City loses long-time business contributor
The first day of 2017 brought significant loss to the Upper Hutt community with the passing of Alan Bowmar, one of the city’s most loyal, successful and respected businessmen.
In the late 1970s Bowmar founded Acma Industries, a pioneering business based in Montgomery Cr. Initially a producer of foam seating and headrests for the local automotive industry, Acma grew into a leading manufacturer specialising in polyurethane foam moulding for the domestic market, Australia, Chine, India, France, the United States and other countries.
Born in Huntly in March 1946, Bowmar left Whanganui Technical College at 16 to work at Feltex and start a several decade connection with Upper Hutt. In five years he moved from a tyro lab technician to factory manager.
He also studied for a New Zealand Science Certificate at Petone’s Central Institute of Technology where he met Margaret, a fellow student who was to be his future wife and lifepartner.
After Bowmar completed his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Economics at Canterbury University, the couple married in 1969 and a year later moved to Upper Hutt. Bowmar returned to Feltex where he was soon general manager. The couple’s children, John and Vanessa, were born in 1971 and 1973 respectively.
In 1978, and thinking manufacturing car arm rests out of polyurethane would be a good business, Bowmar started Acma with partners George Peters and Eric Evans.
Over the years Acma had to both develop and re-invent itself, moving into commercial furniture foam and technical products including rail seating, safety flooring and underlay. It also produced weapons, armour and props for major local films including Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Avatar.
John joined Acma in 1995 and the father and son combination worked as a team to the time of Alan’s passing. Bowmar’s business years fea- tured service with a range of organisations including the Upper Hutt and Wellington Economic Development Boards, Plastics New Zealand [where he President] and the Chamber of Commerce.
Time with a growing family included summer camping holidays and Mt Ruapehu skiing in winter. Alan and Margaret also loved trekking, sharing many adventures including covering a 3000 kilometre Appalachian trail which demanded their living out of a back pack for several months. They also walked across England and took the challenge of many of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
Survived by Margaret, two children and five grandchildren, Alan Edward Bowmar, 70, died at home on January 1.
Upper Hutt busnessman Alan Bowmar