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Speaker Biographies
Date: 08/04/2004 Location: Di Maggios Restaurant, Glasgow
Chairman: Mr  Alan McCafferty
Speaker: Mr  Ray Phelan  Mr  Donald  Macleod          

Donald Macleod, Managing Director DM Design (www.dmdesign.com).  Donald set up his kitchen and bedroom company, DM Design, in 1984. Working from a garage, and initially selling, purchasing, manufacturing and installing the products himself, the business quickly became a success. Within a few months DM Design had moved to a 2000sq/ft factory in Cumbernauld, and in 1985, following rapid growth and expansion, the company moved again to 10000 sq/ft premises. The company now operates from a £1 million factory which was custom built in 1992, and there are branches across Scotland. Whilst DM Designís success is ongoing, Donald himself has a number of other business ventures under his belt. In 1995 he opened a property company, primarily leasing flats, Il Ponte, an Italian restaurant in Bridge of Allan opened in 2001 and most recently, in 2003, Donald launched Shlurp Wines Direct Ltd, a company offering to deliver a quality product to customers direct from the vineyards. This latest venture has already had promising results, and after launching in conjunction with the Daily Record wine club on the 6th September 2003, hopefully its success will continue.

Ray Phelan is Managing Director of Axis Scotland (www.axis.gb.com), specialists in the design and fit-out of offices, factories and production environments. With locations in East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Bristol, Axis is a leading company in its field. However in 1989, the company was one division of a group of six companies facing the receivers. This presented a marvellous opportunity to extract the healthy division from the group umbrella and with the support of the LDA and 3i, Ray led a successful MBO team who took control in November 1989. Since the MBO, Ray Phelan has led the company through an exciting period of expansion, with sales increasing from £1.6 million in year 1 to a projected £7.5 million in the current year, with some 40 dedicated employees. Rayís energy, drive and enthusiasm have been vital to the success of Axis, and the achievement of the growth in sales and profits which the company has experienced since the MBO.  He has a strong determination to succeed which rubs off on others and his leadership style is very much revolved around setting an example for others to follow.  Ray has a detailed knowledge of the markets in which Axis operates and of customer needs.  Allied to strong technical and design skills, this has been invaluable in building an operation which is keenly focussed on customer requirements and which is innovative in proposing solutions for these requirements. A recognition of the importance of service has led to the development of a Customer Satisfaction tracking system which drives internal improvements in systems and procedures geared to continually improving service levels.  An Investors In People accredited company, Axis also became the first company of its type to be awarded ISO 9001:2000 in July last year. Axis customers are spread across all sectors, both public and private, and include important blue chip accounts such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, Rolls Royce, Standard Life and Norwich Union. In recognition of his position within his industry, Ray Phelan has twice served as President of the UK industry trade association and represents Scotland on the National Council. 

The evening will be Chaired by Alison Loudon, Chairman, Data Discoveries (www.datadiscoveries.com). After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Grant Thornton, Alison helped found Aldus Europe Limited in 1986. During the 1980ís and 1990ís, Aldus grew to a £67 million turnover across seven European subsidiaries.  In 1995, as a public listed company on NASDAQ, Aldus Corporation Inc. completed a successful merger with Adobe Systems Inc creating the third largest software company in the world. Alison has held over twelve board appointments in various market sectors. Currently she is Chairman of Data Discoveries Ltd, and Visual Thinking Ltd, Non-Executive Director of IntroNet Applications Ltd, Caledonian Contracts Ltd and the Scottish Exhibition Conference Centre Ltd, as well as acting as an advisor to Bright Grey. In addition Alison is on the board of The Entrepreneurial Exchange, has served on a number of community and government review bodies such as Edinburgh Leisure, Science Institute for Enterprise and various Enterprise and Lifelong Learning sub-committees. She is a regular business presenter as well as judge for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. With a public company appointment Alison would be consolidating on her listed company routes, able to deliver the additional value of international multi-functional expertise, coupled with extensive board experience.

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