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Remembering Bob Edwards


Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards, a valued member of the CAD/CAM/N.C. Cutting/PDM/PLM community, devoted husband and loving father died on November 10th, 2013.

Born January 30th 1948, Bob (or “Big Bob” to his closest colleagues) was one of the founding fathers of N.C. cutting solutions and software optimisation for the Apparel, Upholstery & Automotive industries. Bob went on to become the owner and president of Optiprod Inc. where he worked for the last 18 years.  He was also a great friend and advisory board member to the WhichPLM team.

I personally had the great pleasure of working alongside Bob on and off for more than 27 years.  He was a highly intelligent individual, always able to think outside the box – a true innovator of new processes and solutions.  He would always carefully consider the challenges we faced and devise smart ways of improving the user experience, streamlining processes or optimising software developments.  He was a great inventor of new processes and championed the introduction of cutting optimisation software in many different industry sectors.

Bob and I were known in the industry as ”little and large”, with Bob towering at 6 foot 8 inches and weighing in at 400+ Lbs at times, and myself at 5 foot 5 inches and around 147 Lbs.  Our party trick was for me to wear Bob’s suit jacket, which was bigger on me than a 5XL overcoat, leaving the cuffs dragging at my feet.  Bob and I had a fantastic time travelling all over the world, and we met some wonderful people along the journey: always broad-minded, Bob took it upon himself to educate himself about different cultures, politics and of course the local beers!

 I remember first meeting Bob back in the early 80’s, when all 6 feet 8 inches of him came into view after I had just damaged his car driving from Dallas Fort Worth with the parking brake on all the way to the office.  This was actually my first ever visit to the U.S.A., driving on what we Brits consider to be the wrong side of the road.  Thankfully for me, Bob took this all in his stride and later we became great long-term friends, and spent many wonderful years working together on presentations of his cutting & CAD/CAM solutions to prospects and customers the world over!

Bob, started his OptiProducts business which began life as an effort to improve Gerber Cutter solutions performance back in 1982 while working for Flexsteel Industries one of the U.S.A. giants in the Upholstery industry.

In 1985 MicroDynamics took on the Products OptiCut and OptiDrive and in 1988 Bob joined MicroDynamics to head up their cutting systems solutions division.  Bob was the leader and inspiration that helped to lead Microdynamics into the Furniture and Automotive industries.  Bob continued as Manager of Cutting Systems during this effort and helped establish other supporting solutions including: MicroMark and PreVue furniture solutions worldwide.  When Microdynamics was taken over by Gerber Technology, Bob left the business to become an independent sales consultant and also added Cutting Edge (suppliers of the first single ply cutting solutions) to his growing cutting solutions portfolio.

Bob’s international trail of friendship stretches around the globe and I know that I speak on behalf of them all, when I say how deeply sorry that we all are to hear the sad news of Bob’s death and we send our deepest condolences on to his wife Barbara and his sons, in the knowledge that the lasting friendships he made along his career will mean a great deal to them.

“Never to be forgotten”

Mark Harrop

Managing Director, WhichPLM

Mark Harrop Mark Harrop is the founder and Managing Director of WhichPLM. During a career that has spanned more than four decades, Mark has worked tirelessly to further the cause of PLM – providing the unbiased, expert advice that has enabled some of the world’s best known retailers, brands and manufacturers achieve efficiency savings across their entire supply chain through informed technology investments.