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Jim left school at 16 to take up an engineering apprenticeship with Weir Pumps at Cathcart in Glasgow.  After six years having studied part time for City & Guilds Ordinary National and Higher National Certificates, he left work to take up full time study at Strathclyde University for a BSc Degree in Technology and Business Studies.  After graduating with an Honours Degree in 1978 he returned to Weir Pumps where he remained for three years while studying part-time for a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

In 1981 he moved to a senior management position with Diamond Power Speciality Limited, an engineering company supplying equipment to the power industry worldwide.  During this time he studied part-time for a Masters Degree in International Accounting and Finance.

In 1985 Jim was headhunted by Coopers & Lybrand as a senior consultant involved mainly in "corporate care" assignments.   This meant working in various companies who were in financial difficulties and in need of turnaround.  

In 1986 he left Coopers to become a self-employed "company doctor" and, after two successful turnarounds, in 1992 he bought 29.9% of a small Scottish engineering company, Clyde Blowers PLC, which had a full listing on the London Stock Exchange.   Turnover at that time was around £4 million, with a loss making core business subsidised by investment income.   The company was the smallest of eight companies doing what it did in the world market.  Over the following five years Jim acquired six of the remaining competitors, consolidating seven companies into one.  Clyde Blowers now has over 55% of the world market in its original product line, and has expanded into other growth engineering sectors.  

On Tuesday 8th May 2007, over 135 years after the Weir brothers founded their business, Jim announced the acquisition of Weir Pumps (Glasgow) from The Weir Group plc.  As a result of this transaction, the diverse portfolio of technologies, process knowledge and expertise generated by Weir Pumps was incorporated into a newly created company, Clyde Pumps Ltd saving 600 jobs and an important part of Scotland's engineering heritage.

Over the past 10 years Clyde Blowers (www.clydeblowers.co.uk) has developed into a truly global portfolio of 42 Companies in 21 different countries around the world, with an annual turnover in excess of £700m.

Qualifications & Education

Universities: Strathclyde and Glasgow

1974 - 1978            BSc (Hons) Technology and Business Studies

1978-1983                  MBA in Business Administration

1983 - 1985             MAcc in International Finance and Accounting


1968 - 1969             City and Guilds Mechanical Engineering Technicians' Certificate in Mechanical Engineering

1969 - 1973             ONC Engineering

1973 - 1974             HNC Engineering

Honours & Awards

1998            Alumnus of the Year Award' from Strathclyde University

1999           Entrepreneurial Exchange ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award' for 


2001            Ernst & Young ‘Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award'

2001           Queen's Birthday Honors List with an OBE

2002            Induction into The Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame

2003            Honorary Doctor of Business Administration awarded by the Academic Board and the Court of Napier University

2005              HRH The Duke of Edinburgh awarded Jim McColl with The Prince Philip Medal 2005 ‘Certificate of Achievement' for an outstanding contribution to the engineering industry

2006             Winner of The SBAAT International Business Award for Sustained Excellence in International Business Endeavour

2006                The Insider Elite Leader of the Year Award

2006                Entrepreneurial Exchange Philanthropy Award

2007                 World Achiever's Award Lanarkshire

2007                  Standard Life Elite Insider Readers' Award

2007                   Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree awarded by Glasgow Caledonian University

2008                  Elected to the Fellowship of The Royal Society of Edinburgh

2008                   Scottish Engineering Award 2008

2008                 The Lord Provost's Award 2007

2008                  Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University of Glasgow

Public Service & Charitable

1998 - 2000              

National Museums of Scotland.  In 1998 Jim led a fundraising Initiative for the New Museum of Scottish Country Life

1998 - 2002                           

Member of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and Chairman of the Audit Committee

1999 - 2003                           

Member of the Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board advising the Scottish Executive on Regional Selective Assistance

2000 - 2003                           

Chairman of The Scottish Corporate Advisory Board of Save   the Children

2000 - 2007               

Member of the Board of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow

2002 - 2004                           

Member of the Committee set up under the Chairmanship of Sheriff Principal John McInnes to Review Summary Justice in Scotland  

2004 - 2007                           

Chairman of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, the premier organisation for Entrepreneurs in Scotland.

1998 - Present                      

Member of the Singapore Britain Business Council

2002 - Present                      

Chairman of the Glasgow Welfare to Work Forum which has become Glasgow Works, the City Strategy for Glasgow

2003 - Present                       

Cornerstone Funder and Honorary President of Kilbryde Hospice.

2006 - Present                      

The Smith Group - Providing Strategic direction to tackle the NEET issue with a particular focus on stemming the flow into NEET

2007 - Present                      

Appointed as a member of The Council of Economic Advisors to the Scottish Executive

Jim is on the University Of Strathclyde Graduate School Of Business Advisory Board, a member of the Napier University Business School Advisory Board, and a member of Caledonian University Business School Advisory Board.  Jim is also an Honorary Professor of Stirling University and a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University.


Chris Gorman OBE, DUniv FRSA, (http://www.teamadvisors.co.uk/) will chair this evening.  A successful serial entrepreneur, Chris has headed several highly successful ventures in technology and retail businesses.  A founder shareholder in UK mobile phone retailer DX Communications, Chris then went on to create the internet services company, Reality Group.  Current business interests include a number of mobile and internet enterprises including Quintessentially, purplelounge.com, AWOMO,getfitwellness.com, MyMart.com, Lucid PR as well as being an Advisor to Bebo, the social media network.

Highly regarded, Chris has received many business awards for his entrepreneurialism over the years including Ernst & Young Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year, UK E-Business Entrepreneur, Young Business Leader of the Year, Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland in Business, and the laudable SBAAT Businessman of the Year Award. 

In June 2005 Chris was delighted to receive an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to business.

Chris is a regular speaker at business events and has featured in several business related TV shows. Chris lectures in schools and universities and is an honorary professor in business at the University of the West of Scotland, which also bestowed an honorary doctorate in business upon him.  As well as supporting many charities, he is Chairman of The Entrepreneurial Exchange and Governor of the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama.


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Venue information

No 29, Glasgow 29 Royal Exchange Square
G1 3AJ

0141 225 5615


Chris Gorman, OBE, DUniv, FRSA, Team Advisors, www.teamadvisors.co.uk


  • Jim McColl, OBE, Clyde Blowers, www.clydeblowers.co.uk

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Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC 160976.
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