Tell me a bit about Trimble and your role in the company
Trimble is an international company head-quartered in the US. It’s listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. It’s annual revenue is roughly US$2.3 billion and there are 8,500 employees world-wide.
The Christchurch office was their first acquisition. They acquire a lot of companies, well over 100 companies in the last 15 years. They were a hardware company and we were a software development company, so there was going to be great synergies. We had 41 people then, and we’ve got 360+ people in New Zealand now.
My role is Managing Director of the two New Zealand Trimble companies. Predominantly we do R&D for our parent and associated companies, we don’t do any sales or marketing out of New Zealand.
What excites you about the technology industry in Canterbury?
The opportunity to be part of and add value to an international company and to be doing that from Christchurch. To be seen as an integral part of product development for the worldwide Trimble company. Trimble, the parent can choose to do work anywhere in the world but we are an integral part of the R&D for the group and are well respected in the group. It’s great to see that we can add value to the parent company and help them prosper from Christchurch. We get to work on some very exciting projects.
What advice would you have for other tech companies looking to grow and expand overseas?
It was great that we aligned ourselves with an international player. We were a company in our own right before we were bought and we distributed through another company. The growth that we have had since 1991 is because we aligned ourselves with an overseas player. It does however, have to be the right overseas player. A lot of companies are bought by offshore companies and 5-10 years later they are nothing. We have been incredibly lucky that our parent company has seen our worth and continued to invest in New Zealand to give us the opportunity to grow.
In particular for women wanting to advance their career in technology, what advice would you have for them?
It’s not just women in technology, but all professions. The answer is to believe in yourself, to say yes; believe that you can do or find a way to do something. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. I’ve done a few things that I wasn’t really sure how it was going to turn out but I gave it a go. Women are a bit more diffident in their capabilities and don’t see themselves as capable as men, but they are, they just need to recognise that, be confident and say yes.
Why do you support the Canterbury Tech Summit?
My passion for Christchurch. I’m not an IT person, I’m a finance person by background but I do have a passion for technology because I think it’s something that we can do well in Canterbury. We can give people good job opportunities and help the economy of Christchurch. I’ve lived here all my life and I want it to be a successful city; it’s exciting. It’s not dull, things are changing all the time, you have to be prepared to change and be prepared to grab opportunities; be prepared to step out and say that this is going to work because if you don’t you will get left behind. That is one of the good things the technology industry, that no two days are the same and progress and change are happening all the time.
For the Tech Summit, what are you looking forward to most?
I think just to show people the sort of exciting things we are doing at Trimble. We have some cool, out-there projects. Participation is about promoting an awareness of Trimble because we don’t sell directly into New Zealand, we sell through dealers, so people will only know us by the people who work in our R&D teams. We need to get an awareness in the industry so when we are looking for new employees, people know this is a company that is growing and doing fun things, and can give employees career progression. It’s also great to see what else is happening in Christchurch and to support the industry in our city to ensure that we have a vibrant technology environment which encourages people to enjoy working in our city, and to improve the economy of the Christchurch and the country.