Gary is a South African national, with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering, as well as an MBA - with electives in Leadership, Corporate Finance, Marketing and Macroeconomics. He has over twelve years of training experience, including seven years of corporate training in Germany. In his career to date, he has worked in the fields of senior management, operations management, project management, sales and marketing, strategic consulting, planning, key account management, organizational effectiveness, and customer service. He has also published over twenty research papers, and presented at international conferences in the U.S.A., Russia, India, and his home country of South Africa.
Beginning a career in the South African mining industry in 1991, Gary spent nine years in Johannesburg with one of the leading names in global mining research and development. His key responsibilities included developing and consulting on new engineering design methodologies, as well as playing a key role as a member of the senior management team responsible for the strategic and operational management of the organization. His various roles also gave him the opportunity to develop extensive Project Management and Team Leadership Skills. He managed a multidisciplinary range of projects, was responsible for software commercialisation, growing a consulting practice in the industry, and also identifying and developing commercial opportunities in India.
Seeking to move into more direct commercial operations, in 2001 Gary embarked on a business consulting career in Johannesburg with an IT and Business Consultancy. Working as a Process Optimisation Consultant, Gary identified and advised on improvements to existing processes in the credit card division of a large South African bank. This was a highly consultative role, involving discussions at many levels within the bank. In addition, Gary developed the Knowledge Management consulting product from scratch for the consultancy, and maintained operational management of the Knowledge Management product that was implemented with clients.
In 2002, after successfully completing a global strategy project for the board of SABMiller (located in London), related to the strategic implications of SABMiller’s position as one of the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottlers, Gary was appointed as a Regional General Manager -Sales and Distribution for Coca-Cola, South Africa, based in Durban.
Annual turnover was $US90 million, with 230 staff and over 5,000 customers. Gary applied his process knowledge to significantly improve operations. This resulted in 60% profit growth on the back of 10% volume growth. Quality was a major focus, and the Durban plant was the first Coca-Cola plant in Africa, and the seventh in the world, to obtain the new combined Coca-Cola quality / health and safety rating. Gary was instrumental in significantly raising customer satisfaction ratings, to record levels at the two plants for which he was responsible. This role required a significant level of high quality management skills and techniques, and a significant focus on top-level quality, health and safety, and dedicated customer service.
In 2006, deciding his passion was learning and development, and coupled with his family’s needs, Gary relocated to Europe. Here he took up full-time training, coupled with a part-time Associate Professorship at the Technical University of Munich. His training assignments covered a range of high quality soft skills programmes delivered to corporate clients, including: teamwork and leadership, management, interview techniques, communication skills, effective meetings, business writing, intercultural communication, negotiation skills, presentation skills, customer service, time and self-management, strategic planning, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), decision making, pricing strategy, etc.
Gary’s diverse technical, consulting, management, and training experience, has allowed him to accumulate high-level ‘real world’ experience across a wide range of both soft and hard skills. He uses this experience and knowledge to ensure his training is highly relevant and practical. Gary feels he has succeeded as a Trainer when he can make the subject ‘come alive’ for his participants, so they go back and ‘make it real’ in their own work environment.
Gary joined Spearhead as a Senior Management Associate in 2015.
His key areas of expertise include: