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Tuesday 11 July 2017

Richard Little, Managing Director of Hampshire-based Jenton International Limited, was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from Southampton Solent University on Tuesday 11 July.

After starting his career as a salesman, Richard obtained a degree in business economics and accounting from the University of Southampton in 1988 and progressed his career in display advertising in B2B publications.

On accepting his award and speaking with students at the ceremony, Richard said: "I feel very honoured, I have been involved with Southampton Solent University for many years now and over those years we have done all sorts of exciting things with students, from sponsorship, right through to employing a couple of students who used to study here. It has always been a very rewarding experience, so this is a real bonus."

He became involved in designing and selling automation for food packaging lines, working for Ariana Developments Limited, in Southampton. Later as a director at Jenton in Whitchurch, he specialised in developing solutions using UV light for adhesive applications, and then combined his packaging and UV experience in a new solution for Anita Roddick at The Body Shop.

This led to the first of 12 granted patents in the field of energising UV lamps with microwaves, in addition to several others for other packaging applications. A whole range of UV curing and disinfection equipment followed, and he recently invested in label verification and vision technology which has been installed in many companies in the food supply chain.

Richard’s love of innovation led to him co-found the Wessex Round Table of Inventors (WRTI) at Southampton Solent in 2000, and he is an enthusiastic supporter of the Engineering Department, having recruited three graduate engineers from the University.

In 2011, he was elected Chairman of the UK Processing and Packaging Machinery Association and is a trustee of their BEST charity, formed to encourage young people to follow engineering careers.

He is a freeman of the Stationers’ Company and a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining.

Richard also had some employability tips to give graduates: "The future is all about engineering. Nowadays, people look at making things greener, faster and cleverer - all of that requires people from engineering. I am sure whichever industry you choose – it will keep your brains engaged and entertained.

"Engineering is a wonderful experience as it enables people to get things done. There are loads of people who think 'I wish I could do that', but engineers actually allow ideas to fly and things to happen."

Richard finished his talk with some motivational words: "I hope you all have as much fun as I've had so far and when someone turns to you in the future and asks what you do, you can proudly turn to them and say 'I am an engineer'."