50 Years at the Eagle

3/29/2024 9:10:00 AM
Roger Lane, a stalwart figure at Dennis Eagle, is bidding farewell to his esteemed career as the technical manager of Body Engineering. Having commenced his journey with Eagle Engineering through a four-year apprenticeship in 1975, Roger's legacy spans decades of commitment and expertise in our industry. As Roger explains, it was quite a different business back then.

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“When I started, we did everything ourselves in-house,” says Roger. “We had our own carpentry shop for body frames and a blacksmith for forging. At that time, we were building a range of specialist vehicles. There were fire engines of course, anti-riot trucks and even BBC telecommunication vehicles. Everything was designed on drawing boards, not computers!”


Through the merger of Dennis and Eagle, Roger seamlessly transitioned his design skills, becoming an integral part of Dennis Eagle's evolution and worldwide growth. “I spent quite a lot of time in Hong Kong and China in the 1980s as we deployed Phoenix 1 bodies, Alpha bin lifts and road sweepers there. It was exciting to visit countries long before they became as accessible as they are today,” adds Roger.


With a primary focus on the development of our vehicle bodies and bin lifts, Roger leaves an indelible mark on the company's product range that will continue long into the future. Leading a team of seven design engineers, Roger's stewardship has been instrumental in driving innovation with some iconic products from our history. “Some of the key projects I worked on are the Phoenix bodies, the Alpha bin lift - the predecessor of today’s Beta Bin lift, which incidentally shares a fair few common parts. Most recently I’ve been looking at efficiency improvements for the body systems as we move towards greater electrification. Now, efficiency is one of the key factors for our engineers alongside safety and reliability. That’s one of the biggest changes I’ve seen.”


Roger says one thing that has been constant is the positive culture and people of Dennis Eagle, which means he never really wanted to go anywhere else. “Dennis Eagle has a knack for attracting a certain kind of person that is full of team spirit and empathy. It’s always felt like a family business, where every door is open, you can speak to anyone in the organisation and we’ll all pull together. Our parent company Terberg is also a family business and has ensured that culture thrives,” adds Roger.


Roger’s expertise has also played a pivotal role in the way our recycling and waste is managed around the world, which has continually evolved under his guidance. Through CHEM, Roger was the BSI representative working with colleagues in Europe to develop a series of standards, many of which are still relevant today.


Beyond his managerial role, Roger has also been pivotal in nurturing talent within the company. His mentorship and support have been invaluable to numerous apprentices entering the engineering department, leaving a lasting impact on the future generation of our engineers.

Roger Lane's retirement marks the end of an era at Dennis Eagle, but his contributions will continue to resonate within the company and the industry for years to come and is planning to keep an eye out for what’s next. “I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing products, whether ours or competitors, out working. You are always fascinated to see how they are being used, spotting any innovations. That will never change.”


So how is Roger going to spend his time in the future? “I’ve got lots of plans! I’m active in the local church and want to do more volunteering with other groups around Southam,” says Roger. “I’m also active with the Lions charity and I’m keen to do some travelling. There will be plenty of days out walking with my wife. Having the opportunity to decide, in the morning, to go off for the day will be quite different and something I’m looking forward to. And I’m sure my head will be turned by any of our trucks that I see on the way!”


On behalf of everyone, thank you Roger for your incredible contribution to the history and future of Dennis Eagle. Enjoy your well-earned retirement!