Aug 18th, 2021

Meet Josh Elderfield – the latest addition to our sports team

In this Meet the Team we’d like to introduce you to Josh. A Sports Journalism graduate, athletics champion, and a B2B sales expert – we had to have Josh on our side. Read on to find out how he competed at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium long before all the world’s superstars.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’ve always loved sports and I’m still a keen long-distance runner. I’ve another side to myself as well though and I studied Creative Media at college. So, when it came time to think about going to University I decided that a degree in Sports Journalism would be a great way to combine both of these loves.

After finishing my degree I stayed on at University, firstly as Vice-President of the Students’ Union and then as President.

When it came time to join the ‘real world’ again, a friend suggested I think about going into sales. If I remember rightly, they said ‘You’re personable, you like to talk, in fact, you never stop talking. Give it a go’. I did and haven’t regretted it at all.

The first job I applied for was at Virgin Media as a Field Sales Executive. My manager-to-be took a gamble and hired me, even though I had no experience. It was a gamble that paid off for us both.

After Virgin, I moved into B2B sales and worked in the fire and security maintenance industry.

A couple of years later I saw an advert for my ideal role, one that would allow me to mix my passion for sports and skills at sales. I applied straightaway, and that’s how I came to work at Midstream.

Why did you decide to join Midstream?

As I said, it’s my ideal role. I can draw on all my sports experience to start conversations and build relationships with people. For example, just mentioning the fact that I’ve competed at a venue before can open the door for me. Then, because the solutions we provide are so great and we can prove it, the sale is already on its way to completion.

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

I’m still fairly new to the world of lighting, but I can already see Midstream stands out from the competition because of the bespoke services we offer and the quality of our products. We invest a lot of time and money working with clients to make sure we get things right for them – first time. The fact that we have so much confidence in our products we offer clients a free 10-Year Sports Warranty is a fantastic USP too. Together they give us an edge over the competition that they just can’t match.

What is your role at Midstream and what excites you about it?

As Sports Sales Executive my role at Midstream is to find and develop new business for the sports side of the business. We want to help all sports grounds from grass roots right up to the big stadiums get the most out of their facilities with LED Lighting.
The next stage of my career here will be getting out there and visiting sites and clients. That’s what I’m really excited about and looking forward to. I’ve already been on a few site visits and really enjoyed them

What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?

This isn’t a project as such, but it still stands out as a memorable moment in my career.

A month or so after joining Virgin I wasn’t seeing any results. My older, more experienced colleagues were easily reaching their targets and finishing work at 5pm. I’d still be going door to door at 8pm wondering what I was doing wrong.

Then one evening, late at night, I made my first deal. The doubts vanished and I realised persistence and working ‘smarter not harder’ really do pay off. From that day I didn’t look back.

Fast forward a few months and I wasn’t just meeting my targets, I was exceeding them by 150%+. I was the highest performing salesperson and my colleagues were asking me what the secret of my success was. Obviously, this brought its financial rewards. It was more than that though. It was the satisfaction of knowing I’d come such a long way in a short time.

What’s your most memorable sporting moment been?

This is an easy one. I’ve had a certain amount of success running. I used to represent Kent in cross-country and track. I was the Kent County Schools Champion over 1,500m and 3,000m Steeplechase Champion. I was also ranked 89th in the UK’s top 100 over 3,000m. So I had a decent athletic career in my early years.

But one thing stands out so much higher for me.

I founded and ran the Huddersfield University Athletics Club for five years. In our second, year we were invited to compete at the National University Championships to be held at the newly-constructed London 2012 Olympic Stadium – before the Games took place.

We didn’t have the financial backing of the big sporting universities like Loughborough or Birmingham. So we had to raise the money for our 20 athletes to be able to stay and compete in London for four days. I organised all the fundraising events and logistics needed so we could take part.

To step out into what is an incredible stadium and to have been responsible for making a dream become a reality for 20 other students was such a satisfying feeling. Coming away with a medal was just a bonus.

What do you do in your spare time?

I still run and I’ve got two marathons coming up this year. I play the guitar too. I picked one up at the age of seven and I’ve never stopped.

Josh Elderfield, Sports Sales Executive at Midstream Lighting

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Aug 10th, 2021

Meet Louise Mahrra – our B2B marketing guru

In this issue of Meet the Team, we’re talking to Louise Mahrra – our Head of Marketing. With a career spanning nearly 25 years, she’s making us shine even brighter.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’ve heard my career described as both a staircase and a squiggly one. Basically, it’s been unconventional and somewhat unintentional. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I was going to be a B2B marketer. Who does?

I’ve had a very varied career and have been really lucky with the roles I’ve had because they’ve all exposed me to different areas of business. They’ve given me an awareness of how businesses operate from the ground up – across all departments. That certainly helps when you work in marketing and communications.

