When Ogle General Manager Dave Orman was in his 20s, having already got the travel bug, he had a dream to move to Australia.
His plan was to spend a couple of years training at Ogle before setting off on his big adventure.
But, best laid plans and all that, fast forward almost 40 years and Dave is finally saying farewell to the company that has provided him with a lifetime of memories.
He won’t be jetting off Down Under, but he will be sailing away down the Thames in the new boat he has treated himself to for his retirement.
Dave said: “I did intend to stay for just two years, but here we are! Back then, we had dogs and my wife, Chriss, didn’t want them to have to spend 24 hours in the hold, so we never made it to Australia.”
Starting as a modelmaker, Dave worked his way up to being a project leader and trained to use the CAD/CAM software before becoming Model Shop Manager and eventually the General Manager. Having completed an incredible 39 years with Ogle, he has decided the time is right to finally hand over the keys.
“I’ve just turned 66 and I’d like to go out at the top, so to speak.”
Having supported the training of many of his colleagues who will be left to carry on his good work, Dave knows everything will be in good hands.
“I am ready to let go of the reins. I feel I have built a great relationship with customers over the years who I promised we would always deliver on time and to an extremely high standard. I wouldn’t dare say this if I didn’t have the trust and belief in the ability and skills of the team. Their success is my proudest achievement.
“I think I have taken things as far as I can. Now is a good time to leave.
“I just want my colleagues to enjoy what they do. They are very proud of what they do, and justifiably so. There aren’t many companies where every one of them tries their best to achieve what they do.”
Over the almost four decades Dave has been with Ogle he has been involved in some amazing projects, and when asked to select his favourite, the answer is easy.
“The Harrier jump jet. That was 1994. We created a mock-up that could be used in the classroom for pilot and engineering training for the Royal Navy. I spent a lot of time travelling down to Yeovilton to take photos and measurements of the cockpit because there weren’t any drawings available.
“I’d sit in there and play with all the switches and controls to see how they worked then come back and sketch drawings which I used to manufacture them and then fit them into our mockup. It was an amazing project to be involved in and everything you want to be a modelmaker for, replicating a Harrier jump jet.
Dave is now turning his back on aircraft to enjoy his new hobby with the boat he has bought for sailing along the Thames. He also plans to try rowing, play golf, book a few holidays and spend time with his wife and daughter, Niki.
But will he miss anything from Ogle?
“It’s a bit like a retiring footballer saying they’re not going to miss the game, but they will miss being around people, their team-mates. I’ll miss talking to customers as well. Being around people of different ages keeps you feeling alive.”