Rhodam Evans, the product manager at Major Tech for the past eight years, has notched up numerous successes in product development and the launch of a new range of switches and sockets.
Rhodam’s late father, David Evans, was well-respected in the electrical industry and he left big shoes for his son to fill. Rhodam has done that with resolute determination and not a small amount of old school integrity along with the good fortune of being mentored by CEO of Major Tech, Pat Shaw.
Sparks: Where were you educated?
RE: I matriculated at St. Johns College in Johannesburg and then went to Wits University where I graduated with a B Com in Management and Industrial Psychology.
Sparks: How long have you been involved in the electrical industry?
RE: I’ve been in this industry for 12 years.
Sparks: When and where did you start your career?
RE: I started at Schneider Electric in 2004. I was with Schneider Electric for four years during which time I was most fortunate to be selected for the company’s two-year Marco Polo training programme, which was set up to train and develop skills of junior employees. I spent one year in Paris and one year in Barcelona where I was positioned as country support for the Western European and African divisions, I then spent two years at the Johannesburg office where I was involved in market research for Southern Africa.
Sparks: What are the greatest changes you have seen over the years?
RE: The greatest – and possibly the scariest – change is the way that the consumers’ focus has changed from being quality driven to being purely price orientated. This is fuelling the influx of inferior products, which are potentially dangerous if not lethal, into the South African market.
Sparks: What major projects have you worked on and what is your greatest accomplishment?
RE: Being in product development has meant that I have been fortunate to be involved in a number of projects. The one I am most proud of is the introduction of Major Tech’s range of Veti switches.
Sparks: Who has been your inspiration or have you had a mentor who has influenced your career?
RE: My greatest inspiration is my father, David Evans, because knowing where he came from and what he managed to do in his life will always make me want to be better – I don’t think I showed it very well when he was around but I will always remember him for it.
My most notable mentor would have to be Pat Shaw who has helped me in my understanding of business from product development to sales and it is due to his guidance and support that I am where I am today.
Sparks: What, to your mind, is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at this time?
RE: Educating the consumer is definitely one of the greatest challenges because the market is only as accessible as the publications they read and the news they hear and see.
Sparks: What do you enjoy most about your job?
RE: I would have to say that dealing with suppliers is very gratifying because I have had so many interesting and eye opening experiences that can only be understood by experiencing them first hand.
Sparks: How do you motivate your staff?
RE: As product manager, the only person I have to motivate is myself ... and because I am passionate about my work, that’s very easy to do.
Sparks: If you could ‘do it all again’, would you change anything? If so, what would that be?
RE: I’m happy with my life and so to change anything would be taking an unnecessary risk.
Sparks: Would you advise a person leaving school to enter the electrical industry? And why?
RE: Definitely – there are always new and exciting innovations in the electrical industry and if you have the knowledge and drive then there are no boundaries to how successful you can be.
Sparks: What is your advice to electrical contractors and/or electrical engineers?
RE: Make sure that you listen and learn because you can never know enough and you should never stop learning.
Sparks: What is your favourite quote?
RE: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” - Theodore Roosevelt.
Sparks: Name three things on your ‘bucket list’ (things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).
RE: Travelling comes first, second and third. Each destination has different experiences and so to prioritise when you have no expectations is very difficult.