Spanning 25 years, my career has given me a thorough depth and breadth of experience across not just marketing, but all the areas that touch customers. So when I work through marketing activities, I’ve got an understanding of how messages will land with the audiences I’m trying to reach – across all roles and all levels.

Why did you decide to join Midstream?

From the very first phone call with the senior team at Midstream, I was excited by their passion for what they do, growth plans, and the company’s business potential. They’re a hugely ambitious team, and truly emphasise the value of people and the skills they bring to the business. I loved the idea of joining an entrepreneurial company with such an established level of credibility and industry presence that I can build on and help grow.

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

Having been here for less than two weeks, my first answer to this question is its focus on customers, quality, and longevity. The company cares about building partnerships with its customers. It gets ‘under the hood’ of their challenges and requirements and presents them with truly bespoke solutions that far exceed their expectations. It remains in step with its customers and continues to develop relationships with them so it can keep adding value to their businesses.

What is your role at Midstream and what excites you about it?

My role is Head of Marketing. What excites me the most about it is the sheer scale of opportunities across the varied markets and sectors the company works in. Midstream has had a really impressive and exciting history so far with great success not just in their specialist verticals, but also through their charitable work, associations, and partnerships.

Your previous roles have involved a variety of industries – from technology to aviation and sports. How do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

At the heart of all my roles has been a passion for storytelling and humanising B2B content so it speaks directly to people and provides them with knowledge, advice, and insights. The experiences I’ve gained throughout my career have given me a broad exposure to every element of the marketing engine – from the early days of print advertising and promotions, public and media relations, moving through to today’s ability to use marketing tech and data to create personalised experiences for individuals.

What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?

It has to be the “Sleep Well with Core” campaign I ran a few years back for a managed services IT company. The campaign was based on the key question “What’s keeping you up at night?”, and I went all out with the concepts and creative. I introduced three sheep as our woolly brand ambassadors, theming all our content around sleep. We had a “Sleep Patterns of IT Professionals” report, bedtime stories, and pillow talk videos/podcasts. It was so much fun to work on. But it was more than that. The results spoke for themselves in terms of ROI, brand awareness, and engagement – across partners, customers, staff, and industry media.

Tell us something your CV doesn’t.

I’m motivated by being able to support, nurture and mentor those around me. Over the years I’ve been able to help those around me – both in my team and outside work – to find success on their career path and achieve job satisfaction. I’ve been fortunate in my career to benefit from some amazing mentors and leaders who’ve inspired me and helped me become the person I am today. I’m proud to be able to pay that forward and use my experiences, inside and outside the workplace, to help nurture the next generation of talented individuals.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love road cycling, and my spare time, when I have it, is spent out on my bike. I also love baking and spend every weekend creating treats.

Louise Mahrra Head of Marketing Midstream Lighting

Louise Mahrra, Head of Marketing at Midstream Lighting

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July 30th, 2021

Meet Andrew Siveter – our new ‘go to’ man for any of your project questions

In this latest edition of ‘Meet the team’, we’re talking to Andrew Siveter – Project Manager at our London HQ. When it comes to any questions about your projects, he’ll have your answers.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I studied Geography at University in Birmingham. After graduating came the question of what I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher or a weatherman, the most obvious jobs for a Geography graduate. So, I took a gap year and travelled the world before having to decide what career I wanted.

When I got back from my travels, I found a role as a Health & Safety Executive. This didn’t involve using any of the things I’d learned at Uni. It did give me a good grounding in customer support and account management though.

Three years later I moved to one of the world’s leading solutions providers of energy-efficient temperature and humidity control management technologies for mission-critical applications.

For the first five years there, I worked as a Sales Service & Account Manager. This involved, amongst other things, managing subscription renewals of a portfolio of over 250 client sites with an annual contract value of £1.8 million.

I then moved to the UK Projects Department as a Project Manager. In this role, I was tasked with fully managing projects from placement to completion on a wide range of orders worth from £500 to £1M+, amongst other things. After four years I decided it was time to move on to a new company.

Why did you decide to join Midstream?

When I was looking for a new challenging position, one that would let me make the most of the qualifications and the skills and I’d learned, I saw the role at Midstream.

I took a look at the company website and was very impressed with what it had accomplished in such a short space of time and applied for the position. Things developed very rapidly from there.

I had a few conversations with Alex and Yuli – two of the Co-Founders – and the company’s Director of Sports James Brunt. Each time I spoke to someone I got more and more excited about the company, the job, and the opportunities the heavy investment Midstream makes in its staff and the potential for growth it would give me. I was sold – and when I was invited to join the company I accepted it ‘on the spot’.

What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?

I’ve not been with Midstream long enough to answer that with a project from here yet. In my previous role there is one project that stands out as having the highest potential risk.

