Profileimage by David McKnight Director, Chief Executive , Commercial and Business Manager, PR,  Marketing, Communications from

David McKnight


Last update: 22.10.2019

Director, Chief Executive , Commercial and Business Manager, PR, Marketing, Communications

Graduation: B.Sc. [Hons] Agriculture and Chemistry, Leeds, 2:1 | Appointed Fellow, Chartered Management Institute [FCMI]
Hourly-/Daily rates: show
Languages: Arabic (Native or Bilingual)


David McKnight CV - Sept 2019.doc


A highly experienced and solutions-orientated business manager, with significant experience in the land, environmental, town and city regeneration and visitor economy/tourism sectors, and a practical and facilitative style.  David’s commercial, analytical and methodical approach and commitment to business management and development is balanced with excellent communications and relationship building skills, a high intellect level, energy and drive.  He thrives solving problems and delivering results as part of a high performing team, this anchored in over 20 years relevant experience in business management and consultancy, with a background in the land sector. 

Business to Business and Business to Consumer marketing and destination management expertise, PR, marketing communications and socila media management.

Project history

01/2004 - 10/2019
Non-executive Director
Teesdale Development Company Limited
This third sector company constructs, owns and operates managed workspace and meeting/conferencing
facilities in support of the enterprise economy in rural south west County Durham.
I advised the directors how to improve the commercial performance of the business; then led the team
in delivering a transformational construction programme, by converting void areas into managed
workspace, meeting and conferencing facilities which the executive team now successfully let and
manage. After successful project completion, I was invited to join the board. My work transformed
this third sector business from being loss making into profit. It now generates sufficient surplus
each year to be able to invest in and maintain its facilities.

01/2000 - 10/2019
DLM Management Consultants
Director of a consultancy practice, specialising in contract and project management and delivery in
the UK land, waste management, local food, visitor economy, enterprise development, business advice
and planning, and rural regeneration sectors. Bid writing, sourcing funding, procurement, managing
the contracts within an 'exemplary' £6m regeneration programme gaining 'Beacon' status, leading and
managing diverse projects and in delivering regeneration results through people and businesses.

01/2010 - 12/2016
Chief Executive and Company Secretary
HMS Trincomalee Trust and subsidiary Trust
Chief Executive and Company Secretary of two trading subsidiaries
Charitable Trust which owns and operates HMS Trincomalee (1817), the Europe's oldest warship afloat.
She is included within the Core Collection of the National Register of Historic Vessels of the
United Kingdom and winner of the World Ships Trust International Maritime Heritage Award. Operates
as an education and learning facility, iconic year-round cultural and heritage visitor attraction
and venue.

* Commercially focussed and astute; achieved growth in visitor admissions income during the
* Reduced operational costs against budget by introducing new work practices - 5.5% savings in
2012/13, 7% in 2013/14, 5% in 2014/15, 3.5% in 2015/16;
* Developed and implemented new retail lines in trading subsidiaries, functions and events,
income streams and delivery models culminating in 17% increase in gross profit in 2012/13 with
further significant growth in 2015/16.
* Formulated a new 2020 Strategy with Trustees, then successfully implemented it;
* Turned around the Trust's finances, investments and fundraising. Full P&L responsibility;
* Responsible for a team of 16 staff plus contractors and volunteers - recruiting, managing,
leading, coaching and inspiring to verifiably achieve a top-quality maritime attraction and
venue, with outstanding customer service;
* Instigated a review of governance, on appointment;
* Developed HMS Trincomalee as an events and dining venue;
* Developed and implemented new branding, marketing and communications strategies, including
delivering PR for the Trust;
* Developed a new maintenance and conservation plan for the ship, subject to peer review;
* Developed joint working practices with stakeholders to improve efficiency and productivity;
* Represented HMS Trincomalee externally to a range of organisations from Teesside University,
local schools, funders, strategic business partners; also gave lectures to local interest
groups. Highly regarded as a speaker;
* Developed a highly successful new affiliation with The National Museum of the Royal Navy
[NMRN] culminating in The HMS Trincomalee Trust becoming a subsidiary and subsequently the
NMRN assuming responsibility for the operation of the vessel.

01/2007 - 01/2010
Commercial Manager and Business Team Manager
Visit County Durham
and strategic tourism authority for County Durham
* Commercial Manager with additional responsibility for managing the highly regarded business
support, skills development and quality side of the organisation. Budget and staff
responsibility. Member of the senior management team reporting directly to the Chief
Executive. At Visit County Durham, my team exceeded all targets set, including commercial
performance and succeeded in engaging, advising and supporting tourism businesses and
developing the visitor economy across this predominantly rural county with a heritage city at
its heart.

01/1998 - 12/2000
National Marketing & Technical Manager
Cropwise Limited
* Senior and influential role in this £17m t/o agricultural and amenity service business.
Launched new amenity products division which was so successful, it quickly became a separate
business in its own right.

01/1991 - 01/1998
Snr Arable Consultant/Snr Waterway Engineering Project Manager
ADAS Consulting Ltd
Developed significant commercial and technical business for ADAS, the UK's largest national
land-based business, research and technical consultancy organisation - t/o £54m. Achieved the
highest levels of earned fees nationally within the team of arable consultants.
* Amalgamated a disparate network of near market crop research centres into a new national
organisation and became its National Manager. Managed delivery contracts, substantially
reduced operating costs, developed and implemented a new marketing and communications
strategy, achieved dramatically improved service levels, increased membership income and
* As a Waterway Engineering Project Manager, my work involved specifying, tendering, and
managing dredging and engineering projects across the inland waterway network in England, in
complex, multi-stakeholder environments. This niche operation working with regulators, farmers
and growers, engineering contractors and navigation authorities, anchored in waste management,
crop and soil nutrition, resulted in significant and measurable impact.

01/1985 - 01/1991
Technical Sales and Farm Trader
Steetley Quarry Products & Kenneth Wilson Grain Ltd
Developed a specialist interest in soil and crop nutrition.

Time and spatial flexibility

Anywhere in UK, not London ideally.

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