Don Dixon, Secretary, 1986-2007

Don was Secretary of the Cornish Institute of Engineers from 1986 until his passing in 2007 at the age of 82.

He retired in 1986 as Senior Lecturer at Cornwall Technical College after a long career there starting in 1962. He lectured in Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications to students which included those at Camborne School of Mines and Porthcurno Cable and Wireless College.

His earlier career was in the Royal Navy as a Navigation Lieutenant, with the R.N.V.R. in WW2, and later at the Bodmin Radio station, then used to communicate with the Admiralty fleet by long and short wave radio.

When Don became Secretary in 1986, the CIE met in very small numbers at Tuckingmill Chapel but soon moved to Camborne School of Mines at Trevenson Campus at Pool. This helped encourage students from CSM and Cornwall College to participate and boosted the status of the CIE. Don helped to gain support from engineering and technical businesses, both locally and nationally, that enabled the CIE to, once more, provide monthly lectures and field visits and this renewed activity helped to gain new members.

In his work as secretary he would tape record the monthly lectures and write up the talks for circulation to members. In the days before Powerpoint and computers this meant days on a typewriter with headphones writing up the lecture notes for members.

Don soon adapted to the new computer technology, initially with pre-Windows MS-DOS IBM desktop computers and dot matrix printers with support from the Cornwall College print room.

Using his experience as a senior lecturer, he helped organise CIE members involvement in workshops and seminars at local schools and colleges as a means to promote engineering as a career route. This boosted the profile and status of the CIE, which gained renewed membership after years of declining numbers. He was instrumental in introducing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) career training accreditations for students through CIE membership and attending the technical lectures.

Past and present members contributed greatly to the development and status of the CIE whilst working with Don.

The annual Don Dixon Memorial lecture is now held by the CIE to help remember Don’s sustained commitment to engineering and education, especially in the field of electronics and telecommunications.