A high street bank was upgrading its control systems at its Data Centre. My role as Project Manager was obviously to make sure everything ran smoothly. It was only two days into the project when I found out that the Data Centre handled every single one of the bank’s Visa transaction worldwide. Just one small mistake could cost them £trillions. I had to get everything 100% right, and I’m pleased to say I did.

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

This is a difficult question for me to answer now as I’m new to the floodlighting industry. If I compare Midstream to other companies I’ve worked with though, I’d say it is the level of professionalism and forward-thinking Midstream brings to everything it does. You can see this through the website, case histories, brochures, fully integrated systems, and everything it does.

If you look at the amount of new business the Sales team is bringing in, it’s obvious Midstream is set way above any of the competition.

What is your role at Midstream?

As a Project Manager, once the Sales team has secured a project, I have to make sure everything is in place and runs smoothly from sales to delivery and installation. So, I’m the main point of contact between Midstream, the client, and any subcontractors we’re working with.

I’ll be working closely with Midstream partner companies to help them deliver their projects in a similar way too.

I’m also responsible for guaranteeing all ongoing project records are fully up to date on our company systems, so anyone at any point can see the exact status of a job.

You’re used to working closely with clients, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

I think one of the most important aspects of managing a project is being there for people. They need to be able to get hold of you when they need you. You must have clear lines of communication to keep clients, suppliers, and contractors aware of what’s happening. Even if you don’t have any answers at that point, it’s exceedingly important they still know you’re working to get those answers. That constant communication builds trust, which in turn helps build growth.

Tell us something your CV doesn’t.

I got engaged to my now wife in Las Vegas. We would have done the whole ‘married by Elvis’ thing. However, both our sets of parents would have disowned us, or something even worse, if we did.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m a massive Liverpool FC fan and go to all their Championship League games. This costs a small fortune in petrol travelling up and down the M6. Then there’s the money spent getting to the games they play abroad. But they’re worth it, most of the time. Not that my Dad would agree as he’s a Chelsea fan through and through.

I’m a keen golfer too. You wouldn’t know that from my handicap though. It’s still in the 20s.

Andrew Siveter, Project Manager Midstream Lighting

Andrew Siveter, Project Manager at Midstream Lighting

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April 27th, 2021

The importance of strong maritime partnerships

We’ve asked Mark Nailer, our Maritime Manager for EMEA, to tell us all about what’s involved in being a Midstream partner, why building partnerships in the maritime world matters, how we support each other, and what we look for in a partner.

What being a maritime partner selling Midstream means

Firstly, a partner for us is not a company that just sells lots of our products in a market. To be a Midstream partner involves actually being ‘us’ in that market. That’s key. They need to share the same values as us, have the same philosophy when it comes to selling solutions and not simply products, and place quality plus customer satisfaction at the centre of all they do. Sometimes that will mean missing out on the ‘fast sell’ to ‘win bigger’ in the long term. That’s what we’re always prepared to do. We expect our partners to share that approach too.

As with any true, successful relationship trust has to be front and foremost also – and run both ways. Without that trust, the chances of your partnership enduring are probably pretty slim. It almost certainly won’t be as productive as it could be.

The importance of these partnerships

Within the Midstream Maritime team, Rory McBride, our US Maritime Manager based in the US, and I (in the UK) are responsible for all our maritime customers around the world. However, the maritime industry is very much driven by relationships. These relationships on the whole are made easier to form – even despite the introduction of new ‘tech’ such as Zoom – by being in the same location. So, to effectively cover the globe we need partners who can, for example, be onsite within a few hours and not days.

Here’s an example of this power of ‘being there’ I like to use when talking to prospective partners. We’d submitted a tender to an African port but hadn’t had any feedback from it. Around the same time, we’d recently joined forces with a new partner in the same country and we mentioned this to them. As luck would have it, our principal contact there happened to live only 20 minutes from the port. He got in touch with the person leading the tender. A few conversations later, we’d discovered why we’d not heard anything back – which mainly due to not having a local presence. Not only that, we were allowed to address their concerns and submit a new tender.

This shows how much port and terminal companies value local support and representation. They know and trust that if there’s a Midstream partner in that country they’ll get the same level of service, care, and quality that they’d get from us. They’ll get it where it can matter the most too – at the port.

A lot of the big deals we’re making now have been unlocked by having a quality presence in a market that makes customers trust us more

That’s the power of the Partnership Programme. It’s about finding allies who already have, or can easily forge, those relationships. They can then add further value for their customers by introducing them to us and all we have to offer.

The role training and education has to play with partners

Training and education are absolutely essential to our Partner Programme, and we take it very seriously. So seriously in fact we make it a real commitment for partners to take on.

We don’t simply send them a half-hour ‘slide show’ and some brochures. Our initial training programme alone takes several days to complete.

