What’s your role here at Midstream?
I’m a Project Manager here in our Italian Office. So, my main role is pulling together all the details and requirements of a project when it comes in. Then I follow it all the way through to make sure it happens.
I manage our Lighting Designers too. I work with, and support, them to come up with each project’s design solution.
Once they have, it’s my responsibility to build all the project’s technical support materials. These contain everything the installer will need to complete the project onsite, such as the right aiming of the lights.
I’m also the first point of contact for any questions the customer or installer may have during the installation too.
How did you end up at Midstream and how long have you been in the business?
As part of my University degrees, especially my Masters, I’d studied engineering lighting in depth. So, I already had a great deal of knowledge in all of the scientific, technical, and regulatory aspects involved. I’d also gained a lot of hands-on experience with things like CAD software. So, I had the right background.
For the final part of my degree, I came here to do an internship. After a week I was offered a six-month contract as a Lighting Designer. This then became a permanent role. After around 18 months I was promoted to Project Manager to oversee all the other designers.
You’re based in our R&D HQ in Italy. Tell us more about the Italian team and office.
Paolo Corno, our Technical Director and Co-founder, oversees the entire operation here. He’s developed a real ‘family’ feel amongst the team so we’re all there to support each other. There’s just the right mix of professionalism and informality to make sure we get the work done to the highest standards possible and enjoy it. Together they make it a great place to work.
We’re quite a young team. This reflects the unique way Midstream works. We prefer to develop and train our people from scratch – in the Midstream way. We think it’s one of the reasons we’re the industry’s No.1 player. We recruit either straight from University or after someone has had their first job if we believe they’re the right fit for us. And when they join, they spend four to six months training on our way of working and products before they start any actual work.
Having a tightly integrated team is extremely essential for the beginning to end product development and design we do. Everyone here is involved in the process. So, we can respond very quickly to clients’ needs and develop solutions and new best-in-class products if that’s what’s needed.
How many lighting projects do you think you’ve been involved with?
It’s so many now, I’ve lost count. I’d say I’ve been involved in around 90% of all our projects in some way or the other, but so have most of our team, we’re an extremely slick machine supporting clients right the way through the lighting process.
What’s been the most memorable project you have worked on?
One of the most memorable that stands out was also one of the most challenging.
A German company, Fraport, had taken control of 14 Greek airports. They all needed a considerable amount of overall upgrading– including their lighting.
That made it a big single project made up of 14 inter-related projects. So, for example, an engineering or process change in one airport could have a knock-on effect for the rest, including their lighting.
This meant we had to go through multiple lighting design revisions. As Project Manager, it was my role to make sure all the revisions tracked through to all our designs for each airport. That made it an extra big challenge. And I’m very proud we got all of it 100% right. It was also one of the first times I’d had the opportunity to propose the location of new poles. Seeing something there in real life that you’d designed on paper is very cool.
What do you find most challenging?
We’ve always got lots of things going on, and new things coming in. Sometimes lead times are very short too. So, keeping everything up to date and being able to respond to any question on any of them, at any time, is a challenge. I’ve got that logical sort of brain though that responds to it – even down to remembering how a particular client likes to receive their documentation.
You do a lot of site visits. Why is that important for Midstream?
Clients and installers find it very reassuring to have a qualified engineer there on site. If anything needs sorting, 99 times out of a 100, we can do it there and then in minutes. There’s no need for emails going backwards and forwards.
It also gives you the time to develop real relationships with people. They’re not just a project or a number on a spread-sheet. They are people and like being treated as people. That’s a big plus point for us versus our competition.
It’s also hugely important and useful for us. If we’re launching a new product, nothing beats being there to see it in action, out of the lab. We can also make sure a project installation comes to life the way we intended. We do this for projects big and small.
Delivering quality is at our heart. It’s one of the key things we guarantee our clients.
Tell us a little about you outside of work? What do you get up to?
I love to travel, but my main passion is motorsports. Formula 1 to MotoGP, I love it all. Just don’t get me talking about Hamilton versus Rossi. I know who’s best!