News & Views
Meet the MD: Dale Lister
Meet the MD: Dale Lister
From technical apprentice to Managing Director at one of the UK’s Leading Foundry Suppliers
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day usually starts early, before 7am, Asia is a key export market for us and early in the morning is the best time for us to talk. I’ll catch up with our overseas agents on the phone and deal with any correspondence that’s come in overnight from Korea, China and Taiwan. Every day I visit our research and development lab to get an update on our latest product tests. We are committed to continuously improving our products and processes to deliver production efficiencies and environmental sustainability for our customers
I’ll also check in on the production and warehouse teams. I love to see orders being packed ready to be shipped out to our customers around the world!
The rest of the day varies depending on what activity is going on and where my attention is needed. Every afternoon I receive a ‘finger on the pulse’ overview and daily order report.
Then as the UK is drawing to a close it’s my time to talk to our partners in the States who are just waking up.
Tell us about your career, where did you start out?
I actually started my career as a technical apprentice in a Halifax foundry supplier. I stayed there for about 3 years, but after completing my apprenticeship I wanted to learn and develop and gain some experience working in the foundry itself. For the next 8 years I worked in several foundries before joining John Winter in 1987 as General Manager of the Works. As the company grew I became involved in sales and technical support and then took on the role of Managing Director in 2000.
Today I am heavily involved in the export side of the business, which started 15 years ago and now accounts for over 25% of our turnover. I’m thrilled to have recently celebrated 30 years at the company.
Your job must get stressful at times, what do you do to alleviate stress?
I like to exercise when I can; going for an evening walk or playing golf. When I was younger I loved playing sports, especially cricket and football but I was 3 inches too small to go professional!
I’ve always taken a calm considered approach to decision making and before I leave the office for the day I plan out my priorities for the next day which minimises the daily stresses.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
Our five year plan includes significant growth in terms of turnover and profitability. Internally we are growing in size and expanding our team to meet the business demands and skills needed. We ensure that everyone has the opportunity to progress and work on new initiatives and we have a record of long serving employees. We’re incredibly proud that 40% of the workforce have been with us for more than 10 years and 20% of them for 20 years or more. I think that says a lot about what it’s like to work at John Winter. Like me, many have come from an industry background -either a foundry or dental lab and we pride ourselves on having that industry expertise within the John Winter team.
In the future I envisage that we will be welcoming more new expertise to take the business forward.