We’re probably market-leaders in terms of the amount of time and resources we invest in upskilling and educating our partners. As I said, we don’t want them to go off and just blindly make easy sales. We want them to truly understand the lighting market. That’s why our training programme is so comprehensive and is followed up by post-training sessions and 1-to-1 support.

Over the course of our partner training we make sure they really understand:

  • Our entire range of products – their features and benefits.
  • The areas and environment these products work in – and why.
  • Who they’re selling to and what’s important to them – the key challenges they have and how our solutions solve them.
  • Why Midstream is about selling solutions and not just products – the Midstream Difference.

We’ve also produced, and continue to add to and update, a whole raft of educational and support materials for our partners. I’m not just talking about a quick PowerPoint deck. You have to give partners all the tools you can to go out and confidently create solutions that add real value. So, we provide our partners with:

  • Sales collateral – to help them sell.
  • Creative assets such as imagery and videos – to help them promote Midstream products.
  • Webinars – to share knowledge in their market.
  • Blogs – to build their profile.
  • Case Studies – to show the power of Midstream solutions.
  • Social collaboration opportunities – to back them up.
  • Event/tradeshow support and guidance – great places to begin new relationships.
  • Leads – if we get leads in their area, we work with them to turn those leads into business.

By giving this level of training and support we’re enabling partners to go out and have intelligent conversations with prospects. Because that’s what you need when you’re a solutions-based sales organization. They allow you to get a real understanding of the issues the client is experiencing and develop a perfect solution to meet them. Doing that not only turns these prospects into customers – it’ll turn them into advocates and ambassadors for the Midstream brand.

Why we’re not just a manufacturer. We do more. We support, we guide, we work together

We do manufacture our products. What we provide customers with though are solutions to their needs. The products we make are only one element in delivering those solutions. This is something we make very clear to our partners from the beginning. An example we use to demonstrate this is the care and attention we take when it comes to lighting simulations for a tender.

Some of our competitors will do a lighting simulation based on an empty container yard – which makes their tender look great and can win them the business. But In real life, where yards are never empty and have containers that block light stacked eight high, they’ll fail to deliver what they’ve promised. We do our lighting simulations and modelling based on a full yard with its containers in place and create a solution that truly delivers what’s needed. We call that the Midstream Difference. This helps partners understand the value proposition of Midstream – it’s not just the quality on the manufacturing side but also the design and thoroughness of our solutions that count.

We also encourage partners and give them the opportunity to share their real-life stories – why they won or lost against a competitor, etc. Our partners love to exchange these experiences as they can give insights on what they can and should be doing to grow their business. We also make sure to incorporate these true-life experiences in our training modules.

In addition to all the training and marketing materials, we provide partners with we actively support them when it comes to gaining new business. I’ve mentioned sharing leads, we’re happy to do more than that. For example, we’ll work with them on, and be at, pitch presentations too – either ‘virtually’ or in-person when international travel restrictions allow – if needed.

What we look for in a partner

A partner is one of your team. So, exactly like employing any member of it one of the key considerations you need to take into account is ‘fit’. As I’ve said, you must share the same values and approach to business and customers. There needs to be mutual respect and trust also.

Having a maritime background, client base, and market presence are obviously important. What’s also important is if they can offer us support and opportunities in more than just one port at a time and can help us service major accounts across their whole region.

Geographical location is understandably important too. For example, we already have a great partner that covers Saudi Arabia. To try to squeeze more business from that area by adding new partners there would be counterproductive and erode the trust we have with our current partner. To gain more business in Saudi Arabia our focus is, as it should be, on supporting our trusted partner there.

We’ve found that the size of a company isn’t necessarily a great indicator as to whether they’ll make a great partner. Big isn’t always the best. Mid to small-sized companies can often make better partners. Because if your business is important to them, they’ll focus more on it.

What really matters is finding credible partners to work with. Partners you can invest time and money in to give them the tools to truly represent you and your brand in their market. Partners who, ideally, have an existing client portfolio of companies you’d like to work with.

Want to know more?

If you’re interested in becoming a Midstream partner, we’d love to hear from you. Just click on the button below and leave us your details, and we’ll quickly get back to you for an initial chat.

Mark Nailer, Maritime Manager EMEA - Midstream Lighting

Mark Nailer, EMEA Maritime Manager at Midstream Lighting

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April 21st, 2021

Meet Richard Chaplin – he’ll be finding us partners all around the world…

In this issue of Meet the Team, we’d like to introduce you to Richard Chaplin – our Head of Partnerships. Richard oversees the strategic development of our Partnership Programme – a programme he’s designing to drive further growth through our network of global partners.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I was born and raised in the beautifully verdant and diverse city of Bristol. At university, in Portsmouth, I studied German & International Business which included spending time studying in Germany. After graduating I worked in Germany for a while to fund a mini-gap year during which I travelled around Africa and Australia.

