STEVE Hoffman, the general manager at Eurolux in Linbro Park, Johannesburg, started out his career as an electrician working for a contracting firm before he moved into the lighting industry. Always smiling and quick to laugh, Steve is a people person of the first order. He has a genuinely pleasant disposition and a positive outlook on life that is contagious so it is not surprising that, over the past three decades, he has forged enduring working relationships with clients and colleagues alike.
Sparks: Where were you educated?
SH: I matriculated at Technical High School Potchefstroom and went on to do an electrical apprenticeship at Vaal Reefs Gold Mine in Orkney.
Sparks: How long have you been involved in the electrical industry?
SH: A long time! I’ve been in this industry since 1982 – that’s 34 years.
Sparks: When and where did you start your career?
SH: I started out as an apprentice electrician in 1982. After I qualified, I worked as a contractor for two years. In 1986 I joined Lascon Lighting in Potchefstroom where I worked as a sales consultant until I was appointed as the manager of Lascon’s Nelspruit branch in 1994. In 2003 I started as a sales consultant with Eurolux and was appointed as general manager in 2014.
Sparks: What are the greatest changes you have seen over the years?
SH: Besides the obvious changes in IT and telecommunications, the changes in light sources over the past few years have rapidly moved from traditional incandescent lamps to compact fluorescent lamps to the constantly evolving LED technology, which is fast becoming the norm in lighting applications.
Sparks: What major projects have you worked on and what is your greatest accomplishment?
SH: I have been fortunate enough to have worked on numerous projects with our clients over the years but to have been part of a winning team at Eurolux and helping to build the brand, has been the most satisfying.
Sparks: Who has been your inspiration or have you had a mentor who has influenced your career?
SH: My mother and father.
Sparks: What, to your mind, is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at this time?
SH: There are so many importers of lighting and electrical products in South Africa at present and many of these products do not comply with South African national regulations, specifically from a safety and minimum standards perspective. We come across new brands almost weekly.
Whilst price is always an important factor, especially under the current economic conditions, we need to ensure that our customers fully understand the long term benefits of supporting the established brands.
Sparks: What do you enjoy most about your job?
SH: I enjoy the fact that I am constantly busy, always on the go.
Sparks: How do you motivate your staff?
SH: By always being positive, leading by example and avoiding negativity.
Sparks: Would you advise a person leaving school to enter the electrical industry? And why?
SH: Yes, I would, because there are so few good electricians out there, plus there will always be a demand for electrical products.
Sparks: What is your advice to electrical contractors and/or electrical engineers?
SH: Learn more about the correct lighting applications because good lighting will always add value – from both an aesthetics and functionality perspectives – to any building.
Sparks: What is your favourite quote?
SH: “Give every person more in use value than you take from them in cash value.” – Wallace Wattles.
Sparks: Name three things on your ‘bucket list’ (things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).
SH: Three things on my bucket list that spring to mind are: To finally complete my home renovations; to take my singing in the shower further; and to tour Scotland.