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Bill Thorne

Bill Thorne

Operations Director

With over 45 years of recycling business experience, it would be a disservice to refer to Bill Thorne in any other way than an industry expert.  Bill’s job title at TGM is Operations Director, however his responsibilities and remit stretch further than the job title suggests.  Bill is an integral part of TGM.  He has played a big part in the growth of TGM to date, and he continues to help shape the future of the group.

Bill was born and raised in East London.  Two things have remained a constant throughout Bill’s life; one is that he has been a West Ham supporter his whole life, and the other has been his love of cars.

At the age of 15 Bill left school and went straight into an apprenticeship as a wood machinist for a family run shopfitters.  With it being a family firm and Bill being an outsider, moving up in the company was not going to happen, so Bill tried a second apprenticeship as a cooper (barrel maker) for a cask barrel manufacturers.  Unfortunately the demand for cask manufacturing fell as the use of steel drums became more popular.  Still a teenager at this point, Bill found himself needing to find a secure yet promising start to a new career.

A neighbour to Bill’s parents knew of an opening as a driver’s mate at a recycling company specialising in waste paper, called Alexander Jacobs.  He didn’t know at the time, however a 17 year old Bill Thorne took his first job in an industry that he was going to have a big impact on.

With 13 recycling depots across the UK, and clients such as Kelloggs, Alexander Jacobs was a great learning opportunity for Bill.  At 21 Bill moved from driver’s mate to driver.  The ownership of Alexander Jacobs changed hands a number of times over the 70s and 80s, and with it the name changed a number of times also.  However the purpose and business largely remained the same.

In 1991 when the company was known as BPB (British Plaster Board Plc), and into his 25th year of service, Bill was involved in an unfortunate accident while at work.  A ¾ tonne of baled cardboard due for recycling fell off the back of a lorry on to Bill, who sustained many injuries from the incident including; a punctured lung, 5 broken ribs, broken bones in both feet, a cracked head, and a broken leg in 3 places.  Bill was in hospital for over a month, and very nearly lost one of his legs.  Fortunately Bill’s leg healed and he did recover and did return to work full time for BPB.

Over Bill’s many years of dedicated service, he has grafted his way up the ladder through a variety of roles, including transport manager, works manager, branch manager, and operations manager.

With changes in laws and regulations, BPB began to find it extremely difficult to compete in a changing market.  After 30 years with the same firm, Bill took his extensive experience to AW Lawson as Operations Director.  It was here that Bill Thorne met and started working alongside Graeme Coombs.

Today Bill and Graeme still work alongside one another at TGM Environmental, utilising their unrivalled experience to drive a successful and continually growing environmental recycling business.

Bill has a clear and determined vision for the future of TGM Environmental:

“We are already the standard setter for recycling firms in London and the South East, so I want and expect us to become an industry leader for the whole of the UK.  The recycling business is always changing, and we see ourselves as part of that change”.

Bill has been happily married for over 40 years, has 3 children, and 3 grandchildren who he adores.

Bill shares his expertise on the TGM blog – follow us for more insights