When I returned to the UK I started my first ‘real’ job working for an outdoor furniture manufacture, initially as their Internal Export Sales Executive for their German-speaking markets. I then moved into a client-facing role in the UK. From there I went ‘on the road’, in their German markets. I was then also given responsibility for Southern Europe, Asia, and Hong Kong. As you can imagine, with all the international travel, this was a pretty exciting role for someone not long out of University.

 

Richard Chaplin Head Of Partnerships

My career in professional lighting began when I was recruited by Thorn Lighting. At Thorn, my time was divided between two areas. I worked with project specifiers in the UK – architects, consultants, lighting designers – on their international projects. The other half for the role was working with our network of subsidiaries and channel partners across a number of markets – from the Baltics and Balkans to the US and Canada.

I then joined Thorn’s Middle East division and moved there to work with the commercial, technical, and back-office teams to reshape their sales organisation.

My next move was to Thorlux Lighting, part of the FW Thorpe Group, where I set up and ran their Middle East division.

Why did you decide to join Midstream?

I’d heard of Midstream of course, and when the opportunity came up to join the company as Head of Partnerships I decided to grab it with both hands.

One of the things that impressed me about Midstream was the people. It only employs specialists who are influencers at a high level in their markets. That gives Midstream real credibility in their key sectors.

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

As I’ve just said, the people. That’s not all though. The company stands out from the rest through its focus on its industry sectors – aviation, sports, maritime, and horticulture. Many companies start making luminaires, let’s say for airports. They start a project and get asked if they could supply some wall-mounted lights while they were at it and perhaps some downlights as well. Seeing this as an opportunity to increase turnover they end up losing focus on what they were good at to begin with, and start being ‘a Jack of all trades’.

That’s a very common model. It’s not Midstream’s approach though.

Midstream has stuck to its core sectors of expertise and hasn’t diversified from them. That means a Midstream customer is getting a high-quality solution that’s been fine-tuned to the needs of their market. It also means the customer is getting advice and benefitting from the knowledge of experts who are immersed in that sector and that industry. So, the Midstream value proposition for the customer is massive.

What is your role at Midstream and what excites you about it?

My role is Head of Partnerships – a new role for the company focusing on creating a new Partnership Programme to support all our existing and new partners to succeed all over the world.

The difficult part of the role won’t be finding the businesses that want to become our partners, the company and its products speak for themselves. The exciting part, and the challenge, is going to be finding the right companies, in the right markets that have the right attitude. It’ll then be all about nurturing them and giving them the right tools to be successful and to be able to represent Midstream like an extension of our organisation. Our ultimate goal? Midstream product user satisfaction to the same high level, regardless of country, vertical, or language. Because a satisfied customer is one who’ll happily place their next order with Midstream and tell their peers about us.

What I’m also excited about and really looking forwards to is working with people who are immersed in their industries and know what they’re talking about. I’m not an ‘industry’ person. I’m a ‘lighting’ person with exposure to various industries. So hopefully, I can help share knowledge within the group and further enhance our position as a complete solutions provider to the customer.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?
I’ve had 20+ years of working with partners – including channel partners – all around the globe. Some of these have been dedicated to industry verticals, some generalists. So I’ve got lots of experience of how these companies operate and how people work in different cultures and settings. That all stands me in good stead for this role. As I said, the secret to helping Midstream grow will be identifying, appointing, and developing partner companies that already have, or are prepared to invest in, the right mix of tools in their bag to do the best job for us in each particular industry sector.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

I’ve had 20+ years of working with partners – including channel partners – all around the globe. Some of these have been dedicated to industry verticals, some generalists. So I’ve got lots of experience of how these companies operate and how people work in different cultures and settings. That all stands me in good stead for this role. As I said, the secret to helping Midstream grow will be identifying, appointing, and developing partner companies that already have, or are prepared to invest in, the right mix of tools in their bag to do the best job for us in each particular industry sector.

What defines a good partner?

I believe that a good partner is one where you play an important part in their business. Biggest isn’t always best – it depends on their portfolio. But I think ideally you need to be the only product of your type they represent. Mid-sized companies can be the most effective partners in most cases. Companies that have a reasonable amount of resource but also not so many products that you get lost in their ‘pile of catalogues’ are ideal.

If you’re important to them, say you represent more than 20% of their turnover, they’ll be more engaged with you. They’ll spend the time watching your webinars, reading your marketing materials, product brochures, and will take note of new product updates. Why? Because that’s time well spent and will help them sell more of your products. So, that’s the type of partner I’ll be targeting.

Tell us something your CV doesn’t

I’ve been a long-suffering Tottenham Hotspur fan since the age of eight – when they were actually quite a good team. I’ve waited for over 35 years for a title victory. I’m still waiting… patiently, just.

What do you do in your spare time?

