A Dundee man told he would “amount to nothing” when sacked by an alarm firm 10 years ago has now bought its premises.
When Derek Mawhinney was made redundant from a job selling alarms at Dunsinane House he couldn’t have imagined a decade later, he’d be back.
After leaving Forfar Academy, Derek started working for SAS Alarm and Security.
He still vividly remembers the day he was let go.
He said: “I was pulled in to the office on the Friday and told I wasn’t very good at selling alarms. They let me go.
“I questioned it and the manager at the time got quite angry.
“He told me I was going to amount to nothing and that I’d be lucky to get another call centre job.
“At 17 I was thinking I’m useless at selling alarms – it can’t get much lower than this.”
What are the plans for the building?
Now Derek has grand plans for up to 20 offices.
The property entrepreneur insists buying the premises on Kilspindie Road wasn’t an emotional investment but a sensible business decision.
He said: “I want to turn it into a thriving community business centre.
“We’ve got a lot of good innovation coming into Dundee.
“I feel that, as great as the city is, we don’t really have as much office space as we could have.
“I think we can build something quite special.”
Death of mother provides inspiration
As well as his dismissal from that sales job, the 27-year-old has used the death of his mother Amanda when he was just 19 to motivate him.
Amanda was just 39 when she died and Derek said it was a difficult time for him and his family.
Derek said: “I don’t think she ever saw me amount to much. I’ve felt I need to prove myself
“I made promises to my mum that I would be someone people looked towards.
“At some stage we’ll meet again.
“I hope it’s in 80 years and I’m old and frail. I hope I’ve got a huge story to tell.
“It’s about creating opportunities for people in Dundee.
“Somewhere she’s watching. It’s up to me to be the best version of me that I can.
“It’s a huge motivator.”
Derek set up Omnis Properties in 2013 and has been working with residential properties.
The entrepreneur said Covid forced a re-think of his company.
“It totally changed our business,” he said.
“We had to look at other opportunities.
“We’re in the infancy of a large-scale proposal in terms of redevelopment in Dundee.”
A decade after walking out of Dunsinane House having lost his job, Derek reflected on his own journey.
“I can look back and take pleasure that I’ve changed massively as a person.
“I’ve come a long way in the last 10 years.”