We have received the sad news that Jean-Louis Olivier, founder and former chief executive of French tower crane anti-collision system designer and manufacturer SMIE has died. He passed away on Saturday at the age of 69.
Olivier established SMIE in 1975 to build anti-collision warning devices for tower cranes, well before the market had really begun to consider the concept. For many years SMIE was the ‘only show in town’. The initial market was limited to France but began to spread to other markets, particularly where job sites had limited space. This included setting up a business in the UK in 1982 with Tim Rowley called CraneSafe. In 2002 the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary and was later rebranded as SMIE UK.
In 2016 he launched a new business alongside SMIE called AMG (Ascenseur Monte-Grutier - crane driver elevator). In 2017 he handed over the day to day management of SMIE to Fabrice Bonassera and then in 2018 to Jean-Charles Delplace, who took a majority stake in the business. The following year SMIE merged with French connected lifting device, racking and planning products developer Smart Jobsite and in 2020 Olivier focused on his ATM business.
Jean-Louis Olivier was a first class individual. Not only was he a talented pioneer and entrepreneur but also a thoroughly decent, kind, gentle and charming human being. A relatively quiet person he preferred to listen and understand rather than talk first. He had a wonderful quiet sense of humour, enjoyed a funny story and always had time for people, both suppliers and customers. The industry has lost one of its finest.
A statement from SMIE said: “Words may not suffice to express the heartfelt sorrow that we feel for the passing of Jean-Louis Olivier, founder of SMIE. On behalf of the entire team, we would like to express to Jean-Louis’s family our deepest condolences.”
All of us here at Vertikal would totally and fully agree with the feelings expressed in that message.
Rest In Peace Jean-Louis - you will be truly missed.