Jim Zockoll

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Jim Zockoll
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Born (1930-02-14) February 14, 1930 (age 94)
  • Entrepreneur
  • Businessman
  • Philanthropist

James (Jim) Francis Zockoll (born February 14th 1930) is an entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist and pilot. He is the founder of Dyno-Rod which he sold in 2004 and currently serves as Chairman of the Zockoll Group Limited.

Early life

Zockoll grew up in North Braddock in the suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. USA, and graduated from Scott High School in 1949[1][2]. Zockoll joined the US Air Force in 1950 where he served as a crew chief in the Korean war.

Following service, Zockoll returned to the US and attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics to obtain his Aircraft and Engine license. In 1954 Zockoll then went to the Spartan School of Aeronautics to obtain his flight engineer rating.

In 1955, he was employed as a flight engineer with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)[3], at a time when cockpit crews included engineers on every flight.


Zockoll has been heavily involved in franchising in the UK since 1963.

Establishing Dyno-Rod, Zockoll imported revolutionary high-powered drain clearing tools from America boasting electromechanical rods[4] to make Dyno-Rod a national company. Dyno-Rod generated 167 franchises across the UK and Ireland and employed over 5000 people pre-acquisition. The Franchise Magazine, on referencing Dyno-Rod's 50th Anniversary[5]

Jim is quoted in The Times as saying: “My lucky break was realising this industry existed in the U.S. but not in the UK. I invested £20,000 savings into getting Dyno-Rod off the ground and I still had my income as a pilot. I was really confident that it was going to be a success. It took the country by storm. People were amazed that we turned up within the hour and had the drains cleared in no time at all."[6]

Zockoll remained at the helm of Dyno-Rod for 41 years[7] before selling the business to British energy company Centrica in 2004 in a deal worth £57million[8][9]. Dyno-Rod remains the only national franchised home emergency company in the UK and serves as the call-out service for British Gas. Dyno-rod in their own history look back, quote Zockoll as "In a stroke of genius, Jim Zockoll made Dyno-Rod a franchise business."[10]

Zockoll created The Zockoll Group Ltd[11] in 1970. Zockoll was the founding member of the British Franchise Association (BFA).


Zockoll is credited with introducing non-food-related franchises to the UK. Ms Pip Wilkins, Chief Executive of the BFA, says Zockoll: “Showed how it was possible to replicate a business in different territories and achieve accelerated growth, while at the same time empowering the franchise-holders to become business leaders, employ staff and build up a customer base.”

Personal life

Jim married Ann in 1960 and set up home in Long Island, New York. They moved to South West London in 1963 to raise their family. The couple have two sons. Zockoll is now a UK citizen.


  1. "This London multimillionaire never forgot where he's from: North Braddock, Class of '49". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2022-12-15.
  2. Smith, Kelsie (2020-12-27). "Businessman sends grocery store gift cards to his hometown for the holidays". CNN. Retrieved 2022-12-15.
  3. "PAN AM HISTORICAL FOUNDATION" (PDF). www.panam.org. Summer–Fall 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "Electro Mechanical Drain Cleaning | 24/7 Service". Metro Rod. Retrieved 2022-12-15.
  5. "Happy-50th-birthday-dyno-rod". The Franchise Magazine.
  6. Bolger, By Joe. "Dyno Rod founder to land £40m in sale to British Gas". The Times.
  7. "Our history". Dyno-Rod.
  8. "Centrica acquires Dyno-Rod". www.centrica.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Centrica buys Dyno-Rod in £57.6m deal". The Guardian. 2004-10-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Mad Men of the Sewers - History of DYNO's Advertising". Dyno-Rod.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "THE ZOCKOLL GROUP LIMITED overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-12-15.

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