Etienne de Villiers

PortiaIndustry News

Full Name: Etienne de Villiers

Position and Company Name: Divisional technical executive at John Thompson

Main Activity of the Company: John Thompson is involved in the design, manufacture, building and maintenance of industrial and utility boiler plant, as well as the design, manufacture and supply of flue-gas cleanup and air-quality management equipment and systems

Date and Place of Birth: December 26, 1969, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth)

Schools and Tertiary Education: Matric, Tygerberg High School, 1987; BEng (Mechanical), Stellenbosch University, 1991

First Job: Rocket test engineer

Size of First Pay Packet: R5 000 a month

Career Path to Date: After graduating, I did my national service and subsequently joined Houwteq/Denel as a rocket test engineer. I then worked for the Cape provincial government for just over two years, looking after mechanical and medical equipment at provincial hospitals. I joined John Thompson as a junior boiler design engineer in 1996, progressing to senior design and commissioning engineer and then engineering manager for the Industrial Watertube boiler business unit. After a five-year stint as partner/design engineer at Thermal Energy Systems, I rejoined John Thompson as divisional technical manager in 2012

Number of People under Your Leadership: 7 direct reports and 37 indirect reports

Management Style: I try to be a hands-on manager, to nurture the technical talent we have in the organisation, and to use every possible chance to encourage communication between the engineers and the different businesses

Personal Best Achievement: Being involved in the design, sale and commissioning of two new boiler products for John Thompson

Person who has had the biggest influence on Your Life: My parents and my wife

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Career: My father

Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Too late now – it would have been Nelson Mandela

Businessperson Who Has Impressed You Most: Not stated

Philosophy of Life: Dream big, live big; be diligent and motivated in your work but live to be remembered by those for whom you cared for who you were and not for what you achieved. Also, keep your identity and passions, stay humble and always be an ambassador for God

Biggest Ever Opportunity: To land a job as a design engineer in the field of thermodynamics and heat transfer

Biggest Ever Disappointment: Not being able to travel for a year after completing my national service

Hope for the Future: That I live to see South Africa reach its full potential and all South Africans proudly standing together under a government with integrity

Favourite Reading: Spy novels and war history

Favourite TV Programme: Currently, The Recruit

Favourite Food/Drink: Good steak and red wine

Favourite Music: Acoustic music and chill music, including music by Jack Johnson, Cat Stevens, Bob Marley and many more

Favourite Sport: Surfing, kite surfing, rugby, skateboarding and tennis

Hobbies: Surfing, kite surfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, reading, carpentry and garage projects

Car: Toyota Fortuner 4 x 4

Pets: Two Golden Retrievers

Miscellaneous Dislikes: Dishonesty, disrespect, entitlement, laziness, people who complain and negative people

Married: To Samantha

Clubs: I’m not a clubber

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor