Genergy Operations Director Astrid Forbes
Genergy South Africa has a big and growing team, doing the good work of renewable energy in the country. There are engineers and sales people, photovoltaic specialists and project managers, installers and electricians, operational managers and CEO’s. It’s time to get to know who these people are in the team and what makes Genergy click.
First up is the Genergy Operations Director Astrid Forbes.
Astrid, how long have you been working for Genergy for?
I’ve been with Genergy from the very beginning, being March 2008.
What is your position, and how do you see you role within the company? What exactly do you do?
Officially I handle the business operations. It’s a broad term and incorporates all aspects of the business. As we are relatively small, I find that I am constantly pulled in all directions. I love this aspect as everyday presents new challenges, and every day I learn something new.
What is the best thing about working for Genergy?
No matter how challenging the day is, in the back of my mind I know that we are doing the right thing for the right reasons.
So what is the most challenging thing working for Genergy?
Managing people’s and client’s expectations. Our solutions are complicated and sensitive – every job has it’s own set of parameters so there is no plug and play solution.
What has been the biggest triumph for Genergy?
I think we’ve had a few. We managed to survive the mass of new-comers into our field who undercut us and flooded the market with sub standard equipment. We have the largest Solarthermal Heat Pump Hybrid Solution in the Southern Hemisphere on one of the mines, as well as successfully implementing a solar PV system for the first all-girls boarding school in South Sudan, in the middle of a coup d’état.
The biggest triumph for Astrid?
Surviving an Eskom Contract for the roll out of 6000 Solar Water heaters in Johannesburg and giving birth to my third child at the start of the project. Managing this kind of contract and having to be away from home was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. Not sure if this is a triumph per say, but it did remind me that nothing is impossible.
What has been the most discouraging thing working in the renewable energy sector?
Constantly having to justify investing in the life span of the equipment as opposed to getting the cheapest item on the market. Explaining what sustainability really means and often being let down but how little this aspect is considered.
What does an average day consist of for Astrid at Genergy?
Drinking at least 4 cups of coffee (no sugar, with cold pressed organic virgin coconut oil!), listening to Terry’s (Terry Billson, Genergy CEO) strategic take on the day, looking at the exchange rate and sighing, looking at cash flow, crisis management, installation teams coordination, putting together proposals, updating traffic reports, sales team meetings and visiting potential clients. Checking stock, ordering stock, putting together product manuals, answering your questions and looking for new opportunities.
That coffee sounds really good. With all busy companies there are always good times among the work and stress. How does Genergy wind down and chill as a company.
We have a gym, so some frustrations can be worked off there!
Where do you see yourself in 2020?
In our office in Mauritius … or just really making a difference from our office in PE.