RJR Rising Star_NB Label Industry Global Awards to be credited

GEW’s Robert Rae presented with Rising Star Award

Robert Rae, GEW Director and technology development specialist, has been recognised as the label industry’s ‘Rising Star’ at the Label Industry Global Awards 2019.

Robert Rae, GEW Director and technology development specialist, has been recognised as the label industry’s ‘Rising Star’ at the Label Industry Global Awards 2019.

The glittering awards ceremony took place at September’s Labelexpo in Brussels. The Rising Star Award recognises the achievements of emerging talent in the label and packaging industry, those who represent the next generation of leaders.

Watch Robert’s interview with Chelsea McDougall of Labels and Labeling below:

Read Robert’s interview following his Rising Star Award

Chelsea: “I am back here with the first ever Rising Star Award, awarded at the 40th anniversary of Labelexpo. Congratulations Robert Rae from GEW.”

Robert: “Thanks very much, thanks very much.”

Chelsea: “So tell us, why do you think you won this award, or what do you think got you honoured tonight?”

Robert: “Well I mean if I’m honest, I think you know a lot of it really is owed. You know, GEW is a family company and I’m the second generation of GEW. I joined six years ago to develop our LED product and that’s kind of what I’ve done… spent all my time just developing an LED product which I think now is probably, you know, the market leading product in the narrow web sector, but to be honest a lot of what I’ve done builds on the success of my father Malcolm, who’s spent 40 years in the industry working all day, every day, to develop a product and a company that has really changed the face of UV curing in the industry.

“And, you know, he doesn’t get the award, he doesn’t get the reward for it, but he’s the one that’s really put the investment, he’s the one with the vision behind it and, really, I’m just the person who’s gone and helped do that for him. So I think you know a lot of it’s down to him. And if I could achieve half of what he’s achieved in the industry then, you know, maybe I’ll do this justice in a few years’ time.”

Chelsea: “That’s very nice. So what was your view of the industry when you first started and how has that kind of changed today –
you’ve been in it how long?”

Robert: “About five years. I joined GEW right at the end of 2013, so five
and a half years or something…

“But I’ve been around the industry my whole life, you know. GEW started in 1991, I was three years old, so I’ve kind of grown up with it and it’s grown into this huge industry from something – and very focused on UV – from an industry that initially had its beginnings in water-based inks and there’s been this big transition to UV over the last 25 years that certainly GEW didn’t know would happen when they started 25 years ago.

“But when I look around the industry and I go to these events, there’s a lot of older people and you do feel at times like it’s an industry that’s well-established and it’s difficult to find a place and make an impact, as someone young coming in, and trying to make a name for yourself, so just try and work hard and do the best they can really.”

Chelsea: “That’s an interesting point, this industry notoriously is looking for younger people to join… what do you think they need to do to attract a younger generation?”

Robert: “I mean… it’s a difficult question. We’ve got to attract the younger people but equally the younger people I think have to respect the effort and work that’s gone in for the 30, 40 years for all the established names and people in the industry that have spent their careers doing what they do.

“I think it comes down to sometimes young people in the industry are looking for a quick promotion, a quick satisfaction from their job and at the end of the day it’s not like that, it’s hard graft.

“You come to an event and you have two weeks at Labelexpo where it’s all glitz and glamour and you see all the customers, but the remaining 50 weeks of the year you’re back at home grafting. So you just got to see what the people who’ve been there for 30 years and done it and put the hard work in, you got to go and do the same thing, but you’ve got to do it with the modern spin and try and get your ideas heard and prove why your ideas are valuable to the business that you’re in.

“It’s not… I don’t know, I don’t have a magic formula.”

Chelsea: “Well what advice would you give maybe a younger generation of people, who are just starting off and the future rising stars that we’ll see at Labelexpo?”

Robert: “Just be proactive, you know if you believe… everyone has ideas and the people above you don’t have time… the senior people in companies don’t have time and they’re looking for someone to make their job easier and for someone to come and be proactive and take the weight off their shoulders and say ‘hey I can do this, I can do what you’re doing, I can make decisions… yes, I’ll make mistakes but I’ll take the responsibility for the decisions I make’ and you want someone that tries, makes decisions, makes mistakes, owns up to the decisions and tries to fix the mistakes they’ve made but they’ll make as many successes as mistakes and that’s really what it’s about… you just got to push your ideas but be proactive, people are looking for someone that’s going to make their life easier and make them successful, so just work hard.”

Chelsea: “Well it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, a strong foundation so a well-deserved award and I congratulate you.”

To date, Robert has been responsible for the development and introduction of innovations such as GEW’s multi-point UV monitoring, the LeoLED UV curing systems, and GEW’s air-cooled UV LED system, AeroLED.