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Born into a multi-generational steelworking family — his grandfather was a Head Roller and his father was an Open-Hearth steelmaker and also a part-time lecturer at Rotherham Technical College — David won a scholarship to a local grammar school. Grammar school success secured three scholarships that took him to Birmingham University to read Industrial Metallurgy. He was the first member of his family to attend university. After graduation, a Department of Science scholarship allowed research that finished with a doctorate for a thesis entitled "The Hot Working of Metals."
First employment as a Research Fellow at Birmingham University was followed by a short period as a Senior Research Metallurgist at the International Nickel Company's Research Laboratory in Birmingham. David then joined Coventry University as a Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy. At Coventry University, he was promoted to Principal Lecturer in Metallurgy and then Chairman of the School of Materials. Initial research activity centered on X-ray residual stress measurement which prompted him to establish Coventry Science Consultants Ltd. This was followed by his installation of a shot-peening research laboratory at the University with active encouragement and advice by the late Jack Plaster.
Upon retirement, David was first appointed as a Visiting Research Fellow and is now Visiting Professor of Materials at Coventry University. David has, after retirement, published some 70 research papers and articles on shot peening and residual stresses. Following his organization of the International Conference on Shot Peening in Oxford, he was elected Chairman of the International Scientific Committee for Shot Peening and he was subsequently elected to be a Life member. David was awarded The Shot Peener of the Year award in 2001 for his significant contributions to the advancement of shot peening.