one of the industry’s elder statesmen. But is it too late for a call-up to the England rugby team?
If Tim Hall’s milling career is anything like his rugby career, he won’t be retiring anytime soon.
At 64, and with more than 40 years’ experience, Tim is one of the industry’s elder statesmen, combining his role as group project manager at Carr’s Flour Mills in Maldon with ongoing mentorship of students involved in the UK Flour Millers’ distance learning programmes.
It’s a busy schedule – but even the busiest executive needs an outlet, and Tim always makes time to keep up with his favourite sport.
“I’ve always been a rugby man, and it was a sad day when I finally had to hang up my boots as a player at the grand old age of 45,” he says. “But I had great fun and I’ve got some fantastic memories, so I can’t complain.
“These days I take every opportunity I can to go to Murrayfield and watch Scotland play – I much prefer the atmosphere there to Twickenham. And you never know, one of these days the England coach Eddie Jones might find himself short of an experienced player...”
Originally from Hull, Tim’s milling career began in earnest in 1979 when he joined Spillers as a trainee manager, having first studied for an HND at Grimsby Tech. However, the sandwich course gave him his first taste of the industry, with a year spent on placement at mills in Tilbury, West Drayton and Newcastle.
And prior to joining Spillers he gained added experience by travelling to Israel to work at a mill in a kibbutz for three months
“It was a pretty small operation, mainly supplying flour to the Israeli army,” he recalls. “And my job mainly involved cleaning and packing for six days a week. But I loved every minute of it.”
Back home in the UK, Tim’s early career saw him posted to a number of different mills around the country – and he recalls that production techniques in those days were hugely different to today’s hi-tech operations.
“Some of the places I worked in were still using centrifugal shifters, it was like something out of Charles Dickens compared to what we have today.”
In 2003 Tim became operations director with Carr’s in Kirkcaldy, and says two of the proudest achievements of his career are overseeing the opening up of the harbour in 2011 and the construction of a new mill at the site two years later.
He left Kirkcaldy in 2019 in order take up his group role and has been a module 7 examiner on the distance learning course for over twenty years.
“The industry relies on attracting a new generation of young people, and it’s essential to get the message out there that milling has moved on from the hackneyed image of windmills. There are opportunities for people to thrive at all disciplines, and while we may have been guilty of not bringing enough through in the past that is changing rapidly.
“A lot has changed since I first joined, but I can honestly say we are in a really good place now.”