Argosy founder Mike Purnell has sadly passed away after a short illness, while on holiday with his wife, Pauline.

Purnell was born and raised in Brighton in 1945 and grew up in France. He started working in the electronics industry with ITT Cannon in the 60s.

He set up home in Buckinghamshire and from there established Argosy, alongside his business partner Doug Julley. Shortly after, the pair were joined by Ken Eckardt.

Founded in 1984, Argosy manufactures and distributes infrastructure products for the broadcast and AV sectors, specialising in cable and connector systems, equipment racks, fibre optics assemblies, mains distribution and network switches.

As their customer base grew, they moved to bigger premises in Stokenchurch and then Long Crendon with branch offices in Salford and Dubai.

Argosy tribute to Mike Purnell

Chris Smeeton, director, Argosy, provided this tribute to Mike Purnell, on behalf of Argosy:

Mike was a visionary founder of Argosy. He led the company to global success together with his business partner and friend, Ken, from 1984 to when he retired in 2015. His tireless work ethic, magnificent business acumen, brilliant mentorship, and his ability to connect with people across all cultures and walks of life, is a testament his exceptional personality.

Mike always said to me that we were not a company that simply sold cables and components, we were ‘part of the Broadcast Industry’. For years we always described our job as just that! We may be a small part, but we’re an essential part of the supply chain that the broadcast industry ecosystem couldn’t do without.

From the beginning, Mike (and co-owner, Ken) made us feel a part of something, and something special. He was always happy to share his experiences and equally listen to and learn from others.

Mike was loved and respected by many - he was known as a true gentleman across the industry - in both business and in life. If you ever had the privilege of his company, you’ll know that his wonderful charm, sense of humour and warm smile, will be sorely missed. Mike was the very best at working a room, socialising and having a great time while imparting life lessons; he knew how to tell stories and captivate people’s attention – and their hearts.

Mike became an IABM board member in 2000. He felt the IABM was a unique place to share ideas and gain a deeper understanding of developing trends; not necessarily to give Argosy a direct advantage, but as much to understand what was impacting our customers and help us to assist them. He also felt it was important for smaller companies to be represented within the make-up of the IABM, finding key allegiances within the membership, close confidents who were also on a similar growth path. Facing similar challenges and they could bounce thoughts and ideas off each other.

Servicing the customer was the most important thing. Mike was genuinely proud that people of the industry were turning to us to support them in what are some of the most complex of infrastructure designs and builds.

Mike was the most patriotic of characters, fiercely proud of our country and its history, but was also an internationalist at his core. He loved working, travelling to far off lands and mixing with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Mike helped Argosy to branch out internationally, by opening an office in Dubai, partnering with companies across India, Europe and Asia, and opening a satellite office in Salford to support the move of technical service to MediaCityUK.

Our deepest sympathy and condolences of course, go to Mike’s beloved wife, Pauline, and their children and grandchildren.

We’re forever thankful. RIP Mike.