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Professor R M Gibbon


 

David’s experience of working first for the most successful industrial business in the world to developing a very successful world-class business of his own is both extremely wide-ranging and unique.


 

Over a decade ago, when I was leading The National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, the Academy were sponsors of what is now the annual TMMX Manufacturing Excellence Awards. David’s company Power Panels won both the overall ‘Best SME’ award and the ‘People and Skills’ award. As the Academy were the sponsors of the latter, I got to present David with his trophy and so my long friendship with David began.

A few months later, we were both at the London Head Office of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers attending a conference to share insights of winning manufacturing companies. David was there representing Power Panels as one of the exemplar companies. As luck would have it, I asked to facilitate the discussion session where David gave a captivating short presentation and then answered everyone’s questions with great thought and enthusiasm.

As I listened, it seemed to me that David’s success was a result of numerous interdependent core competences that he had encouraged over many years and when I came to feed back to the main forum, I likened Power Panel’s accomplishments to a skilfully crafted tapestry of excellence.

David’s story and energy spurred me on to explore a number of TMMX winning companies and as a result, I researched Power Panel’s success very closely. It was clear that their achievements were a result of a very deliberate commitment to be the very best that they could be.

Before buying Power Panels, David worked for GE and was greatly influenced by the leadership of Jack Welch. As an accomplished salesman, he also understood the root to success was clearly founded on building meaningful relationships and providing unrivalled service and value. David brought these virtues to Power Panels and they clearly resonated with customers as Power Panels grew at an amazing 20% per annum for over 2 decades.

One of the customers that helped shape Power Panels was Mazak. With Mazak’s pull for great service and very high quality, and David’s commitment to be the very best, Power Panels became a leader in the provision of high-quality electrical systems serving many world-leading customers.

Underpinning this performance excellence was a huge commitment to the development of people. David set up an internal academy to help develop critical skills in Lean and Six-Sigma, and just as important, in behaviours and attitude. It was this very commitment and the positive culture that it nurtured that led Power Panels to win the TMMX ‘People and Skills’ award.

It was the high quality, excellent customer service and the phenomenal continuous growth that enabled them to be crowned ‘Best SME’.

David’s experience of working first for the most successful industrial business in the world to developing a very successful world-class business of his own is both extremely wide-ranging and unique.

Throughout his working life, David has been an active and energetic supporter of the manufacturing industry. It runs deep in his blood, so deep that even after retiring, he cannot keep away. Hence, at a time when slippers and a pipe might suffice for most, David is very keen to share his experience, insight and wisdom to help those who wish to follow a similar journey of excellence.

They say if you want to be a winner, learn from one. Well David is certainly a winner and he is very keen to help others learn.

 

Professor R M Gibbon Bsc(Hons) MSc CEng MIET AMIMech MSET

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