Meet Our Team

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Who is Behind Protoblast?


John Gillies

John Gillies was the Chief Design Engineer at the well-known Industrial Metal Protectives (IMP) company in Sydney, working on the Engineered Abrasive Blasting Equipment side of the business. In 1975 John purchased the Blastmaster division of IMP and there the Protoblast Company story begins.

In 1978 John bought a parcel of industrial land in the town of Picton, which he had made home, and built a factory that is still there today (albeit with a few expansions). The success of the Protoblast Company and its products and systems can be attributed to the ingenuity and dedication that John had toward the Abrasive Blasting Industry. Some systems designed and built in those early days are still in operation today and Protoblast Company regularly services them. John passed away in 2019 but leaves the business in good hands with the following generations indebted to continue this great legacy.

Colin Noble

Colin is the second generation and he has been in the business for 36 years and he has a great passion for the industry. Colin has seen many changes and has a great knowledge of Protoblast products and systems from three decades of detailed involvement in the development and improvement of them. Colin’s role in the business has reduced but he still enjoys overseeing the day-to-day running of the company. Colin now enjoys being able to spend more time with his grandchildren and being able to help out in the community.

Ben Noble

Ben is the third generation and has been in the business for 18 years. Ben started off doing a metal fabrication trade and worked on the shop floor whilst completing an Advanced Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ben’s role within the business is Sales Manager and his knowledge of the product was gained from starting out as an apprentice fabricating the product, thus providing great assurance for the customer. Ben has a love for the surface preparation industry and likes to keep ahead of developments in products and systems, keeping Protoblast at the forefront of the industry and as the go-to company for our customers.

Martin Noble

Martin is also the third generation and started his trade whilst completing his final year of school. Martin has been working in the business for 12 years and his role is in Procurement and Project Management. Martin is passionate about being efficient and streamlining the business, he recently contracted Toyota Production Systems to work with us to assist in implementing some of the world’s best practices in Lean Systems. Martin believes that to remain at the front of the pack, Protoblast must continue to improve quality and efficiency constantly.

“As we said, we’re a third-generation family business!”

Luke Cullum

Luke is our longest-serving employee and his fabrication skills are the envy of many an apprentice. He started with Protoblast fresh out of school as an apprentice in 1994 so it is no surprise he can fabricate most of the Protoblast products with his eyes closed. During this time he has visited most corners of the country installing and maintaining the Protoblast systems.

Allen Pearson

Allen has been with the Protoblast team since 2001 he is the Factory Manager and he looks after all of our customer’s maintenance programs. Allen is very skillful mechanically and an invaluable team member. Allen has a great relationship with our customers and it is amazing how he can remember all of our customers’ names and their systems effortlessly. Allen travels a lot with the work he does and has gained a passion for the Protoblast system.

Rakai Thompson

Rakai was born in New Zealand and has traveled the world. He started out as a chef and then realized his ability for drafting. Rakai is the Draftsman at Protoblast using SolidWorks. He is currently working on getting DriveWorks operating to streamline the drafting and procurement processes for standard products. Rakai gets involved in the sales process right at the start with his 3D drawings, which are used to show the customer what their proposed system will look like.


Key information about our business profile and operations

Our History

  • Founded in 1975 by John Gillies
  • 40+ years of technology development & refinement
  • Continuous innovative in chamber productivity
  • Today we are the leading manufacturer

Our Promise

  • To provide a superior total abrasive blasting solution
  • To manage and control every step of the process in-house
  • To provide an abrasive blasting plant that delivers a

Our Clients

We have completed successful projects for many large organisations where we design and manufacture custom engineered Abrasive Blasting Plant & Equipment. We provide a total end-to-end abrasive blasting solution that is customised to meet client specifications.

Our Team

Protoblast was founded in 1975 by John Gillies who developed the Airstream Abrasive Classifier and the Oscillating Conveyor Abrasive Recovery Systems. We are a third generation family business of engineers with over a 100 years of combined industry experience.

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