Physics Alumnus Denis Taylor (1975)
Denis Taylor graduated in 1975 in Physics at Strathclyde and is Owner and Managing Director of the Hidden Office a business he founded specialising in organisational performance improvement.
In June 2009, after too many years working for BIG enterprises, I achieved a long held ambition of forming my own company. It's called the Hidden Office. No really, that's its name not a tax dodge! It took me longer than I thought to leave the relative security of working for a big organisation mainly because I was fortunate to have a pretty full plate of challenging problems to overcome and goals to meet. That might sound a bit cheesy but isn't that what keeps us physicists going? I'm working on three big projects at the moment (October 09); designing a training program to enhance soft skills in the workplace; assembling a major international trade exhibition and trying to find a way of offering my services to my good old uni - quite a variety!
You'll see below that my career has a lot of variety to it, not least spanning private and public sectors, but a common thread has always been the need to understand situations, getting to the root of the issue and solving problems. I don't know if it was my Physics training that helped me with this or if I chose Physics because that's the way I think. Let’s just say it's both.
For the last seven years I was the Director of Trade and Investment with Scottish development International (SDI) - The Scottish Government's international trade and investment development agency. My team of around 90 staff supported the internationalisation of Scotland’s economy by attracting foreign direct investment and assisting Scottish companies, including those in areas such as Life Sciences, Electronics, Energy, Food & Drink, Business Services, and Tourism, to expand internationally.
Back in 2002, I was Vice President of Global Services for Solectron Europe, a leading multinational electronics contract manufacturer. I initially joined Solectron as Managing Director of their Scottish manufacturing operations.
I also worked for 8 years in the USA, during which time my family endured the American dream, moving around the country with me as I took up jobs as Director of Engineering and Materials at NCR Ithaca, New York; VP of Quality and Engineering for AT&T in Minnesota and Vice President of World Wide Procurement for DELL.
I worked with NCR Dundee from 1980 – 1990 in a variety of roles including quality management, materials management and engineering. A fabulous company but sad to see the recent closure of ATM manufacturing there.
My career has and continues to have many exciting and memorable moments, including designing a low cost X-Ray detector that would only work for 1.5s!; winning projects to attract absolutely world class companies to set up in Scotland such as Dell and Morgan Stanley; saving an electronics manufacturing plant and 200 jobs from closure;
growing another operation by 500 jobs; turning over $500M, managing a $3B supply chain, living and working in the US for 8 years, coming back to Scotland!; working directly with government ministers (exciting?!); and now this great new self employment chapter!
I graduated in Physics from the University of Strathclyde and began my career in X-Ray detector research for EMI Medical. The biggest benefit of studying physics has been that it taught me to experiment and challenge results throughout my career – and what other subject is there that equips you so much to understand how it all ticks?
I live in Dundee and am married with two children. In my free time, I enjoy photography, techy stuff, and keeping fit. Would be happy to help in anyway I can. Email me at email@example.com