In December, DBA farewelled David Morton, one of the backbones of the business, who ran DBA’s manufacturing facilities in Silverwater for over 30 years.
Dave, how did you end up with DBA?
I’m a fitter by trade. I was working in Newcastle and decided I wanted to come back to Sydney. At the time a lot of machinery was sold into Sydney however there was a shortage of operators. So I got the chance to meet Oscar Joseph at Disc Brakes Australia and liked what I saw.
How did you manage to build the production capacity to what it is today?
Purchasing the machine tools was the easier part. The greater challenge was to have the right people who understand how to run them, and make sure they don’t break down over night. It took us a few years to get to that stage.
What other memorable events to you recall?
The trips away with Phillip Joseph Snr (company founder and former MD) were always memorable. It was a bit like going away with your dad. He always wanted to buy you an ice cream or something like that. We had a lot of fun. He was a very handsome man, and especially going into Asia he used to have people follow him everywhere. At time it felt like he was some kind of movie star. That was always interesting (laughs). Don’t get me wrong, those trips were always very productive. We were on the go the whole time. The main purpose was the purchasing of machine tools. We started DBA with a very meagre collection of machinery mainly from the UK, some even dating back to the WWII aera, which we gradually replaced. Phillip Joseph Snr saw the need for CNC technology early and started to invest in it. This is where I came in, to provide the necessary technical expertise.
What else is important to you that people should know?
DBA is a great collection of people. On the workshop floor, we have a team of very qualified staff, and we never kept anyone who wasn’t a fit, professionally. Everyone here is very capable in what they do. That’s the main reason I’ve been successful in all the years – I’ve been relying on my own abilities, and I’ve equally been able to rely on everyone else’s.
Working here has never been hard, or a chore. Personally, for me, removing metal is physically pleasing. Seeing it coming off and seeing what you are producing. It’s like looking at a nice photograph or a nice painting. And then, as I said, coming in in the morning and thinking – wow, we’ve used robotics, we’ve used automatic gauging, and nobody has manually touched this product.
To wrap it up, let’s hear what Phillip Joseph Snr, former MD, has to say about you.
“David is an absolute expert in manufacturing. Second best was never good enough for him. David got us on the road with some of the most innovative rotor designs – cross drilled, slotted, and then our 4000 and 5000 Series upgrade and performance rotors. Whatever I said we’d do, he had the capability to make it happen, and he did it. Under Dave, we supplied Original Equipment to General Motors, as well as the Ford Tickfords back in 1999. I have nothing but respect and praise for his achievements.
And to finish on a curious note – you should know that David never owned a mobile phone. Unlike me, who has always been obsessed with them. I used to carry one when they were the size of a suitcase… Anyway, one day a long time ago a carrier that gave me an extra, cheap mobile phone as part of a deal. So, one day I came running into the workshop, excitedly calling out to Dave ‘I got you a phone’ – and I tripped. The phone went up in the air, did a few somersaults, and I watched it – like in slow motion – land straight in the back of one of the machines, in the cooler tank. That was the end of the phone, and Dave has still never owned one.”
David, we thank you for over 30 years of dedication and service to DBA. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement – with or without a mobile phone.
David Morton Pictured 2003 David and team on his last day in December 2022‹ Previous Next ›