I used to run a lot, competing in 5K, 10K, half marathons, and I ran the London Marathon in 2008. I also used to be an avid rower. Nowadays, I run when I can, go kayaking and canoeing with my son, and play golf when I have time – which isn’t as often as I’d like. I also help out at my son’s cub scouts group and enjoy taking part in their hiking, camping, and general outdoor activities.

Richard Chaplin - Head of Partnerships Midstream Lighting

Richard Chaplin, Head of partnerships at Midstream Lighting

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March 31st, 2021

Meet Massimo Forlani – he loved working with us so much as a client… he’s joined us

In this issue of ‘Meet the Team’, we’d like to introduce you to Massimo Forlani. Formerly a client, he’s now our Sales Area Manager for Italy. Find out why he’s joined us, what he’ll be doing, and more.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I now work in sales, but I wasn’t a ‘natural born salesman’. Far from it. I started my working life in the technical office of a small electromechanical and electronic manufacturing company. I suppose the best way to describe my role there is I was the one that had to ‘do a little bit of everything’. We all have to start somewhere!

As my role progressed, I became more involved in supporting the company’s designers and dealing with our suppliers if they had any technical issues. I enjoyed this ‘customer’ focused aspect of my role so much, it seemed to naturally transition into joining the sales team. I must admit though, it was a little painful at first. I didn’t know enough about the practical element of sales. That was easily remedied, however, with training and ‘on-the-job’ support.

As a salesman, the first projects I became involved with almost straightaway were in airport lighting. Firstly, in power supply solutions, then remote control systems. I then moved on to the whole wide range of airport ground lighting equipment – apron floodlights included!

Massimo Forlani Sales Manager Midstream Lighting
Why did you decide to join Midstream?

My first contact with Midstream was actually as a client. I was impressed, not only with the outstanding quality of Midstream’s products of course but especially the team and the way it worked.

After completing several projects with them, our paths crossed again last year, and we were both looking for something new. I was looking for a new role and they were looking for a new salesperson to join them. The result? We’re working together again, but as colleagues now!

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

As an ex-client, this is an easy one to answer. Midstream has developed an amazing range of sector-specific products. That’s not all though. The company knows that ‘off-the-shelf’ products won’t do. That’s why they work so closely with clients to deliver tailor-made solutions for their needs.

What is your role at Midstream and what excites you about it?

I’m working as a Sales Area Manager alongside Beppe, our Country Manager. My areas of responsibility include the centre, south, and our Italian islands such as Sicily and Sardinia. I’ve worked in these areas before in my previous airport-related roles. So, it will be great to meet up and work with all my old contacts and colleagues again.

I’ll also be working across our other key sectors – sports, maritime, and horticulture. I’m sure this will be challenging to start with, but it’ll be a great opportunity to learn new things and skills too.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

By maintaining and expanding my ‘network’. Creating a network – whether on a personal or work level – is massively important when it comes to business. Having friends and colleagues to support you, and who you can support too, can make achieving your goals so much easier. Without a network, doing your job and getting results isn’t impossible, it takes a lot longer though.

What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?

There are so many different moments and projects it’s difficult to pick out the single most memorable one. I think I can summarise them by saying it’s all been about experiencing and being part of the pioneering transition to LED lighting across Italian airports. Just like Midstream, I suppose.

What do you do in your spare time?

With the COVID-19 lockdown leaving us little to do apart from being at home and working, I’d have to answer that going to the beach is my main pleasure at the moment. I love reading too – so that’s an escape from these awful times.

What I can’t wait for though, once we are all allowed to get out and about properly again, is being able to visit the cinema, art exhibitions, museums, and our beautiful cities again with my wife Donatella. It seems such a long time since we’ve been able to do any of these things.

I hope everyone gets to do what they love as soon as possible. We all need it! So, stay safe and well until then.

Massimo Forlani Sales Manager Midstream Lighting

Massimo Forlani - Sales Area Manager Italy at Midstream Lighting

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Sep 23rd, 2020

Introducing Mark Nailer – our new maritime man

In this latest ‘Meet the team’ we’d like to introduce you to Mark Nailer. The most recent member to join the Midstream crew, Mark will be responsible for all things maritime across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Could you tell us a little about your maritime background and experience in the industry?

My maritime experience goes back to when I first left university. I joined Kelvin Hughes, a maritime engineering company that manufactured radar equipment for private, commercial, and military vessels.

After a couple of years there I decided to go back to university and study for an MSc in Marketing.

Fast forward several years, and a few marketing and sales jobs in places like AXA PPP Healthcare, and I joined the Hyster Yale Group. At Hyster, I’ve spent the last five years working on reach stackers, empty container handlers, and forklift trucks used in port and terminals. During this time I became the Industry Manager for Ports and Terminals.

Mark Nailer, Maritime Manager EMEA - Midstream Lighting
What made you want to join us?

