Meet The Team: Water Sector Director, David Dolphin

Mr. David Dolphin is Ayyeka’s Water Sector Director, appointed to the role last year.
A native of England, David has been living in Canada for the past eight years. He now calls Kingston, a city in Eastern Ontario, home.

His professional residence, however, certainly lies within the water and wastewater industry.

In a career spanning over three decades, David has held a variety of leadership and managerial positions within the industry. His roles have ranged from assisting with water treatment as a local municipal plant contractor to holding a series of executive-level sales positions at Veolia, a French multinational with more employees than Kingston has residents.

“A series of happy accidents”

Although David, a trained mechnical engineer, describes the beginnings of his career as “a series of happy accidents” (including taking his first job in water to live in London, to be in the same city as his future wife), he says that spearheading multinational system rollouts and working with local municipalities, have both given him a firm sense of belonging within the water and wastewater industry.

Often taken for granted, the treatment and conveyance of water and wastewater, as David points out, are infrastructural networks that play critical roles in allowing societies to exist. Most of us expect clean, fresh water and the disposal of dirtied water as basic needs. The UN General Assembly, in fact, has enshrined both as fundamental human rights

Although he now manages the company’s water and wastewater sector, Ayyeka’s first market vertical, David’s involvement was initially “peripheral”.

Charged with building a North American business based on novel sensors and digital technology, David discovered and presented Ayyeka as a solution that solved many of the pain points that the Swiss technology supplier was encountering. “For every pain point we were running into with the solution we were trying at the time, Ayyeka proposed a tick,” David says. “And that got me thinking: these guys are good at what they do!”

Besides being impressed with the technology, which David describes as being “very well conceived,” for the industrial applications it tackles, the company’s “responsiveness” and proactive approach to helping customers make the most out of the solution also struck a cord.

“Coming from the corporate world, there’s sometimes a perception that startups are associated with arrogant founders that don’t want to listen to what their customers have to say. But with Ayyeka, I encountered an openness and a receptiveness to new ideas that I found refreshing to say the least.”

The data revolution will transform critical industries

David believes that the data revolution currently happening in the industry is just the “first flush” of what is to come. “Even for the more conservative players – and there are many of those in the municipal water and wastewater sector – there’s a growing sense of recognition that a lot is going to change very fast about how we, as an industry, manage critical infrastructure data.”

How does he find interfacing with the large companies he once worked for now that he’s embedded within the startup world? “It’s been interesting, actually,” David says. “Although large municipalities can be more circumspect about evaluating new technologies, once they’ve made the decision to do so, they often deploy on a far more impressive scale than would be the case in the private sector,” he says.

What does a veteran wastewater man like David do to unwind? Fondly described by colleagues as a “bon viveur,” David admits to taking enormous pleasure in good food and wine. The outdoors, fishing, and rugby, he says, are other pursuits. Approaching his ninth year in Kingston, David considers Canada to be “almost like home” now but adds that wherever in the world he lives, continuing to be part of the exciting changes in the water and wastewater industry is a journey he’ll be happy to continue to be part of.

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