With over 30 years in the UPS industry, Stephen has worked with and trained some of the biggest names in the industry but now focuses on spearheading the business’ up and coming strategic opportunitiesAs Metartec hits a major milestone, Stephen looks back at some of Metartec’s most memorable moments as well as his own over his career.
Q1: Why did you join Metartec?
A: I had spent 18 years working in the corporate world. I could see that mergers and acquisitions were to the beneifit of the investors and customer service levels slipped. I had worked with Ray Hall, our MD when we were both engineers at Merlin Gerin, Schneider Electric and MGE UPS Systems. I also competed against one of his companies (GR Solutions) when I was MD of CBS Group so when he mentioned a new venture he had just started, we talked about the possibilities of joining forces.
Q2: What do you believe is the ethos and philosophy of Metartec?
A: Using the wealth of experience at Metartec, we say yes, knowing we can engineer a solution for a critical power application. Over the past 10 years we have demonstrated the capability by completing projects in a timeframe that others could not achieve for the budget.
Q3: What has made Metartec so successful?
A: The people. Being customer focused and dealing person to person. When we started, we only had the reputation of each person in the start-up, no recognised company name, no brand, no own product.
It would have been so easy to copy others, but we had a strategy of people, innovation, low overheads and open protocol products.
Q4: What has made you so successful as a member of the Metartec team?
A: As answered by Steve – Any success we have is a result of hard work by my colleagues and myself. I believe you need to have faith in yourself and what you do.
A: As answered by Steve’s colleagues – Steve is very driven. Time and time again he has shown that there is always a solution to any problem, even if the answer isn’t clear at first. It takes someone with a clear vision, integrity, honesty and humility to inspire his colleagues the way he does which is why Metartec is so innovative.
Q5: Where do you see Metartec in 10 years’ time (e.g. markets and products)?
A: We have a growing maintenance contract base; excellent high efficiency replacement products and we have now added high specification products designed for data centres, so I see a period of growth with continued product development. We will continue to develop software to ensure the high credence service experience continues for our customers.
Q6: What are the biggest challenges you have faced through Metartec?
A: We have been through the initial growth, equalisation and then a new period of growth. We have added roles, changed systems and processes as we could afford to. Eoin Ryan, our FD, always says the job is finished once we get paid, so no business at any cost. Add into the above that everyone has lives outside of work and, no matter what happens, we still need to ensure we meet and exceed our customer contractual expectations.
Q7: What are the biggest changes you have seen in the UPS industry over the last 30 years?
A: Technology has changed immensely, equipment is much smaller, costs less per kVA than it ever did so, you must differentiate your offer to stand out from the crowd.
Q8: What has been your proudest moment working for Metartec?
A: Several moments stand out. First Metartec branded products being installed, winning some of the national contracts and the many containerised UPSs, generators and energy centres we have manufactured.
Q9: As a director and someone that has managed people for a long time, what do you think is the most important factor in motivating a team?
A: I like to think I work within a team by advising, collaborating and facilitating so Metartec achieves
its aim. To be part of the team, you must be empathetic.
Q10: What steps has Metartec taken to ensure that it is acting as a responsible member of society?
A: Within the business we promote electrical energy efficiency through new products, end of life replacement and continually advise customers on how to reduce the cost of ownership. Equipment that is removed is broken down into the raw materials and recycled. Metartec supports a collection of male and female amateur and professional athletes with sponsorship. The cost of training and competing in various sports cause talent to leave their sport and take up paid employment. Metartec want to help ‘power their future’ by helping them reach their full potential. In the past, we have organised fundraising initiatives e.g. with ‘Home to Rome’ and Worldvision with an off-grid PV system supplied to a Ugandan School. Chikumo Fiseko, our Sales & Marketing Executive, has introduced a charity of the month which changes each month and is selected by a colleague.