For our newest Sepro employee spotlight, we interviewed our colleague Alfred Hearnshaw, Sepro Sales Manager based in United Kingdom. Learn more about his personal and technical background, areas of expertise, newest developments in the industry, tips of the trade, and more in the full interview below.
Q: Alfred, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Could you give us a quick introduction about yourself: where did you grow up? What’s your background?
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in ’81 and I’ve grown up in different parts of South Africa. I’d lived in Bloemfontein for a while, then spent a couple years in Port Elizabeth. After that, most of my teen years and early adult life were in Johannesburg.
Q: And now what is your role at Sepro Systems?
I’m the sales manager of Sepro in United Kingdom and I also look after the European, African, and Australian markets for Sepro Mixing and Pumping. But as you mentioned, I cover the whole portfolio of Sepro Systems products. Anyone with questions about any of the Sepro products are welcome to get in touch with me. Aside from that, I focus on the key accounts, EPCs and EPCMs; building awareness of the Sepro brand in all the regions I cover.
Q: What is your technical background and how do you use that to help customers and colleagues?
I’ve been in technical sales for the last 20 years. I started with a company called BMG in ’99 on a trainee program which help me figure out where my strengths lay and what direction I wanted to go with sales. I’ve always been good at building relationships with clients, but I’ve also always had a keen interest in engineering sales and the technical side of products that I’ve worked with.
I moved onto Bonfiglioli in 2006 for about three years and then made my way back to BMG. This is where I became the brand manager for Dinamic Oil, an Italian company. I started focusing on project houses and EPCMs, looking after companies like Nord and Varvel. After a few more years, I moved entirely into working with projects and project houses; this is where I really got an in-depth understanding of the systems involved.
In 2016, I got an opportunity to switch gears by joining the mixing and pumping field. I worked with Afromix as the business development manager and was quickly promoted to global accounts manager tasked with developing and growing the Australian market.
Q: That’s been an interesting career path, so now we’re curious: what are some of the key projects you’ve worked on in the past? And what are some takeaways that you can pass along to colleagues today?
Some of the projects I’ve worked on are Gambsberg, Nokeng, Tri-K, Rio Zim, one of the big expansions at FQML in Zambia. All the takeaways from these are pretty much the same: be persistent, be patient. I think with our industry, things don’t happen overnight. You need to be passionate about your product and believe in it.
Q: There are some exciting things in the pipeline for Sepro Mixing & Pumping. Are there any details you can share?
I can’t say too much, but at Sepro our engineering team is always looking for new ways to improve the quality, longevity and how we maximize results out of all our products that we have to offer.
From the mixing and pumping side, we’re in the process of designing a new C series pump. We are one of very few companies globally that can offer 150 millimeter pump, but even that has limitations. So I can’t give away too much, but follow us on LinkedIn and other social media platforms And there’ll be updates on this soon.
In addition, our engineering team and the VP of Mixing & Pumping, Francois, had a look at the design of our at our peristaltic hoses and changed a few things. After testing on multiple sites, we’ve confirmed we’ve been able to achieve at least 45% additional hose life. And our hoses fit into 90% of all peristaltic pumps, so this has been exciting news to share with clients.
Q: We try to include helpful information for anyone reading, so with 20 years in this industry, do you have some life hacks or tips that you can offer customers and colleagues?
Understand the value of time; batch your day into productive chunks. Make time to stay in contact with your network, colleagues and clients. I think that’s important. Value every relationship – you never know where it’s going to lead you. Leverage your existing network. Be on time. Make people feel valued, both colleagues and clients. And most importantly, smile.
Q: Leaving work for a bit, tell us a little bit about what you do when you’re not at work.
My wife and I have two young boys with a lot of energy. They keep our hands full most of the time. Keeping them entertained as a full-time job! Besides that, I play cricket on the weekends. My wife and I cycle, we go to gym, we play squash – we try to stay active and fit as much as possible. But mainly I’d say 70% of the time after work ends, it’s really about the boys.
Q: We know that feeling – what did you get up to on your last vacation?
Our move to UK is fairly recent, so although we’ve been in lockdown for almost 15 months, it still feels like a vacation; new scenery, new places. But that probably doesn’t count, so I’d say my last proper vacation was in Scottsburgh in South Africa.
Q: Thank you for letting us be snoopy! Most important question: how can someone reach you if they have any questions or want to discuss a project?