Hamilton businessman David Platts of PDV Consultants was awarded the Chemeca Medal at the Chemical Engineering Awards in Queenstown.
The Chemeca Medal is awarded to a prominent New Zealand or Australian chemical engineer who has made an outstanding contribution, through achievement or service, to the practice of chemical engineering.
Mr Platts received the award at a dinner during the 47th annual Chemeca conference, in front of an audience of industrial chemists, chemical and process engineers and academic professionals.
Recently Mr Platts, 67, announced his retirement from PDV Consulting, the international engineering firm founded 28 years ago with wife Anne Platts.
PDV Consultants is a global expert in food process technologies and systems design with offices in Hamilton, New Zealand and Belfast, Ireland.
Their team of chemical and process engineers have delivered projects for many of the world’s leading food companies including Fonterra, Tatua, the Dairy Goat Cooperative, Danone, Glanbia (Ireland and USA), Dairconcepts (USA), First Milk (UK), South West Cheese and others.
The company was founded in October 1990 and over the past three decades has grown from two people to 25, with 21 staff based at PDV’s Alexandra Street, Hamilton headquarters and four staff based in Ireland. “We started working out of our home office, just the two of us, and it’s grown exponentially over the years,” says Mr Platts.
It’s a Waikato success story, and one that has operated largely under the radar.
Mr Platts, who was born and raised in South Yorkshire, England, began working as a technician in the food research industry after leaving school at the age of 15.
In 1972, at the age of 22, he immigrated to New Zealand. Within a week he had two job offers, and started working at the New Zealand Cooperative Dairy Company (NZCDC), the precursor to Fonterra, setting up a quality control system for their Avalon Drive milk powder canning factory. He also worked on drying evaporation end engineering products for the company’s engineering departments.
He met Anne, a fellow expat from Belfast, Ireland, at a social club in Hamilton a few years later. They married and had three children: Nuala, Gemma and Jonathan.
His expertise in chemical and process engineering for the food processing industry took Mr Platts and his family to the Netherlands in the early 1980s to work for Stork Friesland, now known as Tetra Pak, doing design engineering.
He was transferred back to New Zealand, where he was involved in developing the first nutritional infant formula manufacturing plants in New Zealand at Waitoa for NZCDC (Fonterra). When the New Zealand office closed in 1990, Mr Platts was made redundant.
It was the push he needed to start his engineering consulting business, and Platts Drievap Engineering – as it was then known – was launched in October 1990.
David and Anne Platts,
who are retiring from PDV
Consulting after 28 years