Over 300 former employees of Texas Instruments (TI) returned to Bedford Heights, the company’s former UK headquarters, on Brickhill Drive this weekend for a reunion.
People from all over the UK, and from as far away as the USA, attended the event on Saturday morning (11 May) to catch-up with former colleagues, some who hadn’t seen each other for over 20 years.
They also had tours of the building to see how its new owners, Verve Developments have evolved the building into a 21st century contemporary workspace, while also paying tribute to the building’s heritage.
The building itself was built in 1960 and based on a blueprint of Texas Instruments’ world headquarters in Dallas, USA. It even has a cyclone proof roof.
Former Managing Director of Texas Instruments, Ken Sanders, who spoke at the reunion said: “Working at TI was like being part of a family, we were family and testament to that fact is seeing all these old faces here today.
“What a legacy we left in terms of small business, large business, people running their own businesses; taking what we learnt from TI and what TI taught us about business into those companies.”
Amongst the attendees was Concetta Sepede, know as Connie, who has been working in the same building since 1965, joining TI when she was 15.
“I started with TI working on their production line” said Connie, “I now work for Axis electronics, which is a lovely company.”
“At one time it was like everybody in Bedford worked at TI. I’d go into town and know absolutely everybody” she added.
Speaking about being a part of the time capsule project, Connie said: “I’m excited. It’s something that reflects how long I’ve been here. This building is part of my life, it’s lovely of them to think of me to do this.”
Speaking at the event Tim Pain, Director of Verve Developments Ltd, owners of Bedford Heights, said: “When Verve bought the building we had a desire to engage with the local community.
“It soon became obvious from everyone we spoke to how Texas Instruments touched so many people in Bedford.
“We were proud and touched to be surrounded by so many people who genuinely came to reminisce and share their wonderful stories of their time at Bedford Heights.”
Richard Mann, who worked at TI from 1966 to 1995, added: “I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the reception and the generosity of the hospitality.
“The buildings and grounds were looking absolutely stunning and it was so good to see all the references to the history of TI, a company which for many of us was much more than just a place of employment.”
Texas Instruments closed in Bedford in August 1994.