The People: Dan

What is your role at Re:Fuel?

I’m a Director and the founder. My role has mostly been to drive my family and friends crazy by disappearing for days on end to build Re:Fuel and the wonderful team behind it.

How did Re:Fuel come about?

I’ve been a huge fan of Caffeine & Machine in Warwickshire for a while now and, after yet another long drive up to Stratford-upon-Avon one weekend, I returned to Devon and decided the Southwest needed something similar. I didn’t want it to be a copy of Caffeine and Machine – but somewhere that petrolheads and automotive enthusiasts in the Southwest could call home and hangout at the weekends, with a coffee in their hand, chatting about their passion.

I first setup Re:Fuel with my very good friend, Matt Young. We’d been talking for a while about embarking on a venture together, and he’s a big car nut too. One evening we just setup the website and social media channels and, well, the rest is history as they say! Sadly, after a couple of months Matt found that the amount of time and effort required to build Re:Fuel was having a negative impact on the marketing businesses that he runs and he had to step away. Luckily for me, two of Re:Fuel’s managers, Josh and George, stepped up to fill his shoes. I quickly promoted them to Directors, which was very well deserved after their hard work and dedication in the early months.

What’s your favourite thing about Re:Fuel?

My favourite thing about Re:Fuel is seeing all the different enthusiasts with different tastes and opinions all coming together and admiring each other’s machines. There’s plenty of clubs out there for a particular “scene” or marque/manufacturer – and shows too – but nowhere that brings everyone together regularly as one big community. I’ve loved the variety and calibre of cars we’ve seen turn up at Re:Fuel so far – and I have a feeling it’s just the start.

I think if there’s one thing that I’m keen to be the centre of the culture at Re:Fuel it’s that if it’s your pride and joy, then it’s welcome. No elitism.

What were you doing before Re:Fuel?

I was at an automotive company before as their “Head of Innovation”. We were a global business and I’d been there since pretty much the start in 2012. It was a business that my heart was really in and I really enjoyed helping build it up over the 7 years I was there, from less than 10 people to around 100 by the time I left. I learnt a lot there (through both successful endeavours and mistakes!) about corporate culture, commercial growth and building a transparent and trusted brand that people loved and would voluntarily be evangelists and ambassadors for. I hope to instil a similar culture both within the Re:Fuel team but also amongst our community.

Tell us about your home life!

I live just outside Exeter but often venture into the city. It’s such a beautiful place – both the city of Exeter and the surrounding Devon countryside. Both myself and my partner, Clara, use home as an office, so it’s rarely empty – usually a busy place!

It’s a nice area and we get on really well with our neighbours. We do a “come dine with me” effort on the odd occasion and sink a few bottles of wine over dinner. We also do a lot to help each other out. I’d find it hard to move away from here – I feel very settled.

What do you do when you’re not working?

With the work required to build Re:Fuel, including finding and financing a dedicated premises, there seems to be very little time to do much else at the moment. Luckily, I have a very understanding partner, who also runs her own business – so she can put herself in my shoes! When I do get time to play, I’m usually working on cars, or just generally building, fixing or repairing things. I also love being on the racetrack – whether it’s karting or cars – and I love nothing more than hanging out with good friends. I’m blessed with a fantastic and supportive family and some absolutely amazing friends that have stuck with me through good times and bad. I’m a lucky guy to know so many good, kind people.

What car do you drive?

I have far too many cars. My passion has been cars and motorsport since the age of about 14. I rebuilt my first car engine at the age of 18, spent most of my university career fixing, repairing and maintaining friends’ cars, and now I seem to have grown an unhealthy collection of various 4-wheeled toys. My favourite is my 1970 VW Beetle that I restored myself when I was 20.

What is your favourite drive?

My favourite drive is the coast road from Honiton over to Hampshire/Sussex. Partly because it’s a fantastic and very scenic road, but also because it means I’m probably on the way to visit some good friends I have up that way, or my Dad, who lives in Sussex.

If you could go anywhere where would it be?

Cornwall. I grew up there and it will always have a special place in my heart. It’s home to some of the best beaches in the world – to the point where, when visiting Oz a few years ago, Bondi Beach, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast really reminded me of Cornwall and made me feel like I was back home.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.

Struggling to think of things here. I’m not a particularly mysterious person!

OK – I work as a volunteer Grandstand Steward at Silverstone – which means I get to work at the Formula 1 every year, meeting all the drivers and stuff – which is great fun!


Why Exeter?

Well, I moved here from Cornwall to study at Exeter Uni back in 2002, fell in love with it and never left. For me, Devon really is a halfway house between the beauty (and remoteness) of Cornwall, and somewhere with a slightly more city feel to it, better access to the UK and the coast is still only 10 to 15 minutes away! We also have an airport, stunning moorlands, a direct 2.5 hour train link into London – I mean what more could we ask for – we’re pretty blessed in this part of the world.

What are you working on right now?

How long have you got?! There’s so much work to do on Re:Fuel right now. I have a task list longer than the Magna Carta. Of course we’re busy getting everything booked and organised for our next open day – but one of the most pressing jobs right now is finding land to purchase so that Re:Fuel can build its permanent home. We’re looking for around 4 to 6 acres, within a 15 minute radius of Exeter. If you know of somewhere for sale that may be suitable, then you can let us know by contacting us here or emailing the team on