Midstream is a company that’s already achieved so much, in just ten years. It’s a dynamic and innovative team that’s totally focused on customers and solving their needs. I want to be part of the next chapter in the Midstream story and help shape the future of the business. The energy in the office is amazing too. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

What will your new role at Midstream be? And what regions will you be looking after?

I’m going to be responsible for growing the business within ports and terminals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It is a large area, but thanks to the partner network we’re developing, I’m confident we’ll be able to win and service customers from all parts of the region.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors. How do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

I’ve been working with dealers for over seven years now and I’ve picked up many tips along the way! One of the most important being that you need to build relationships through respect, honesty, trust, and shared success.

Partners need to be treated as true partners and not merchants. That’s key to creating teams who can work together and put the needs of customers first above anything else.

And you need to treat customers the way you’d like to be treated if you were them.

You’ve always been focused on driving operational efficiencies to the ports and terminals you worked with. Now with a focus on LED lighting how will this help efficiencies?

Reliability is everything for ports and terminals. Our customers need to have solutions they can trust. Having an operation that’s capable of working 24/7 is critical to their success.

Efficiency isn’t just measured by the boxes moved though. It’s also about the number of lights used to achieve the required levels and the amount of energy spent to do it. In both cases LED lighting is light years ahead of metal halide and high-pressure sodium systems. LED lighting requires much less maintenance too – another big plus point in its favour.

You’ve worked all over the world. What’s been the most memorable project you have worked on?

That’s a great question and for me it’s an easy one to answer, because I came up with it and championed it from the beginning to end.
In 2018 Hyster made history by being the first OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to sail up and down the Rhine on a barge laden with over £1m of materials handling equipment to showcase to ports along the river.

Over four weeks we sailed the barge from the Netherlands, through Germany, France, and down to Switzerland. And we stopped off in each country to do four massive live events, as well as a number of smaller, more personalised, stops along the way. If you can imagine the complexity of such a project and then double it, still you wouldn’t be there.

The whole event was a massive success. We smashed our return on investment targets. We won a number of very high-value new customers. We all came away with some wonderful memories. And I got to experience living on a barge for weeks. All in all – amazing.

How does Midstream differentiate itself from the competition?

Midstream is unique in the market. From design to delivery and installation, the whole process is handled in-house. This means our customers get the benefit of the team’s experience, innovation, and focus from start to finish. We’re not a ‘generalist’ company either. We work in our four sectors only – Maritime, Aviation, Sports, and Horticulture – so our research and development is centred on just these customers. And our solutions stand out head and shoulders above the competition because of that.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love the idea of having spare time! My wife and I are very lucky to have two boys, aged seven and four. So, any time not working is spent with the boys bike riding, playing rugby, and football. I do love to read though, and my guilty pleasure is 20-30 minutes with a good book before bed.

And finally, for a little fun, tell us something about yourself we don’t already know?

I’ll tell you a couple.

Firstly, I’ve got a greenhouse where I grow all sorts of weird and wonderful chillies, ranging from the exotic to the just downright dangerous.

Secondly, when the stars align and I do get a few hours for myself, I love to go out to my local lake and do a little fly fishing. I’m still only learning, so whether I bring home that evening’s supper is still a bit hit and miss. But I love the peace and quiet that being on the water’s edge gives. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Sep 4th, 2020

Meet Marco Cavallotti – our Italian Maestro

In this latest edition of ‘Meet the team’, we’re talking to Marco Cavallotti – Project Manager at our Italian R&D office. He came to do his university internship with us, and we were so impressed we’ve kept hold of him ever since. Find out why, and what a key role he plays in Midstream.

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!

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July 22nd, 2020

Meet Hetty Leiwy – from A to Z, she pulls everything together

As the saying goes, ‘If the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, it can only lead to chaos.’. That’s never a problem here at Midstream.

In this latest edition of ‘Meet the team’, we’re talking to Hetty Leiwy. A key member of our technical sales team. From a client’s first contact to seeing a project fully up and running, Hetty makes sure everyone knows what and when they need to do to make it happen.

Hetty Leiwy, Bid Manager - Midstream Lighting

How did you end up working for Midstream?

After finishing my Masters Degree in Physics, I worked in a back-up power and cooling systems company. I wanted to move back to London, however. So, I started looking for a similar technical role in the area. When I met the Midstream team, I instantly knew I wanted to work here. The company’s cutting edge products, dedicated people, and fast growth make it such an exciting place to work.

How long have you been in the business?

Just over a year now. But it doesn’t feel that long. It’s really flown by.

What’s your role here at Midstream?

I work in technical sales. This involves reviewing a client’s requests. And then working with our teams to make sure the solution they arrive at meets the project’s needs 100%. I’m also responsible for putting together tender packages.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

We’ve always got a large volume of project requests coming in. We have sector specialists in our Design and Engineering Teams though. That makes it easy to decide who is best suited to pick each project up. It’s only ever a challenge when something is so different it may need input from multiple teams. We’re always ready to help support each other and work together though. So, even then, it’s a challenge easily solved.

