Developing my career at DLM: A conversation with Chris Scrutton

Chris Scrutton | Technical Director


Chris has been working as Technical Director for DLM since September 2022. He started as a Calibration Technician in 2012 where he first developed an interest in the field of Electronics Engineering.  

Having held a variety of roles within the company, Chris explains how he was continually supported to get to where he is today.  

Chris said, before coming to DLM I worked for Mercedes and Renault as a Service Advisor. It was in this role that I first became interested in engineering, though I felt ready to move away from motors and begin a career that was a little more hands on.  

I remember the role of a Calibration Technician really standing out to me. It was perfect, as I could undergo training and I wasn’t expected to know too much about the products and processes before I joined. 

On my first day, I actually helped a team member called Calvin to install a load monitoring system on a crane in Mucking, Essex – it was something completely new to me! From there I shadowed Calvin and asked questions to the rest of the five-person workshop team, it was a really nice environment to work in. Eleven years on, Calvin and I still work together – just in different roles. 

After staying in my first role for around two and a half years, I started a HNC in Electronics Engineering. This was a two-year course with one day a week out of the workshop to focus on my studies at Solent University. 

Once qualified, I carried out further industry training and programmed PLCs for 3 years. It was in this role that I had the opportunity to travel to various places around the world, working on ships and oil rigs. This was an enjoyable part of my career, meeting lots of people, learning more about our industry and problem solving for customers. 

I was then promoted to Technical Manager, a role I held for 5 years. In that role, I led a team of four which was a real learning curve. I quickly learnt that picking the right people during the recruitment process was really important and that our focus should always be on picking people who fit the company culture, rather than just focusing on technical ability. 

One of my most memorable recruitment moments was when we hired Ryan, who is now our Technical Manager. He’s been with us for three years and time has flown, I’ve enjoyed seeing him take on more responsibility over the years and being there to support him when he needed it.  

One of the best things about working at DLM is the relaxed environment. Everybody works hard because we all enjoy the work we are doing but at the same time we have deadlines to meet and customers to look after, so its a real team effort. Even though I’m not in the workshop anymore that culture hasn’t changed.  


What project stands out most in your memory? 

In 2014 I led what was, at the time, the biggest project the company had ever had. It involved putting some of our most advanced technology onto a new pipe-laying ship. Most of the work was carried out in the UK and when finished, I flew it to Singapore to complete the FAT and commissioning. 

The idea was that the product I had been working on would effectively plug into another supplier’s product and it would function correctly. It turned out it wasn’t quite that simple, so I flew back to the UK, picked up some more equipment and flew straight back out again for another week. I thankfully found the fault in the end and it wasn’t with our product which was good to know! 


What technological advances have you seen since working at DLM?  

One of the biggest technological changes I’ve seen over the past 13 years is advances in battery life. A battery used to be massive and would only last between 3-4 hours, now they’re tiny and can last up to a month! It’s made a huge difference to the development of our products, giving us more technical function and helping us make our products smaller.  

The future of technology is exciting for the industry. I think it’ll mean taking away human intervention for the better, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help to reduce human error. There will always be a need for skilled engineers to work on ships and oil rigs so I don’t believe these changes are a bad thing for the industry. People will just work differently. 


What do you see as the future of DLM? 

To carry on growing, we will need more workshop space, so a move to new premises will happen at some point. With that will come expanding the workshop team, hiring people with different skill sets and experience.