The Path to Mortality:  The Story So Far
Recently inducted member Neville Digby gave us a great presentation last week as he took us on his journey so far.
In considering his name, Neville revealed that Sir Everard Digby, a Gunpowder Plot conspirator, was imprisoned in 1605 until hanged, drawn and quartered in 1606.  On a more favourable note Neville has a bridge located on the North branch of the Ashburton River with his name on it.
At fourteen he developed a keen interest in amateur radio and also spent a year attending jet boat racing events over a 25 year period.  He also raced catamarans for some time which he especially loved.
In his working life to date he only had two employers the old NZ Post Office (where you were supposed to have a job for life, if only!!) working in the broader communications field.  This included checking communications at a variety of locations including the Chatham’s.
His 43 year employment with the Municipal Electricity Department which eventually became Orion has kept him continuously technically challenged.  He has also worked as a volunteer  for Civil Defence in the greater Canterbury area and has been presented with numerous awards for his endeavours.
With respect to the changing nature of his work, Neville has had to reinvent himself many times in his vocation as it is a very dynamic and changeable field.  It has had its benefits though which included having the opportunity to skinny dip in the QEII pool.  Among his other various interesting “activities” he was once banned from US casinos for counting cards.
Neville feels he has been very lucky in his working life as his skill set has remained in demand.  This was in no small part due to his ability to constantly reinvent himself in what is a very dynamic and changeable market. 
One of his successes was when they purchased a natural gas company where his activities helped to significantly increase the value that led to it being sold for a sizeable profit.  He also spent time as Director of Canterbury Innovation incubator.
Returning to his time at Orion, Neville noted that it is currently the 3rd largest electricity network company in NZ.  It is heavily regulated with its profit also being capped.  Previously based in the Red Light district, it is now in Wairakei Road which includes controlling the upper South Island network. 
In ensuring risk management is a key component, a key approach that helps ensure its ongoing success is ensuring the technologies it chooses are well suited to business centres. 
When the quakes hit Christchurch they lost their buildings and moved into some stronger older 1930’s ones that enabled them to be the only business left operating inside the CBD’s red zone for 4 years. This helped keep the power network working.
They considered  putting data centres into containers and ended up having computerised data containers and now have three of these very useful tools available.
In terms of other interests, Neville is President of the Veteran Car Club of NZ and finds that this interest in particular is like an illness.  His only solution to date is to buy yet another one and he has acquired an impressive range of vehicles to date including an “Alvis” car but not yet a traction engine.
He especially enjoys going to events and showcasing his vehicles and arrived at our meeting in his electric 1904 Baker which he acquired in 2011.  Manufactured in Cleveland, it is one of the oldest electric cars in the world.
“When it runs out of power I can tow it with a horse” he chuckled.
See this link that Simon sent through for more info on this amazing vehicle.
In terms of a bucket list, Neville is especially keen to visit Antarctica and see the Aroura Northern Lights.  And, of course, acquiring (yikes) even more old cars.
We thanked Neville for yet another amazing insight into one of our newer members whose speeches continue to fascinate and inspire us with respect to the diversity and exceptional skill sets we have in our Club membership.