Turning 3 months into 33 years!

man working at his desk

This week a long term and valued colleague leaves the DI team to head to a new pasture and a completely different challenge.  But we couldn’t let Richard depart without taking a look back over his career.

As the summer months drew to close back in 1986 an ambitious 22 year old Richard approached Dudley Industries for a job.  The fact that there wasn’t actually a role available didn’t deter him.  A few conversations later and he’d managed to persuade the management team to give him a trial.

Richard grew up in Lytham St Annes and whilst his HND and first job took him to Huddersfield, the beautiful Fylde coast always drew him back.  So, with the opportunity to return home and pursue his career in engineering the future looked bright.

Richard proved his worth during a 3 month trial which was then extended by a further 3 months with Richard being rather relieved that they agreed to pay him as well! This trial period thankfully led to a permanent position and as they say, ‘the rest is history’.

Joining as Design Engineer and leaving as Engineering & Design Manager the likeness of job titles is about the only similarity between then and now.

Richard started to work for Bob Fielding, Design Manager, who would continue to manage Richard for the next 19 years. Since then Richard has gone on to work for five General Managers and five bosses over the following years.

So much has changed; drawings have literally gained an extra dimension progressing from 2D to 3D.  Robotics and laser cutting once deemed futuristic are now a vital part of the manufacturing process.

Richard will be remembered for his ‘how hard can it be?’ philosophy which has helped overcome many obstacles in the design process.  Although he’ll be the first to admit that approach has often left him in many a predicament when a project turns out to be much more complicated than first thought!

Over the years, challenges in the market and new efficiencies in ways of working have seen the number of people employed within Dudley Industries halve across all departments.  Richard has overseen a complete re-design of the shop floor and the progression of our paint plant to its fourth generation that we operate today.

But not everything has changed.  One of his earliest projects, the 50L waste bin is still in production as well as our 3 roll toilet paper dispenser that Richard designed back in 1987.  We like to consider them design classics now!  But the Auto Washstation was ahead of its time at the point of design in 2006 and remains at the forefront of stylish washroom décor to this day.

As Engineering & Design Manager Richard currently heads up a team of ten that comprises of Design & Manufacturing Engineers and the Maintenance Team.

We asked Richard to reflect on his time with DI.  The years have seen him marry, start a family and now enjoy time with his beautiful grandchild.  From a work perspective technology has enabled leaner production, more efficient production and less scrap.  Richard mentions Sigma Nest software in particular as a tool to achieve efficiencies previously not thought of.

We asked Richard what he’ll miss the most. Without hesitation it was the people that make the DI team.  He’ll miss the banter on the shop floor (you can only imagine!).  He’ll miss the world of engineering and the challenge of fixing things and making projects come to life.

Naturally there have been challenges along the way.  The biggest of which has been the balancing of work life and interests outside in the community.  It is this that now leads Richard to his next challenge.

For many years Richard and his family have been heavily involved with a local church and their activities in the local Lytham and Ansdell area.  So Richard leaves us to become an Assistant Pastor.  He’ll be working with families in the local and wider community reaching them through organised activities such as Soup Kitchens for those in need and holiday clubs.  We have no doubt our community will be richer with Richard working in it full time.

We wave Richard off full of gratitude for what he’s given to our team and company over the years.  We owe much of our success to his skills, knowledge, unwaning enthusiasm and loyalty.  But our loss is our communities gain so we wish him and his family all the very best in their next adventures.