Philippine Daily Inquirer
Queen’s double awardee has UK, Manila, HK links
DAVID WEIL, CHAIRMAN OF Douglas Equipment, a Cheltenham-based company which this year won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, can barely contain his excitement.
“I’m very proud of the business,” wrote Weil in a recent email to friends, “and having the opportunity to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace in July is a great honor.”
David Weil is a Hong Kongbased entrepreneur whose widely diverse business interests range from manufacturing in China and the UK, warehouse distribution in Europe, retailing in the Philippines and a drag racing team in Holland.
Eight years ago, he acquired Douglas Equipment, a flagging 60-year-old British manufacturer of specialized aviation equipment employing 130 people. The company has not only since turned around, but caps its business success this year by winning two of UK’s most prestigious and highly coveted industry awards, given annually by Her Majesty the Queen, for the highest levels of excellence in three categories: Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development. Douglas Equipment’s awards are in the categories of Innovation and International Trade and recognizes the company’s outstanding achievement in overseas sales and company revenues, which underscore six years of continuous growth in the face of the global economic crisis.
Douglas Equipment products range from high-tech tractors that can tow a 650-ton Airbus A380, to ground-handling equipment for helicopters, and machines that measure the dan- ger of skidding on aircraft runways. A number of their products have received star billing in such James Bond films as “Casino Royale,” and more recently, in the TV and magazine production, “Top Gear.”
Weil’s business interests in the Philippines include agency representation and sales of various international chocolate brands. His crack team works proudly with the Department of Tourism’s retail arm, Duty Free Philippines.
Born in Chicago and raised in Hong Kong, Weil holds only a German passport as a reminder of the struggle and hardship his family went through when his Jewish grandfather escaped Nazi Germany’s persecution duringWorldWar II. He attended British primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, then went on to Kelly College in Tavistock Devon, England for higher education. Weil is a self- confessed Anglophile, passionate about promoting British interests and manufacturing. He is married to his childhood friend, a British national of Filipino parentage and a graphic designer who, at the time of this article, is doing work with the National Gallery in London.
The Weils spend a quarter of their time throughout the year in the UK and are frequent visitors to Manila, but they base themselves primarily in Hong Kong where he continues to look forways to promote British industry, something which he looks at as a particular challenge. The couple travels extensively for business and pleasure and take time out to visit remote locations in Tibet, Bhutan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
They expect to be back in the UK in Julywhere David is due to receive the awards from the Queen on July 19.