17 April 2002 – Flashback to a time just like any other?

It doesn’t matter which way you choose to look at it, Wednesday 17 April 2002 was a spring day just like any other. The sun rose at 6:01 am, winds in London stayed at a cool 18mph and average temperatures remained constant at 16C.

In April 2002, Arsenal and Liverpool were battling it out for the Premiership title with a team from Manchester, Dwayne Johnson was hot property in Hollywood, and the news was dominated by the royal family, military conflicts around the world and the upcoming election season. And, of course, you couldn’t get around in London because of industrial action on the rail network due to disputes over pay. Sound familiar?

But there was one thing about Wednesday 17 April 2002 that makes it stand out above other days. A fresh-faced then-32-year-old Asela Rodrigo had just received confirmation from Companies House that his new business had been incorporated. A business in the lighting controls sector. A business that he was confident would redefine lighting efficiency in smart buildings. A business that he had named Prolojik.

And, as today is Wednesday 17 April 2024, it is our birthday! We are 22 years old today!

In this latest edition of the Prolojik blog, let’s jump in the trusty time machine and wind the clock back 22 years to that day in April 2002 and see what the world was like back then. What world events were happening, how was Asela feeling on that day and what were our current staff members doing on that day?

Prolojik’s First Day

The anticipation crackles in the air as the doors swing open at our Lincoln Road office in High Wycombe to reveal the gleaming expanse of the new office space – our first office space. Energised chatter fills the room until Asela breaks the news that challenge number one for day number one is to crack out the toolboxes and start building the furniture! Those new desks won’t build themselves, after all!

In 2018, as the team grew, we would move to our current HQ just down the road in Perspective House, High Wycombe, where the furniture construction would happen again!

Some never-before-seen photos of those early days:

17 April 2002

17 April 2002

17 April 2002

Let’s have a look around the world and see what else is happening…

Major UK Events: Queen Mother’s Funeral

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, passed away on 30 March 2002 at the age of 101. Her funeral took place at Westminster Abbey the week before we were incorporated on Tuesday 9 April 2002. People across the country expressed their deep sadness at her passing and gratitude for her service to the nation, and it would be fair to say that the mood was still sombre across the country.

17 April 2002

Major UK Events: Foot and Mouth Disease

The outbreak of foot and mouth disease continued to affect the UK in April 2002. The highly contagious viral disease affected livestock, leading to widespread culling of animals and significant economic losses for farmers and rural communities. The outbreak began in February 2001 when the disease was detected in pigs at an abattoir in Essex.

Through extensive efforts to contain the outbreak, including mass culling, strict biosecurity measures, and vaccination programs, the UK eventually brought the foot-and-mouth disease under control. The last reported case was in September 2001, and the country was declared foot-and-mouth free in January 2002, but the financial and emotional toll taken by the farming industry was still being felt in April 2002, as conversations raged on about the legality of the actions with regards to the culling of livestock and the financial compensation available to those affected.

17 April 2002

Major UK Events: Rail Disruptions

Rail services in the UK faced disruptions and controversies in April 2002. Strikes went ahead in January, March, April, August, September and November 2002 as members from the RMT called for strike action after British Rail had disbanded in 1997 and handed control of the railway infrastructure to over 100 companies. It was considered that standards had slipped considerably leading to unrest.

Issues such as train delays, overcrowding, and fare increases were prominent, leading to public dissatisfaction and calls for improvements in the country’s rail infrastructure. Because some things never change!

17 April 2002

Major UK Events: Local Elections

Local government elections were held in various parts of the UK on April 2, 2002. These elections included council elections in England and Wales, as well as local government elections in Scotland.

Our base in High Wycombe was not under a unitary council until 2003, so there were no elections in this area. Instead, High Wycombe District Council nominate a leader of the council in a separate poll. Roger Colomb was the incumbent leader when we were formed in April 2002.

World Leaders: UK

The 2001 United Kingdom General Election was won by the Labour Party, led by returning Prime Minister Tony Blair, who won a second consecutive landslide victory, securing a majority of seats in the House of Commons. He defeated the Conservative Party led by William Hague, who stepped down afterwards, meaning the leader of the opposition in April 2002 was Iain Duncan-Smith. Charles Kennedy was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Robin Cook was Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw was Home Secretary, Michael Howard was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and David Blunkett was Secretary of State for Education and Employment. What a time to be alive!

