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John McDonnell

After graduating in 1987 with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, John started a full time job in sales at Thorn. Following that, experience in wholesaling and then electronics manufacturing at Arlen and Advanced Lighting gave him the tools to start his own business. Harvard Engineering, founded in 1993 had been a long term ambition for John. Building on his experience and spotting a gap in the market for compact electronics for 2D lamps, John started production of a design based on his University project in his kitchen. Soon after, a factory was established in Leeds, paving the way for the Harvard Engineering of today. Harvard Engineering is a world leader in the design, development and manufacturing of electronic HID ballasts, LED drivers and control products for the lighting industry. From a standing start Harvard has built its turnover to £36 million in 20 years and have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2011. In 2013 a venture capital company ECI took a substantial sake in Harvard and in 2015 John left the business.

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