Tributes have been paid following the recent death of the founder of a company which has built an international reputation for delivering improvements in the fields of justice and health and social care.
Dr Andrew Gibson, who founded Hessle-based Agencia more than two decades ago, was described by Keith Hunter, the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, as “a gentleman and a gentle man. Incisive, intelligent, consistent and wise, he built a company that added value to organisations working in the vital health and justice arenas.”
Kath Lavery, Chair of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who worked with Andrew on a number of projects in various NHS roles over the last eight years, remembers him as an essential and calm influence when he was appointed as a consultant to assist in setting up the Hull City Health Care Partnership (CHCP).
Those attending the service of thanksgiving at Bodmin Road Church, Bransholme, heard from his daughter Helen that he was born in Epsom, and grew up in Surbiton, Surrey. He studied psychology and philosophy at the University of Hull.
Andrew began his studies in 1970 and went on to gain a PhD. In his second year he met his future wife, Elaine, and they were married in 1974. His first job was as a clinical psychologist in a new department at Broadgate Hospital, Beverley. By his late 20s he was head of department, and he also carried out private counselling and pastoral work before moving into consultancy roles at Humberside University and then as a director and company secretary of Social and Market Strategic Research, a market research company.
Andrew formed Agencia in 1997, helping with the development of strategic vision, team building, business planning, conflict resolution and coaching for a client list which included the Ministry of Justice, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Health and numerous Probation Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups and other government bodies.
Ms Lavery recalled:
The launch of the CHCP was when I first actually worked with Andrew. He was the lead consultant and helped us through the very difficult process of transferring 2,500 staff from the Primary Care Trust into a Community Interest Company. There were a lot of tempers to the fore and things sometimes became very heated, but Andrew was never flummoxed.
He was always there, calm, collected, and smiling, pouring oil on the troubled waters, bringing in the right information which was always detailed and well presented. He was a comforting figure when we really needed one, completely and utterly unflappable and always a delight to work with.
Mr Hunter remembered Andrew’s strong ethical approach in contributing to a development strategy for the Bosnian High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council staff in the mountains of Bosnia.
I watched with no small degree of awe as Andrew transfixed one of the toughest audiences you could imagine with his quiet, precise and intuitive delivery of psychological insights that challenged those inscrutable Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks to rethink their resistance to change.
Andrew was a committed Christian and took his leadership skills and ability to build effective teams into his church life where his contributions will, I’m sure, be sorely missed. Andrew has left a legacy not just in the structure of his company but in the minds and approaches of those fortunate enough to have worked with him or shared his interests.
Helen Gibson, the eldest of two daughters and two sons, joined Agencia in 2009 and became Managing Director in 2012. Her sister, Joy Allen, became Head of HR and Corporate Services early in 2017 and, with their father as Chairman, Agencia celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, as well as being voted Best Small Business in the UK at the National Family Business Awards. Andrew also had three grandchildren.
Andrew was remarkable and inspiring in his fully lived life and everybody loved him. Having touched and moved so many people in profound ways, he leaves a legacy of far reaching impact.
He devoted his life to improving quality of life for other people through his work in the NHS and through Agencia. including setting up Agencia’s Active Recovery Service which is treating over 200 registered drug users, using the business as a force for good and not just making a profit.
He had a gift for cultivating the conditions and environment in which people could thrive, leaving us all feeling loved, valued and appreciated. Andrew has sown some interesting seeds in his family, church and work life, and was excited about what the harvest would produce – that’s the challenge he leaves each and every one of us.