17 April 2002

World Leaders America, Europe and Beyond

The US President at the time of Prolojik’s inception was the Republican George W. Bush. He took over from Bill Clinton in 2001 after narrowly defeating incumbent Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the presidential race of 2000. He would hold the post for a maximum of two terms, before handing over the keys to the White House to Barack Obama in 2009.

The French President on 17 April 2002 was Jacques Chirac, the German Chancellor was Gerhard Schröder and Vladimir Putin was the Russian Leader.

17 April 2002

Popular Culture: Music

The first season of Pop Idol had come to a dramatic conclusion on 9 February 2002 and the competition winner, Will Young, had shot to number one with his cover of Westlife’s song, ‘Evergreen’. However, on 30 March, it was replaced on the top of the charts with Pop Idol’s runner-up, Gareth Gates, who had released his cover of ‘Unchained Melody’ which was number one on our birthday. It would be replaced by Oasis with The Hindu Times.

Despite the popularity of the Pop Idol lads, neither reached the top spot of the album charts. On 17 April 2002, Celine Dion sat atop the album chart with ‘A New Day Has Come’. It replaced ‘Silver Side Up’ from Nickelback and would be usurped by Blue and ‘All Rise’. Good times!

17 April 2002

Popular Culture: Television

During the month of our inception, ‘Spooks’ starring David Oyelowo and Keeley Hawes and ‘Murder in Mind’ with David Morrissey and Neil Pearson had both debuted on BBC One. A very young Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead) had just had his breakout role as Simon in ‘Teachers’, and in international TV, ‘The Osbournes’, which tracked the lives of the mercurial Ozzy Osbourne was going great guns on MTV.

The BBC had announced in April 2002 that the hilarious ‘The Kumars at Number 42’ starring Sanjeev Bhaskar, Richard Pinto and Sharat Sardana, whose debut season concluded in February 2002 was being renewed for a second season.

Prolojik was formed just two and a half weeks after the emotional final ever episode of the iconic Channel 4 show, the Big Breakfast, a retrospective that included contributions from former presenters Chris Evans, Gaby Roslin, Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen, alongside Zig and Zag.

17 April 2002

Popular Culture: Movies

The number one movie in the UK Box Office was ‘The Scorpion King’, directed by Chuck Russell and starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in his breakout role alongside Steven Brand and Kelly Hu. In this action-adventure movie, which is a prequel to the ‘Mummy’ movies, we follow Mathayus (Johnson), a skilled warrior, as he seeks to assassinate the ruthless warlord Memnon (Brand) and stop his tyrannical reign over ancient Egypt.

Other notable movies released in April 2002 include ‘Changing Lanes’ starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, ‘Murder by Numbers’ starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling, ‘Frailty’ with Matthew McConaughey, ‘The Rookie’ starring Dennis Quaid and ‘Panic Room’ starring Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart.

17 April 2002

Sport: Football

In April 2002, Arsenal were on their way to taking the FA Barclays Premier League title under the leadership of Arsene Wenger. They would go on to win the title by a comfortable seven points from Gerard Houlier’s Liverpool side, relegating reigning champions, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, into third place. Ipswich Town, Derby County and Leicester City were relegated to Division One (it wasn’t renamed ‘The EFL Championship’ until 2004/05!)

Thierry Henry was the top scorer this season with 24 goals. He beat Manchester United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy, Chelsea’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Newcastle United’s Alan Shearer into second place as they all scored 23.

On 17 April 2002, as Asela awaited confirmation of Prolojik’s incorporation, he would have been fresh from watching England the previous night, as they beat Paraguay 4-0 in an international friendly at Anfield. Goals from Michael Owen, Danny Murphy, Darius Vassel and a Celso Ayala OG (deflected from a Teddy Sheringham header) saw England cruise to victory. The game was at Anfield as Wembley Stadium was still under construction, after closing in October 2000.

17 April 2002

Sport: Rugby

The Guinness Six Nations tournament concluded on 7 April 2002. France emerged as champions, winning all their games and claiming the Grand Slam in the process. Ten days before Prolojik was incorporated, France demolished the Irish team 44-5 to see out the tournament with 10 points. England finished with 8 points, winning 4 of their 5 games, suffering just one defeat – 20-15 to the French on 2 March. England’s Ben Cohen led the try scorers list with 6 tries.

