Two decades ago, Danny Law walked into Garmendale Engineering as a fresh-faced 17-year-old and asked for a job.
He was taken on as an engineering apprentice and has gone on to help make rollercoasters which have been used in Dubai, Orlando and Alton Towers.
The 37-year-old, of Ilkeston, also worked on the London Eye and the new Wembley Stadium.
The firm, also based in Ilkeston, is a second-generation family-run theme park engineering company, which was set up in 1980.
Mr Law, who is a father-of-three, said it was the Go Jetters Vroomster ride at CBeebies Land, at Alton Towers, which has given him the most amount of pride.
“It probably meant more to me than all of the others as my kids are the right age to enjoy it,” he said. “It was a proud moment to see it running so beautifully after nine months of real painstaking graft in the workshop.”
Speaking of some of his other projects, Mr Law, who now leads the team as workshop manager, said: “The first one I remember was a battery powered train for a hotel in Rhodes.
“Looking back, I was a very small player in the overall team – although it never felt like that – but it struck me how international the business was and that what we were making was being sent all over the world.
“We also played a big part in what was classed as New Wembley Stadium. It started as some small fabrications for additional on-site steelwork, but grew and grew; we ended up being there for 13 months.
“My biggest highlight during that time and being a huge football fan was meeting England players David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.
“Several years ago we produced new carriages for Snowdon Mountain Railway, four wasn’t enough they came back for two more – this time vintage. It was a huge project for a little firm in Derbyshire, but another one that I have been on as a passenger with my kids.
“We spent years on site working on the London Eye, installing new safety systems, gates and generally maintaining the structure.
“It’s amazing to think I walked in to Garmendale off the street looking for a job, yet ended up working on some of the biggest landmarks in Britain. It’s a big thing for me looking back at it.”
His one regret is not taking more photographs of the processes of his work, but he said back in those days no one had a camera in their pocket like they do now with smart phones.
The company are currently working on rides for New York and Abu Dhabi, and are now taking on two more apprentices.
David Shelmerdine, Garmendale’s managing director and son of founder Roy, said: “Danny has been a huge success story for us and he isn’t the only one, he has worked hard to gain the skills he now has.
“We’re proud of the opportunities we have provided and even more proud of how he has grasped them with both hands.
“Mechanical and electrical engineering apprenticeships work for people who are determined to work hard and learn. The rewards come with time, but the satisfaction of making rides and machines that people love is a huge one.”