Tetley CEO and entrepreneur, Dirk Mischendahl, receives honorary degree
A well-known entrepreneur in the region, Dirk is currently CEO at The Tetley, a new centre for contemporary art and learning located in the stunning art deco headquarters of the former Tetley Brewery site in Leeds.
Dirk was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration by the School of Strategy, Marketing and Communication on Tuesday 21 July, for his contribution to business.
Speaking ahead of the ceremony he said: “This is like an affirmation of my whole career. When you got an award like this, you think ‘I’ve made it’; it’s the biggest well done I could get. Being a serial entrepreneur is a curse, you can never really relax and there’s always more you could do, you can never rest, but it’s an amazing thing to do.”
His word of advice for business graduates was perseverance. He added: “The only person that will make it happen is you. Don’t listen to people when they say no; you can do anything you want to if you work hard enough.”
Dirk Mischendahl is the former joint Managing Director and group founder of Leeds-based design and communications agency, Logistik, (currently being rebranded as Vista) which he founded in 1996 with a team of four others.
Over the course of 18 years, he grew the firm from a service provider delivering and managing outdoor green field music events to a multi-million pound national group of businesses offering board-level consultancy to blue chip companies in communications and events management.
Born in Germany in 1968 and raised in Australia, Dirk left school at 15 and worked in his father's auto business until deciding to move to Britain in 1989. Working initially in the hotel and catering industry, Dirk finally settled in Yorkshire deciding to study Psychology at the University of Leeds.
With a passionate philanthropic approach, Dirk has always maintained that the community that a business draws from must also be supported. Nurturing talent alongside community became a key part of Dirk’s legacy and before leaving Logistik, a business that was very active in the community, Dirk established one of only a few small business in the UK to be awarded 3 Big Tick awards and winning small business of the year 3 years running.
During his time at Logistik Dirk launched a number of successful businesses and in 2007, Dirk founded the Northern Art Prize, with support from artist Pippa Hale and Leeds City Council’s Art Director, Catherine Blanshard. With a passion and talent for unlocking creativity, Dirk was keen to develop the competition as a celebration of contemporary visual artists based in the North of England, culminating each year in an exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery and is the only competition of its kind in the north. Dirk’s extended support for cultural development in Leeds and beyond has been recognised in his position serving on the board of Welcome to Yorkshire and Marketing Leeds.
Dirk has formed a new company, Demon Leisure, with Seema Dhiman, which opened its first bar in Leeds last year, the Brotherhood. He also has a successful catering business, Boutique, which boasts four unique city centre venues as clients (The Tiled Hall, The Gatehouse, Leeds City Museum and Project Space Leeds).
Dirk now invests his time and resources working with young entrepreneurs sharing his extensive experience and continues his legacy working hard to help make a difference in what is still a very difficult climate.
Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: “A respected entrepreneur and events manager, Dirk started up and worked tirelessly to grow Logistik into one of the best-known firms in the sector. His work across our region, including founding the Northern Art Prize, and his commitment to sustainability in event management, is inspirational and he has shown great support for cultural development in Leeds and beyond.”