A Well Earned Retirement After 17 Years of Service

Nigel Durley, Commissioning Engineer at GDS retired today (1st September) after 17 years of working with GDS. To commemorate his work at GDS, we sat down with Nigel to hear about his career and time at GDS.

Nigel started work at 16 at the Co-Op warehouse on Jersey during his school holidays. He started his first full time role in electronics at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, where he stayed for 5 years. This was where he learnt his trade, thinking on his feet and problem solving. He had many jobs leading up to GDS, before he settled here and spent his last 17 working years. A few of the many projects Nigel’s worked on, included the first pneumatically controlled dynamic simple shear and triaxial systems (which were subsequently surpassed by electromechanical versions namely EMDCSS and ELDYN), the first of the hydraulic load frames, many of VIS machines, the GDSLADS and all the shear machines and a redesign on the DYNTTS range. Of the projects Nigel oversaw, his biggest challenge was helping to standardise specialised apparatus as the demand grew. This included writing build guides for the products, which was made even harder by his dyslexia.

One of Nigel’s highlights working at GDS has been seeing how products developed and changed over the years, from original sketches from designers to making them into sellable products, of which many are still used today! During his time at GDS, Nigel visited many customer sites, with one of his most enjoyable locations being Oslo (Norway), which he visited on three occasions. 

Nigel’s personal claim to fame is that he was in the 1978 edition of the Highway Code! A photo of which can be seen in the slides. Nigel told us that he will miss the physical work of building the products and being part of a team every day. In retirement, Nigel is excited to continue rebuilding his classic 1961 Morris Minor, which he bought at 16 years old for £40 (around £400 today). He has plans to make it bright yellow and a four-wheel drive. His retirement plans also include spending lots of time at his holiday home in the Canaries.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Nigel for all the hard work and time he has given to GDS, we will all miss you greatly.

A few words from the Managing Director of GDS, Karl Snelling:

“17 years ago when Nigel joined, the company was going through a different kind of transition. The product range was not settled because most of what we built were ‘specials’ based on customer request. Much of the equipment seen on the workshop floor was being built for the first time. Nigel was likely the first person to build all of these and would have done so with no wiring plans or build procedure, just the engineering drawings and his intuition and skill. Many of the products he built are still working in the field which is testament to Nigel’s build quality. We are now going through a different kind of transition because now the product range is clear, and we are moving towards a position where we can make these established products more efficiently and more easily. I personally enjoyed working closely with Nigel throughout his time at GDS and wish him all the best in retirement”.