After nearly 23 years at the helm of ware washing specialist Meiko UK, Bill Downie will retire from the business on the 7 April 2017.
The company first launched its products directly into the UK market back in January 1994, having previously worked on an agency basis with catering equipment supplier Carron Strands, where Downie also held the role of MD.
When Meiko UK launched back in 1994, there were 10 employees; now there are 88, including 42 directly employed service engineers, looking after customers ranging from airline caterers, train operators, hotel groups and high street restaurant chains.
Downie commented: “We have a great team here at Meiko UK, all focused on delivering the highest standard of customer service 7 days a week, and my successor will inherit what I believe to be the best bunch of employees in the industry.”
He started his selling career in the industry back in 1977 with John Kelly & Son (Kitchen Engineers) under the guidance of Bob Macnab, before moving to Dubai late in 1979 as general manager of Al Otaiba Foodservice Equipment.
Returning to the UK in 1986, and after a brief spell as a hotel owner in his native Scotland, Downie was persuaded back into the catering equipment industry in 1998 and the rest as they say is history.
When he retires in April 2017, he and his wife of 42 years, Betty, will move back to their native Scotland to see out life after retirement, having acquired a house in the harbour town of North Berwick, 18 miles east of Edinburgh.
Downie said: “I had thought of working on well past retirement age, but Betty suffers from a degenerative illness that means she requires constant help and attention and I felt that the time was right to move back amongst close family who can support us both in the years to come.
“Other plans include once again picking up the golf clubs, as I will be surrounded by wonderful courses all along the East Lothian golf coast.
“I also hope to be helping out on a voluntary basis with local charitable organisations, as over the past 3 years, supported by many like-minded friends in the industry, charitable works have become part of the Meiko UK DNA.
“We have distributed over 140 re-conditioned front loading Meiko dishwashing machines to various organisations the length and breadth of the country, in addition to delivering three truckloads of donated equipment to an Iranian refugee charity based in Paris.
“What will I miss most in retirement will be the day-to-day buzz that I get from doing my job, the personal friendships that I have made over the past 23 years, the fabulous employees that I work alongside and, knowing that as a business we have always strived to deliver the highest level of sales and service support to our customer base.
“To all those that have supported me personally and the Meiko UK business in general, I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart and trust that you will show my successor the same level of support.”