What’s your background and experience? And how does this qualify you to lead Powercor’s lighting control division?

“I didn’t leave school to be a lighting controls engineer. I don’t think anyone does,” says Jake. “I left school to be a golf pro.”

As a golf pro for two years, Jake was good, just not good enough. Luckily, he was mature enough to realise that at a young age which meant he wasn’t chasing a dream that wasn’t there.

Despite that disappointment, he considers himself lucky.

“My uncle’s best friend ran a controls company, and was looking for an apprentice. I was there for 12 years and have never looked back,” Jake continued.

In those 12 years Jake went from apprentice to commissioning engineer, leading on projects and helping with sales and other aspects of the business.

“I was dipping my toe in all aspects of the business because I wanted to see how a business is run and how things work. And I was also keen to learn about controls; how they worked, what you could do with them, how to work out what was best for a client,” he says.

As a 19 year old, Jake admits he didn’t initially want to work hard. But those 12 years instilled a strong work ethic and, equally as important, he found something he was genuinely passionate about.

“I started to get really interested in lighting and controls,” says Jake. “How to create an environment for clients that worked really well for them became a real passion. I’ve worked on some amazing projects; big colours effects, museums, shopping centres, stadiums, all sorts of things. I’ve even done an oil HQ in Africa. So yes, it’s been an eventful time and I wouldn’t change it for a second.”

He then left the company to join one of the largest light manufacturer in the country as their UK project manager for lighting controls. In the two and a half years he was there, he gained invaluable experience of the manufacturing side of the industry.

This experience included the pre-planning, what takes to get a job up and running, liaising with the electricians, liaising with his own engineers to make sure everything was all on track. So each project, from point of sale to delivery was all down to Jake.

“That experience really helped to round me,” says Jake. “When you’re programming, you think you are a bit special but it’s important to realise that you are just one part of a long chain of events that needs to work seamlessly for a project to be delivered.”

Then Powercor came knocking and Jake decided to take on the new challenge of heading up their controls division and to ‘take the Powercor business further’. A role he couldn’t turn down.

“With 14 years of industry experience, I felt like I had the grounding I needed for such a move,” said Jake. “Powercor has an ambition and excitement that runs through everyone. Our CEO, Chris, who’s been here 25 years still gets excited about the business, about doing a brilliant job for clients. He loves it.

It’s infectious and I’m still very passionate. I’ll walk past a building with my wife and kids and start talking about the lighting. Needless to say, they don’t share my passion!” Jake says.

Although Jake hasn’t been with Powercor for long, he feels very positive. He realises it’s going to be hard work but it’ll be fun too.

“As a company we invest massively in what we do. We have a great apprenticeship scheme. We have a great future because of our attitude towards our clients. We’re looking to be number one and I think we’ll get there,” he says.

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