The Zurich Premiership (now known as the Gallagher Premiership) was won by the Leicester Tigers in 2002. They finished at the top of the league table and went on to win the title after defeating the Newcastle Falcons in the final.

Newcastle Falcons won the Powergen Cup (now known as the Premiership Rugby Cup), and the final was held at Twickenham on April 20, just three days after our formation! The Falcons defeated Harlequins by a score of 30-27.

17 April 2002

Sport: Formula One

The weekend before Prolojik was born, on Sunday 14 April 2002, Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, beating teammate, Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, into second place. It was the first one-two finish for the new F2002, which dominated the season. Schumacher would win 11 of the 17 races. He would only finish off the podium once in the whole season, at Monaco, a race won by McLaren’s David Coulthard.

Schumacher won the race before in Brazil, and the race after in Spain. It’s fair to say that Prolojik’s founding was very much in a time of Ferrari’s dominance in Formula One!

17 April 2002

So… what were current Prolojik team members doing in April 2002?

Electronics Engineer, Yousuff Ansari: “Wow, 2002. What a year. Given that I was only six years old at the time, the only event I remember vividly around the year 2000 was the Millennium Dome – what an experience that was. Not quite 2002 but I had so much fun as a kid that I can’t remember half of the naughty things I did! I mostly took things apart (without knowing of course) which could be why I’ve such an interest in engineering.”

Project Coordinator, Aurelie Garrigues: “In April 2002, I think I was doing my Higher National Diploma in Textile Design at Amersham and Wycombe College in Amersham.”

Managing Director, Mark Lester: “We were busy adjusting to the arrival of our twin daughters who were born on New Year’s Day 2002. They would have been four and a half months old on 17 April 2002, and we would have been exhausted from lack of sleep, but grateful for them being happy and healthy.”

Commissioning Team Leader, James Clynshaw: “In April 2002, I was in Year 4 and living my best life without a care in the world!”

Sales Office Manager, Rob McDonald: “22 years ago I had just finished University and was looking for full-time employment while working part-time at a local pub and off licence. Simpler days of stacking shelves, serving customers, cooking, pulling and drinking pints..”

Marketing Coordinator, Mark Fawkes: “In April 2002, I was 16 and in Year 11 at school so preparing to go on study leave ahead of my GCSEs in May. I probably spent more time playing on my PlayStation than actually revising, but it turned out alright and I got decent results.”

Commissioning Engineer, Danny Priest: “So, on this date, I would have been about 5 years old. It was in 2002 that my parents got married, and I remember being sat on one of the benches, not fully understanding what was going on, but what I did know was that this was a big day for my mum and dad. Additionally, I knew that the “you may now kiss the bride” kiss part was the most romantic and exciting part. I sat relatively bored through the ceremony until I felt a tap on my shoulder. My Dad’s best friend Steve had sat behind me. He didn’t say a word but simply pointed back towards my parents and to my horror, when I had turned my gaze back to my parents, I watched them separate post-kiss. I had missed the only part I wanted to watch. I was very grumpy after that, and to this day, Steve has not yet been forgiven!

HR and Office Manager, Sandi Haigh: “OMG! I can hardly remember what happened 2 years ago, let alone 22 years ago! I was living in Cape Town and on maternity leave having recently had my son, Scott.  We were putting in a fibreglass pool at the time and it was a funny sight to see about fifteen guys carrying this massive pool and even walking around balancing it on their heads!”

Notable Birthdays on 17 April

Jennifer Garner (1972) – American actress known for her roles in television series such as Alias and films like 13 Going on 30 and The Dallas Buyers Club.

Sean Bean (1959) – English actor known for his roles in The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and GoldenEye. Bean has gained a reputation for frequently dying gruesome on-screen in his roles.

Victoria Beckham (1974) – English singer, and fashion designer, who shot to fame in 1994 as ‘Posh Spice’, a member of the Spice Girls. She married footballer, David Beckham in 1999. Today is her 50th birthday!

Thierry Henry (1977) – French former professional footballer who played for clubs such as Arsenal and Barcelona, as well as the French national team.

Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015) – Founding Prime Minister of Singapore, serving from 1959 to 1990.

And, of course, Prolojik (2002) – Many happy returns to those who share a birthday with us!

17 April 2002