David Abbatiello Retires

14th May 2021

David Abbatiello retires – a message from Ian Calder-Potts

In 1981 a tall, gangly guy with a mop of black hair strolled into my office with a gentle greeting, “Hello, I’m David.” Little did I realise at the time that I was meeting the man who would play a significant role in the life of my family and I over the next 40 years. Yes, you read it right, FORTY YEARS. Asking about his name, he informed me his family came from Naples, the centre of many famous Mafia families. At the interview, if you could call it that, David informed me that he knew how to screw a nut onto a bolt, mend a broken car engine, he knew a little about mechanical design drawing, and plastering. Working with David over the following years, I discovered that there is very little that David cannot turn his hand to. With a shake of hands, David joined Jevit Ltd, as the company was known in those days, as team member number 1. David did not need a contract of employment, all he wanted to know was that he could have a job which was interesting and would keep him busy. Turning his hand to anything and everything, David would design the pump units, order the fabrications and components, work out a safe method to get heavy lumps of steel off a truck in the days before we could afford a forklift truck, assemble and test, deliver the equipment, train the operators, and service the equipment wherever in the world it was.

In the mid 1980s we won a significant order to supply two very large diesel-engine-driven high pressure pump units to Vietsovpetro in Vietnam, our biggest order to date. Up against an impossible delivery schedule thanks to late arrival of the engines, typically David rolled up his sleeves and got stuck in, sometimes working most of the night in order to get the project back on track, which he did. Some months after shipping the pumps the customer called for commissioning. We sent our new service engineer ‘John’ who claimed to have worked all over the world under the most difficult conditions. Communication with Vietnam was extremely difficult but we gathered that ‘John’ was getting the job done despite the horrendous bureaucracy and obstacles until one morning he walked into my office, handing in his resignation. Anxiously I asked, “Is the equipment commissioned?” His reply was not for repeating here! “David, what the hell can we do?” “Don’t worry Ian, I will sort it out.” A few weeks later he walked back into my office with that very special David smile ‘job done’.

David has stuck with the company through thick and thin, sacrificing many things for the sake of the company, especially when times were hard, which must have put enormous strain on his family life and he was always first to help out whatever the problem and never complaining. Thank you David for your friendship over the last 40 years and your enormous contribution to Calder.