You take a very detailed approach to your work. How important is this in your role?

Hugely. It’s what it’s all about. We’re known for designing ‘best-in-class’ products and delivering projects to the highest standards. For that to happen we need a thorough understanding of a client’s needs from the beginning. That’s where I come in. I make sure there’s an accurate flow of information from the client, to our Design Team and on to the Project Delivery Team.

What’s been the most memorable project you have worked on?

When you start a new job, the first project you get to work on always has a special place in your heart. For me, it was Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan. We were upgrading an existing metal-halide system to LED. To see in the flesh what an amazing impact Midstream can have on the running of an airport is something I’ll never forget. Not only did the upgrade triple the airport’s light levels, its energy use was cut by 66% too. A great ‘win-win’ for the airport and the environment.

How many projects do you think you’ve worked on in your time here?

Lots. It’s not the number that stands out though. It’s the projects. The relationships you make along the way. And the satisfaction and pride you have when that ‘switch’ gets turned on for the first time. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.

What do you think makes Midstream stand out from the competition?

Simply, we’re not a ‘Jack of all trades and a master of none.’. We specialise in our key sectors – Aviation, Sports, Maritime, and Horticulture. And our teams’ in-depth industry knowledge means we can design, develop, and continue to innovate unbeatable, tailor-made solutions for each sector.

Tell us a little about you outside of work? What do you get up to?

I do a bit of running and yoga. I’ve also been doing a part-time psychotherapy course and I’m planning on doing voluntary counseling work once I’ve finished.

May 19th, 2020

Meet Patrick Daly – the latest ‘key player’ on our team

As any team manager will tell you, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. It doesn’t hurt though to have a complete team of key players on your side. This is especially true if they can ‘play’ in any position – just like the latest transfer to the Midstream team.

In this edition of ‘Meet the team’ we’re talking to Patrick Daly. A keen sportsperson, hence the sporting metaphors above, he’s joining us as our new National Sales Manager – working across all our sectors.

Hello Patrick

Could you tell us a little about your background?

P.E. – or Phys Ed. as it’s also known – was always my favourite subject at school. This led to me studying for a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science in 2003 and working as a fitness instructor for a couple of years. I then went on to gain a master’s degree in Sports Management.
With these two qualifications under my belt, I ended up as a call centre consultant in a stocks and shares company. Not quite the job I was looking for. But I’m so glad I took it as the sales training and qualifications I got there stood me in great stead for the rest of my career. Following a short period of working in the insurance industry, I joined Abacus, working within Sports Lighting for the UK –in 2013, where I’ve been until now

What made you want to join us?

I’ve loved my time at focusing on Sports Lighting in my previous role. I worked with some great clients, including Lords MMC, Sussex CCC at the Oval, Kempton Park Racecourse, and Chelsea FC to name just a few. And, even though I say it myself, I was very successful there. Then this fantastic opportunity to join Midstream came along and I just couldn’t resist it. There are so many reasons why. It’s such a dynamic and forward-thinking company, with a huge potential to grow and grow. The expertise, service, and products offered are second to none. Personally, it also gives me the chance to take on new challenges, get a better understanding of the industry as a whole, and further my career – at Midstream!

Where are you based and what will your role cover?

As National Sales manager I suppose I don’t really have a home ground (cliché I know!) but very true. My role covers all the UK so there will be plenty of travel taking me to wherever partners, clients and projects need me. I’ll be looking to support all our sectors advising and guiding clients on the best lighting solution available to solve the challenges they face in aviation, sports and maritime.

Tell us more about your love of sports – what do you play, your top teams and venues

I used to be a keen football, cricket, rugby, and American football player. But I badly hurt my knee ligaments and had to give it all up. I’m still a very voluble ‘sofa-supporter’ though. When it comes to football, like many young kids, I grew up supporting the same teams as my Dad – Manchester United and England. I still do to this day. For rugby and cricket, it has to be England – we did invent them both after all. For obvious reasons, Old Trafford as a venue holds a special place in my heart. However, when it comes to history and aesthetics though, it has to be the ‘Home of Cricket’ – Lords.

Apart from watching sports, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Even though my playing days are over, keeping fit is important to me. So, I now do a lot of cross-country walking and yoga. I love a bit of culture now and again too – so the theatre and cinema are always high on my list of things to do. When it comes to holidays, I’m happy with a city break or spending time on the beach. And last, but by no means least, great food and fine wines. I do have to keep an eye on my waistband though

And for a little fun, tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know?

When I was at University I played American Football and was the first player in the University’s long history of playing the game to return a kick-off for a touchdown!

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