Age 31

Where are you based at the moment (who do you work for)?

 I am based in Johannesburg, and I work for Technopol SA.

In what year did you complete your honours degree?


What path did you follow before ending up with your current company?

Thanks to Prof Smallwood, I was fortunate to meet and work for a big property developer, who had developed an innovative building technology. I was intrigued by the economic and environmental solutions he had also come up with. My time at the not-so-startup allowed me to get involved in a lot of work most graduates don’t get to enjoy till much later in their careers. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, so I kept learning and being taught about all fields related to what we were undertaking... We unfortunately reached a stage where I felt I could not add more value, so I left the company. I was then offered to join another startup in the innovative building technology space, and I jumped on it without blinking. This time around, we were more of contractors, so there was plenty to learn again. We did some great stuff, but we could not either make the breakthroughs I had hoped for, so I once again found myself back on the couch… Throughout all these years, both companies I had worked for had collaborated with my current employer, who is also involved with innovative building technologies, my now-growing field of expertise. I was offered a position, and I once again accepted before blinking!

What is your current position and what does the role entail?

Technopol specialises in energy-saving materials. We are looking forward to the day when all buildings in the country will be insulated. This however requires a different approach to building/renovating and a new set of skills. I am a SPAM (Special Product Application Manager) – the Special part is a joke that is starting to stick–, which mostly consists of assisting our customers – contractors – with specifications, training, quality control, and finding solutions to problems they encounter during their projects. We sometimes deal with warranties, so there is a lot of reading involved. We do a lot of material/system tests, which are always fun to watch. I also never miss a chance to find new clients and try to sell them one of our wonderful products.

What advice would you give a current construction management student?

Take every opportunity that comes your way with two hands and make the best of it. If you are lucky enough to find one that is in line with what you like, you might want to use your legs to grip on it tighter. Learn relentlessly to become very good at something useful to society; make lots of friends along the way; do the right thing and do things right, and you will never couch-surf for too long.

What was your favourite module?

I would say KBM (Construction Management). The Painful Professor keeps you entertained and forces you to look at things very practically. It also helped that cramming his lectures would not automatically lead to good grades, which I was not good at.

Who was your favourite lecturer?

It is a tie between Chris Allen and Prof. Smallwood. They have different teaching styles, but both very effective.

What are your plans for the next 5 to 10 years?

I see our company expanding on the African continent, so I should be very busy making sure our customers get all the technical support they need to achieve success. I also run a startup with my brother. I take care of the boring business stuff, and he deals with the tough technological problems. I surely hope we would have made some reasonable returns on our time and pennies in a few years!