Dave Chandler, a well-known personality in the graphic arts industry and former managing director of The Bespoke Agency, has passed away last month at his West Sussex home following a long illness.
After graduating from Leeds University in mechanical engineering, he demonstrated his entrepreneurial and practical skills, setting up a small screen-printing business producing graphics and exhibition display materials. The company was located at the family business, Dartford Motors, which at the time Chandler would also manage in his father’s absence.
A chance meeting led to a long-term association with the world leading pre-press and press controls company, Crosfield Electronics, initially as a supplier and later as manager of its busy marketing and exhibitions department. This was a period when the industry supported many national and international trade shows. Chandler excelled in this area with a considerable command of the many skills involved, including stand design, construction, logistics and on-site presence.
Jim Salmon, former Crosfield managing director said: ‘He was such a wonderful, cheerful, creative and capable guy. Dave was widely respected throughout our whole print and graphics related industry, but especially among the Crosfield alumni. In Crosfield he contributed so much to the building and creation of the Crosfield's strong image around the world.’
In December 1994, Chandler took on the new role as managing director of The Bespoke Agency, a leading graphic arts PR and marketing communications company. His brief was to expand the business and implement new internal processes, while managing a broad portfolio of major clients. His ability to quickly grasp a client’s requirements and develop a communications strategy led to some particularly close client relationships.
‘From a client perspective, having Dave Chandler on the team gave us an edge, he was the ultimate all-rounder, commented Eric Bell, former marketing director at Goss International. ‘Professional, articulate, creative, interesting, supportive, fun, a motivator with an amazing attention to detail but at the same time a true blue-sky thinker. Dave would engage with every project, issue or opportunity we threw at him with total commitment and he had the respect of people across the entire Goss business.’
Phill Traverse, director of Treefrog Design added: ‘I first met Dave working on the design of the corporate brochure when he was still at Crosfield. Over time Dave moved from client to colleague, collaborator and mentor. In every aspect he was encouraging, supportive, insightful and inspirational - his influence on me was huge and I owe him a great deal.’
At Bespoke, Chandler was respected for his energy, strong work ethic and being generous with his time and knowledge mentoring the company’s younger employees.
‘Dave’s passing marks a very sad day for our company. Much of who we are today, as both communication professionals and people, has been influenced by Dave’s kind personality, creativity, supportive and measured management style and his vision for a customer-centric service offering. Dave will be much missed, but his legacy lives long within our business and the many people he influenced,’ said Ben Dodson, current managing director of Bespoke.
On retirement, Chandler pursued his lifelong love of sailing with his long-term partner and soulmate Fiona. His passion for the sea was ignited in his youth when he worked for the boatbuilder Ray Stapley and spent his summers in Fowey in Cornwall racing speedboats. It was no coincidence that his home in West Sussex was close to Chichester harbor and his treasured Hanse 34 ft yacht ‘Finona’.
Chandler enjoyed spending time in his shed at the bottom of the garden honing his myriad creative and practical skills; projects included repairs, replacement parts and new solutions for the home, the boat and a restored classic MG sports car, together with occasional artworks in wood and metal. He was also a keen and a proficient amateur photographer.
David John Chandler was born on 23 October 1948 at Dartford in Kent, the son of John and Betty. He was educated at the Dartford Technical High School and Leeds University. He will be greatly missed by Fiona, his family and many friends, colleagues and contacts. He leaves a son Simon, granddaughter Lilly Mae and is survived by his mother Betty and brother Simon.