The Story of David Bellis MBE. Part 5. Industry figure, honorary fellow, but most of all, our David
Our previous four blogs have seen us follow Davis Bellis from a young boy, to an airman, an entrepreneur and finally a retired gentleman. In this, the final blog, we bring you right up to the current day.
With many years of experience in the industry, David recognised a gap in the market for banknote validators and in 1992, upon his retirement from Coin Controls, thirsty for a new challenge, David founded Innovative Technology Ltd.
A small facility in Royton was the operating base for ITL, whose main aim was to produce low cost multi-currency banknote validators. The NV1 was born, known as the ‘Smiley’ due to the note entry looking as though it is smiling.
It was not long until the demand for the NV1 banknote validators outgrew the facility on Park Street in Royton and David and his team decided they needed to expand, building a bespoke facility on Derker Street in Oldham, where we remain to this day.
A remarkable number of employees from the earlier days at Innovative Technology still remain today, including Tim Beswick who remains at the company today as our longest serving member of staff, and our Managing Director Aidan Towey, who was promoted from Finance Director, and is quickly approaching his twentieth year at the company. This loyalty is testament to David as both a person and a chairman, having gained so much respect during his lucrative career. Now David, who spends the summer at his house in Spain, knows that the company is left in good hands while he is away, however he likes to remain involved; often inviting the directors to his holiday home there for updates.
1998 saw David honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), for his significant achievements and outstanding services to businesses in the community. This is one of many occasions in which David has met with a member of the Royal Family, having previously and since won Queen’s Awards. Although a major achievement, David will forever remain down to earth, “I can’t understand what I could have done to deserve this, but it’s very nice to get a pat on the back and it certainly spurs you on”.
In 2003, Oldham College announced a prestigious accolade and opened a new building named after David (The Bellis Building); this building was a tribute to a previous student who “has gone on to become one of the borough’s most successful businessmen”.
Having celebrated twenty years of innovation in 2012, ITL were this year recognised by two nationwide awards; the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade (our third of its kind) and for the first time we were recognised by the Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, being named 13th on their list of Britain’s fastest growing privately owned companies in 2013, a much coveted prize.
ICE 2013 saw David celebrate a big milestone, his 75th birthday. Industry colleagues from over the decades were invited to the stand to celebrate with cake and champagne, along with colleagues from ITL.
Over 22 years, David has grown his initial ideas, from a small village on the outskirts of Manchester, into Innovative Technology; a market leading brand with office locations around the world. As a group, ITL currently has offices in nine worldwide locations and trading partners in many more, ensuring our product range is easily accessible no matter the customer’s geographical location or native language. As an innovative organisation, ITL is ever expanding and over the last twelve months alone has expanded significantly; having completed a new state of the art 36,000ft² office facility at our head office in Oldham and opening offices in Australia, Italy, and America.
David’s passion for innovation has stretched over many years and it is no surprise that he has been so successful over such a long period. Despite his age, the drive still remains, without an obligation to come to work he chooses to do so even on the bleakest of days and is still the hub of many ideas that are turned into products.
David is highly regarded and is a great ambassador here at ITL and amongst the technology world. He is also regarded as an inspirational role model and earlier this year University Campus Oldham praised David and awarded him an honorary fellowship for his ‘Services to Vocational Education’.
Alun Francis, Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College said: “The Oldham College Honorary Fellowship is being presented to someone who, in many respects, epitomises the opportunities which this town has, and with it the College, in adapting to the challenges of a new economy and the skills which it demands. For us, in this College, this is what makes David’s story remarkable”
As for us at ITL, it is simple, David is an exceedingly talented man and it is a delight to listen to his many stories of the past and work under his incredible jurisdiction. For David, it is even simpler, “Wherever I go in the world, I see my products. I can turn on Coronation Street and see my products. Whether I’m in Disneyland or a little bar in the wilds of Spain, I can see something I designed. It gives me a little kick every time’.
If you have missed any of the blogs in this series, you can find them all at http://itlblog.wordpress.com/category/david-bellis/