Dr David Dimeloe
BSc Chemical Engineering, 1968; PhD Chemical Engineering, 1971
Retired Chairman, Mackwell Electronics
I have largely worked in the commercial areas of the process control and lighting industries. I started my career as a Product Manager at a company manufacturing specific ion electrodes, followed by a period as Sales and Marketing Manager of a Philips subsidiary manufacturing temperature control equipment.
After Philips I was appointed as the Sales and Marketing Director of an American company, Rochester Instruments, that manufactured process control equipment in Scotland.
In August 1995 I was appointed as the Managing Director of Mackwell Electronics, a Company that designed and manufactured products for use in emergency lighting. When I took over Mackwell was a tiny company – just 30 employees making products by hand. During my time as MD, the company grew considerably and now employs 150 people, and sells over £1M of product each month, throughout the world. I worked hard to develop the products and business internationally – 70% of Mackwell’s sales now come from outside the UK.
I established Mackwell within the professional body representing the lighting industry, the Lighting Industry Federation, and was President of the LIF from 2003 to 2005.
In addition, in 2008 I arranged for Mackwell to obtain accreditation to the environmental standard ISO 14001, to ensure that operating Mackwell had the minimum effect on the environment. In 2010, Mackwell became a Carbon Zero company, by arranging to plant trees to offset the carbon dioxide necessarily produced by its operation.
In December 2011, a new MD took over and I was appointed Chairman of the Company. I undertook this role until I retired from Mackwell in October 2014. I retired because I wanted to donate one of my kidneys to my brother, which I did in April 2015. We both remain in very good health.
In my retirement I remain very active. I am a keen cyclist and golfer, and work as a mentor for the Prince’s Trust and for the One Million Mentor initiative in Birmingham. I have also recently taken on a part time role on the Board of the Gresley Group.
My PhD from Birmingham really helped my career. Working in the commercial areas of technical businesses it has helped me obtain senior positions and establish my credibility with my technical colleagues. Also the detailed analysis that is required to complete a PhD and the breadth of understanding that you acquire has been useful in developing the businesses with which I have been involved.
Having a PhD is just the start – you must decide what you want to do with it. If you want to work in the commercial world, you must learn to work and relate with other people of all skill levels. Your academic training will give you the ability to analyse and understand a very wide range of complex commercial issues, but you need to find an environment where this will be valued and in which you enjoy working.