It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of one of the construction industries greatest characters, and a founding Director of Youngman Richardson & Co Ltd, Bob Youngman. He was 90.

Born in Tauranga Bob served his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic in Ohakune immediately after leaving school. In 1953 he bought the motor repair business and turned it into a Todd Motors dealership selling David Brown Tractors, Commer Trucks and Hillman and Desoto cars.

In 1958 Bob moved to Palmerston North and bought a Europa service station which he subsequently sold back to the company and in the process took up a position with them as a Senior Sales Executive.

During his time in the Manawatu Bob served a term as President of the Palmerston North Junior Chamber of Commerce and was also a the National Director of Membership and Extension. In 1964 he became a JC Senator and later an Associate Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management. Bob also served as a Justice of the Peace.

Following the acquisition of Europa by BP in 1972 he accepted the position of Sales & Marketing Director with Richardson McCabe which also lead to a seat on the board. The move also culminated in the start of a lifelong friendship and business relationship with Tim Richardson.

Richardson McCabe was subject to several takeover bids before finally being sold to Tappenden Motors and then Ceramco. This provided an opportunity for a new venture which resulted in Bob and Tim pooling their resources and taking the bold step of founding Youngman Richardson & Co Ltd in 1981 with a staff of 3. The company’s initial master distributor appointments of note were Robin engines and Denyo generators. Today the company has a total staff of 75 and represents 23 international brands.

Forty years ago he was also involved with others in the setting up of the Hire Industry Association of New Zealand (HIANZ). At the inaugural meeting Bob came the rescue of the chairman, who seeing him out of his depth offered to take over. In doing so Bob set in motion the start of one of the country’s largest business associations.

Bob will be missed but we are grateful for the lasting legacy he has left behind.

We interviewed Bob at the 2016 Rotorua HIANZ Conference to reflect on his journey and the evolution of HIANZ and the Industry over several decades.