On Friday, 3 November, the Atlantis chairman, Gordon Blackbeard, officially celebrated his retirement with a close group of colleagues and work associates. The announcement was made shortly after his 67th birthday, in October.
Blackbeard started his working career 49 years ago, as a naval technician in the Navy, and was selected for officer training. During his tenure at sea, he quickly climbed up the ranks, serving as sea-going executive branch officer in both submarine and surface ships. He also qualified as a navy diver and helicopter controller. He was awarded service and theatre medals, the Chief of the Navy’s Commendation Award and Chief of Defence Force’s Military Merit Medal.
In order to adapt to a civilian career, he completed University of Pretoria technology diplomas and was accepted for the UNISA Executive Management Development programme.
In 1981, he left the permanent force to take up a position as project manager for the ESD Naval Division, in Durban, where he was project manager for electronic warfare installations on the strike craft. He later transferred to their manufacturing department, managing the CACTUS Computer upgrade programme, Submarine RWR system and SAAF secondary radar manufacture projects.
He was then promoted and transferred to the Radar Division, where he managed and delivered the Overberg Test Range S Band tracking system for the RSA 1 vehicles and the delivery of the ATC radar to Subang airport Malaysia. His working career further extended to Fuchs Electronics as marketing director, where he achieved export successes to India, UAE and Switzerland. He was also promoted to group marketing director by the Reunert Group. After 17 years of service with his brother Brian, they established Atlantis Corporation in 1998.
With many successful local and export projects to their credit, by 2012, the operational needs required the split of the oil and gas sector and defence divisions due to differing accreditation and compliance requirements.
Blackbeard selected a new management team to further expand the defence division, which has grown exponentially and rebranded as the Atlantis Group earlier this year to accommodate more commercial and industrial product offerings. See www.atlantisgroup.co.za.
Blackbeard is succeeded by CEO Terence Dumont, who brings with him a wealth of defence-related manufacturing and high-level project management experience.