Managing Director of the Year Awards 2022

26 | Managing Director of the Year Awards 2022 Cogsdill UK is a precision tool manufacturing company which provides surface finish tooling to many industries across the globe. A subsidiary of Cogsdill Tool Products in the USA, its areas of expertise cover tooling for motorsport, aerospace and space exploration, oil and gas, automotive, MOD, and the health sector. It was one of the key suppliers in providing the necessary tooling for ventilators in the recent pandemic. Following the excellent awards success of Cogsdill UK’s managing director, Lee Donaldson, we take a closer look at the company and his career. Cogsdill is an American familyowned company, now in its third generation. The company’s founder, pioneering Stuart Cogsdill played a very important role in developing the tooling for the automobile, with Henry Ford and the Dodge brothers in Detroit. Today, Cogsdill’s mission is to be the global leader in the precision tooling industry, exceeding customer expectations through its enviable global experience, industry-defining products, and exceptionally friendly and stellar service. Managing director, Lee Donaldson joined Cogsdill UK back in 1995 as an internal sales engineer, and within 18 months, he had progressed to a role in outside sales. He tells us about starting out at the company: “I had to identify new markets, and work alongside some very demanding customers, especially within the motor racing arena. My targets were always beaten, and in 2005, I was promoted to UK sales manager overseeing four other salesmen. It was the start of the digital era for Cogsdill and I pushed for the web technology that we now have as a standard.” He continues, “I saw the opportunities this had to promote the company more on a global scale, and in 2010, became UK and Middle East sales manager, where I spent about two months a year in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. This was an area of the world not touched by us previously and I appointed several distributors for the company and oversaw the new business.” In April 2012, Lee was promoted to executive director of Cogsdill, the understudy of the managing director at the time. This was a role he held for seven years before finally becoming managing director in March 2019. Coming from a Best Tooling & Machining MD 2022: Lee Donaldson very sales-oriented background, Lee understands the needs of the customer – reliability, assurance, and professionalism – and he leads a dynamic team that ticks all of these boxes. The company may be over 100 years old, but its ideas and innovations are as fresh as the day Stuart Cogsdill first designed his initial tooling. So, how does Lee go about leading his team? He says, “We are a team and everyone needs to be a part of it. Rewarding people for their results and sharing with them what we are doing to make a difference in the world around us. Yes, we make tooling, but these tools are being used to help save lives through cancer screening equipment, helping disabled athletes compete in the Olympic games, helping us travel beyond space, the car you drive, the bike you ride, the animals in the fields, the phone in your pocket – Cogsdill has been involved at some point and this is something that should make every employee proud – as I am.” Lee believes that if you have a happy workforce that is treated well and is informed of the good things the company does, then loyalty will come. At least ten members of staff have been at the company for over 25 years, which is a testament to the company! This loyalty has showed during some of the company’s most trying times. Like many businesses, covid had a dramatic impact on Cogsdill. Business levels declined overnight by up to 40%, planes stopped flying, oil was no longer in high demand, and cars/trains/buses weren’t being used. Fortunately, Cogsdill had the foresight to get involved in the ventilator tooling, which is an achievement for it to be proud of. Finally, Cogsdill has recently launched a new series of ‘diamond’ based tools, a direction that the company has been going down for the last couple of years. It has also developed some pretty exciting small tooling which has opened up another opportunity. Proudly all made in the UK, and the diamonds are ethically sourced – something very close to the company ethos. Company: Cogsdill UK Contact: Lee Donaldson Email: Website: Mar22723