One of the pioneers of modern cheque printing has retired after 27 years in the profession.
Phil Long is one of the founders of Runcorn-based Tall Group of companies where he was group production director before standing down at the start of the year.
Group finance director Bill Lamb said: “Phil has been in print for 50 years and is a major figure in the industry, in particular cheque printing.
“He's very hard working, committed and up to date on technology and has been at the forefront of change in sheetfed, continuous, litho, letterpress and laser technology.”
Lamb added: “Phil was at the sharp end of personalised cheque books when they became heavily automated so the books could be printed on laser equipment.”
Tall Group boasts sales of £14m from 73-staff Tall Security in Runcorn, Cheshire, 50-staff Checkprint in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and 25-staff DLRT in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.
The three companies provide secure paper and electronic payment solutions to Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide and Santander as well public-sector clients.
In 1990, Phil was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Tall Security Print. Nine years later the company acquired Checkprint to create the Tall Group.
It acquired the Northern Irish printing specialist DLRT in 2015 and Long spent almost three decades overseeing production departments.
Following Long's retirement, Ed Starkey, who himself has been at the company for 26 years, was appointed operations director for the Runcorn operation.
On his last day at the company, Long was presented with a framed shirt of his favourite football team, Manchester United, signed by former player Norman Whiteside.
Lamb added: “Phil has been the driving force on the production side of our business since day. Over the last 27 years he has shown incredible levels of hard work and dedication, which has significantly contributed to the company's ongoing success.”
Long said he would spend his “newly found freedom” to travel the world and spend more time with his grandchildren.