Published on

July 23, 2023


Nick Halliday

Dion Metcalfe strengthens PTL’s global position

For the past 30 years, Dion Metcalfe has built a career he hopes will leave a lasting mark on the engineering industry.

Raised and educated in South Auckland, he completed his apprenticeship and worked in his trade for a few years before deciding to explore the world outside New Zealand. At 26, he traveled to England to start his own engineering support company. However, Dion’s reputation as an exceptional problem-solver spread fast. When a British engineering firm serving Fortune 500 companies hired him as a global service engineer, he relocated to the United States to open its first international office.

He later secured a job with The Kellogg Company and, over several years, made his way into positions of greater responsibility and decision-making. He worked in roles ranging from operations manager to senior director of engineering, overseeing ventures across the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) regions. Dion’s career took him all over the world – he lived on five different continents, worked with global CPG companies, and built his professional network. This led to a new challenge at The Hershey Company, where he led the team in building its first Asian production facility. From there, Dion took on the role of Senior Director at Breakthrough Engineering in the United States, where he and his team challenged the engineering and manufacturing practices of the 120-year-old company and brought creative, innovative ideas to life.

From retirement to reinvention

By 2019, Dion was looking back on a successful career and amazing memories. As he approached his 50th birthday, he envisioned a well-earned retirement filled with days of surfing and fishing in New Zealand. However, he discovered that retirement didn’t suit him, and he continued to crave challenges. Right on cue, PTL reached out.

PTL wanted him to examine ways to increase its efficiencies, and the initial meeting laid the foundation for a productive partnership. The original contract was for six months, but both parties quickly saw there was much more to gain from a continued collaboration.

Creating efficient systems and better customer experiences

Over the past 18 months, Dion’s role has transformed to capitalize on his skills. Now, as the Continuous Improvement and Manufacturing Officer, he focuses on the complete customer journey, facilitating solutions across PTL’s global operations. Dion offers a fresh perspective from his vast experience at The Kellogg Company and The Hershey Company.

“Most of my career was on the other side of the fence – so I understand customer requirements well. I’m here to give the PTL team a different perspective so we can solve customers’ problems before they need to ask,” said Dion.

One of his focuses has been re-evaluating how PTL communicates with customers and how it can showcase its customer-focused approach to building innovative equipment. Dion says, “As New Zealanders, we love to say yes straight away. We don’t want to lose that Kiwiness, but we also want to provide custom innovative solutions that address the customers’ needs.”

Dion believes that sometimes the best solution is to engineer out the things that are not needed instead of adding additional features.

Embracing collaboration for better payoffs

Dion is humbled by the opportunities he was given, including attending Michigan State University and completing the Eli Broad Business School Supply Chain courses set for senior management. He collaborated with teams at The Pennovation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and regularly attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) EmTech.

“These were a great chance to see, explore, and discuss some of the world’s advancing technologies with like-minded people who were deliberately pushing innovative boundaries.”

Dion sees the same innovative spirit when working with the team at PTL. He says that PTL’s culture of collaboration has allowed it to evolve and stay strong over its 30-plus years.

“I think that’s what’s been so enjoyable for me at PTL – everyone is very receptive. You can call out things that need addressing without people getting upset. I can say, ‘This isn’t wrong, but it’s not right. Here’s another way we can do it.’”

In Dion’s eyes, it’s PTL’s CEO Nick Halliday and his leadership team who have been instrumental in creating such a thriving work culture.

“Nick cares about people and has a good business mind. He’s not afraid to ask the tough questions and approach the business in a different way.”

A dedicated family man

Outside of work, Dion says his biggest achievements are his three talented children. His eldest daughter has just graduated with a bachelor’s in business and is working towards her teaching certificate to become an elementary school teacher. His youngest daughter is in an engineering program in high school and enjoys reading, playing the saxophone and lacrosse, and being an entrepreneur (like her dad). His son excels in both scholastics and athletics, skating for the Yale Youth Ice Hockey team and playing tennis. Want to learn more about PTL’s innovative approach? Contact the team today.