In April, Sykes Rowing celebrated 40 years of service by Stuart Wilson, our General Manager. This is another significant story in our 55-year history. Stuart is now the longest serving employee of our company, passing Jeff Sykes our Founder who retired after the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and several others who have since retired after more than 30 years of service.
Prior to migrating to Australia Stuart was an accomplished oarsman. He represented Great Britain where he won a World Championship in the GB Men’s Lightweight 4- and placed fourth in the Men’s LW 2x, partnered with his brother Ian. In 1980 Stuart migrated to Australia and formally commenced full-time work with Sykes in 1981 after a stint of casual work with Jeff who offered him the role of General Manager of the expanding business.
Later that year Stuart married his fiancée Leisa Patterson and settled into a new life and career in Geelong.
Craftsmanship and innovation
Working with, and alongside, some extremely skilled and gifted craftsman has been a highlight of Stuart’s 40-year journey at Sykes.
Stuart reminisces, ‘I had always had an interest in the beautiful wooden craft I had used during my rowing career and the chance to work in the sport I loved was too good an opportunity to miss’. Ironically, one Stuart’s enduring legacies will be the fact he was instrumental in the evolution of Sykes from wooden craft to the modern composite hulls that were then gaining prominence in Europe originally led by Carbocraft and Empacher.
Jeff Sykes said of Stuart – ‘the shavings and sawdust may no longer be around our feet, but the quality and craftsmanship lives on forever and this is testament to great people like Stuart and the many talented people who are part of our history and future at Sykes’.
Stuart has been an integral part of the business and a mainstay of the loyal customers using Sykes designed hulls.
Sykes boats have been powered by Australian and International crews winning over 40 medals at Olympic and World Championship competitions. Highlights include four Olympic Gold medals in the Men’s 2-, the Men’s 2x and Women’s 2- as well as various World Championship Gold Medals in the Men’s and Women’s events.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude and acknowledge Stuart for his significant contribution and loyal service to Sykes Rowing.