Chef to Cell Leader
David Hogan is one of our cell leaders here at AE Aerospace but that wasn’t always his job title!
David trained as a chef at Solihull college in 1986 and entered his first pastry competition aged 17. This is where David discovered his artistic flair and knew he wanted to specialise in pastry. This led to a host of new opportunities, where David stepped into the world of contract catering and went on to win numerous competitions!
As the financial sector was hit after 9/11, his kitchen was shut down. David explained, ‘I was 42 and out of work for the first time in my life! I then worked in a sandwich shop for 2 years, the people were great... but it was a big step back.’ David’s brother Gary (a fellow employee at AE Aerospace) mentioned he thought David would thrive in a manufacturing environment where attention to detail was key. For David, this was the ‘chance to prove myself, I just had to put the work in’. The Directors were hesitant to hire David as he did not have experience or qualifications in the field, but they decided to take a chance on him and quite clearly, it paid off!
It’s been a journey for sure. Over the last 7 years, David has refined his skills, and the commitment he has to his work has not gone unnoticed. This role doesn’t allow him to grow complacent, giving him the freedom to think outside of the box and still be creative in forming solutions. David never imagined he would be a Cell Leader in the Aerospace Industry.
David believes that the most important skill needed is a progressive and positive attitude. When the opportunity to work in manufacturing arose, David grabbed it with both hands. Admittedly, he was worried about the change and felt like a ‘fish out of water’ but explained ‘it’s the best decision I ever made.’ If he had remained in the catering industry, the pandemic would have put him out of work. David joked that his family all worked in Engineering, he was the first to steer away but eventually found his way back to the sector!
Lastly, if there was any advice David would give to someone who find themselves in a position similar his own it would be to ‘just go for it, you have nothing to lose’. David didn’t know what he was getting himself into, but he embraced the chance and has found a way to bring all his knowledge and years of experience to his work today. Manufacturing is a sector created for transferable skills. As David has shown, a strong work ethic is what opens doors!
Whilst David no longer creates his amazing cakes, mostly because of time, he hasn’t given up on his artistic ability. He enjoys military dioramas that reflect his interest in literary history; it has become his escape.
David wanted to specially thank Peter and Andy for giving him the opportunity and his brother Gary and colleague Derek for nurturing him and helping him find his feet again.
We hope we get to dive into one of David’s cakes soon!