Derek followed a 20 year career as an officer in the Royal Signals, serving in a variety of command, technical and staff appointments in the UK and overseas. In 1988 he moved into the Defence Communications Industry and worked on a number of communications equipment and system support contracts for UK MoD and latterly as the UK company project manager for the Austrian and Swiss national defence networks. He retired from the industry in 2010. As the Chairman and Treasurer of The Bus Stop Club, a small charity working in Ferndown with local disadvantaged families, he has seen at first-hand the benefits that Dorset Community Action can bring with accessible advice and training for community and voluntary groups. As a resident of Dorset for nearly 30 years, he felt the time was ripe to extend his understanding of the voluntary sector throughout the county and offer his varied experience for the benefit of others.