Precision engineering company Dawson Shanahan is celebrating the career of one of its longest-standing senior leaders, quality manager Shelagh Gill, who is due to retire in February 2022 after nearly half a century in engineering.
Ms Gill, who joined the company in 1973 has witnessed phenomenal changes and advances in technology over her time at the plant, based in Welshpool, Wales. From her early days using handheld mechanical measuring equipment to the latest digitalisation today, the ways of working have transformed over the decades.
Not only has the technology progressed but there’s also been significant changes in the standards over the years: “From BS 5750 in the 80s, ISO 9001 in the 90s to the automotive standards of TS16949 and latterly, IATF 16949 of today, we have a dedicated workforce committed to ensuring that the work we produce is to a very high standard,” she commented.
The latest technology including cobots are all part of the plant today, but the business is still family owned with many members of the local community having worked, or known someone that works, at Dawson Shanahan.
Ms Gill added: “It’s going to be incredibly hard to say goodbye as this has been my entire life. At the beginning, we worked around the clock to get the work done with just 11 of us. Now we’re close to 100 and I’ve loved being part of many of the ground-breaking components we’ve manufactured.
“In particular, the production of the first needleless injection as well as the parts we have made for a range of electric vehicles, it’s humbling to think of the many thousands, if not millions of parts that have passed under my watchful eyes.”
Looking to the future, Ms Gill leaves a thriving apprenticeship scheme that has meant many young people from the local schools and colleges will benefit from a start in engineering. “We currently have a wealth of young talent coming up through the apprenticeship programme and I am very proud of the exceptional work they are turning out.”
Les Reeves, joint managing director at Dawson Shanahan explains: “Shelagh has been such a huge part of the success of Dawson Shanahan over the years and has looked after both staff and customers with utter devotion. Her contribution to the business has been outstanding and we are incredibly proud of all her achievements.”
Joining the team as a new quality manager and HSE officer is Robbie Williams, who has worked in quality assurance for over 15 years and is excited about taking on the role: “I have big shoes to fill that’s for sure and it is an incredibly busy time in the factory, but I’m thrilled to carry on Shelagh’s phenomenal legacy.”