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Speaker Biographies
Date: 05/02/2004 Location: Devonshire Hotel, Glasgow
Chairman: Mr  Jim McColl
Speaker: Mr  Bill Gammell  Mr  Sam  Russell          

Sam Russell MBE is the Chairman of the Simclar Group (www.simclar.com)which comprises Simclar International, Techdyne, Inc, Fullarton Computer Industries and AG Technologies. He started his career in toolmaking, progressing to a mechanical engineering draughtsman, production engineer, and into production management. Sam founded Simclar in 1976. The company now employs some 500 people at its Dunfermline facility. Simclar is a leading co-manufacturing partner providing high level solutions to the global OEM market, with competencies including high level system assembly, cable assembly, PCB assembly, sheetmetal fabrication, plastic injection moulding and fulfillment manufacturing. Simclar has a range of customers in sectors, including, telecomms, medical, security, automotive, defence and mass transit. In 2001, Simclar acquired 72% of Techdyne, a Nasdaq listed company with operations in four US plants. Techdyne employs 225 people and is a contract manufacturer of electronic and electro-mechanical products for customers in the data processing, telecomms, instrumentation and food equipment industries. In 2002, Simclar acquired Fullarton Computer Industries which employs 1,800 people at facilities in Scotland, the US, and China. Like Simclar, Fullarton is a leading co-manufacturing partner to the global OEM market providing high level solutions to customers in the telecomms, computer and office equipment sectors. Simclar continued its programme of global acquisitions with the recent purchase of AG Technologies, a contract manufacturer based in Matamoras, Mexico which has 220 employees. AG supplies printed circuit boards and cable and harness assemblies to customers in the automotive, access systems and medical device sectors. It is planned to add sheet metal fabrication and plastic moulding capabilities to AG’s existing competencies. Simclar Group’s overall objective is to grow the business to sales in excess of £400m in the next three years. Sam also owns Pioneer Security Systems, which provides void property security services for houses owned by local authorities and housing associations throughout the UK. Pioneer has grown considerably in recent years, and, with in excess of 10,000 properties in its portfolio, is the second largest company in its sector in Europe, employing 130 people.  He was The Entrepreneurial Exchange’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2001, the Ernst & Young Scottish “Master Class Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2002 and was also the winner of the SBAAT annual award that year.  

Bill Gammell has a BA in Economics and Accountancy.   He founded his own company, Cairn Energy Management Ltd (www.cairn-energy.plc.uk) in 1980.   Cairn Energy Management Ltd was acquired by Caledonian Offshore Ltd in 1988 and renamed Cairn Energy PLC.   Cairn received a London Stock Exchange Listing in 1989 and Bill became Chief Executive. Cairn Energy PLC is an independent international oil and gas exploration and production company whose interests are in the UK, Holland, India and Bangladesh.   In the year to 31 December 2001, Cairn reported operating profits after tax of £33.6 million and currently has a market capitalisation of around £450 million. He is a Director of the Scottish Institute of Sport, a founder member of the Entrepreneurial Exchange and a director of Artemis AiM VCT Inc.

Jim McColl OBE, Chairman & Chief Executive, Clyde Blowers Ltd (www.clydeblowers.co.uk)  started his career as an engineering apprentice with Weir Pumps in Glasgow.   After six years in engineering and six years of part-time study he left work to take up full-time study for a BSc degree in Technology and Business Studies on a four year course at Strathclyde University.   After achieving a BSc degree with Honours 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, where he had responsibility for a manufacturing plant employing approximately 300 people, and worked in countries throughout the world including Sweden, Germany, Spain, Portugal, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia.   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, 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.   Clyde Blowers now has over 55% of the world market in its original product line, and has expanded into other growth engineering sectors.   It now has manufacturing facilities in the UK, Germany, Spain, Estonia, China, India, South Africa and the USA plus sales and service offices in Belgium, France, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Singapore and Brazil.  Turnover is now in excess of  £100 million with profits in excess of £10 million. Over the past seven years Clyde Blowers has grown at an annual rate in excess of 35%.   Jim McColl has built a truly global engineering group and is focussed on continuing this growth. Jim is a member of The Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board, advising the First Minister on regional selective assistance and a Board Member of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.   He is also Chairman of the Scottish Corporate Advisory Board for ‘Save the Children’ and Joint Vice Chairman of The Entrepreneurial Exchange. Jim received the ‘Alumnus of the Year Award’ from Strathclyde University in 1998, the Entrepreneurial Exchange ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ for 1999 / 2000 and the Ernst & Young ‘Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ for 2001.   In 2001 Jim was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an OBE.


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