In this episode, I interview Paul Avey, the Chief Executive Officer of Concept Environmental Services, a provider of fluid process solutions to the resources, biogas, utilities and agricultural industries. Paul shares to us how he came to be passionate about leading people from his young formative years, to joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and his corporate journey that led to him becoming CEO of Concept.
Paul is also a member of my Champion’s Forum and shared his experiences with the group on this episode.
He also gave us a glimpse of how his organisation adapted to the challenges of the Coronavirus, and their strategic initiatives and process.
Paul’s current professional responsibilities
CEO of Concept Environmental Services for roughly 1 year now. His main responsibility is to solidify the business with what they've got now and take their core technology called Concept Tank and develop markets outside the coal and gas industry.
"We've got a fantastic company, really good people, really stable financially, with a really game-changing core technology that we can employ in different parts of the world."
Paul’s personal background - where he is from, early years, and his career journey.
Paul believes that him being in the Air Force as a cadet engineer and having 40 people working for him at that time, was a real character-building experience for him.
Paul transitioned into manufacturing and understanding what and how to manufacture quality components.
How 3D printing fundamentally changes the manufacturing industry.
What motivated Paul to get out of the military?
"It was always my goal to get into the general economy, rather than, you know, I didn't see myself as being a 20 or 30-year military veteran. So I was keen to see if I could get into corporate life."
Paul bought a kiwi fruit orchard in New Zealand after his military service, which still operates today
He also became a maintenance manager for a chemical plant making cleaning chemicals for the dairy industry before becoming the manufacturing manager for that site.
His general manager offered him work and relocation to Australia. He and his family have now been living in Australia for more than 22 years now.
Paul shares his leadership style when he was in the military, as he handled people older than him at that time.
"It doesn't matter what rank you've got on your shoulder. You just got to treat everyone as a person to get the best out of them."
It was very important for Paul not to have a rank-dominated team structure at that time because that wasn't effective and could compromise their work. He didn't have to dramatically change that style of leadership when he got into the corporate world.
"What absolutely floated my boat was to run organisations and be responsible for an outcome from a sales and marketing and an execution perspective to maximise profit for organisations."
Paul’s career progression, the company he had worked for, the people who helped him professionally to reach where he is right now, his professional experiences and challenges with these companies, and more.
"If people are afraid at work, then it's very difficult for them to execute projects that work towards your vision, because all they're doing is just looking after themselves and looking after their job. they don't trust the organisation as much. They're spending their time looking after themselves rather than executing projects that will advance your organisation."
Paul looks back at how he managed to bring together three different views of Concept Environmental Services’ culture and personalities from pre-appointment, appointment, then to now. He also shared how he has adjusted to the position, initial professional concerns, and more.
What are the kinds of features that Paul is excited about for the business for the next five years or so?
"I'm a strong believer that future development and future growth of the business is founded in consistent values."
The future for the company is about getting good market share in emerging markets like the biogas and liquid waste stream industry.
Concept Environmental Services is pursuing the international market, with a signed distribution arrangement with his former colleague in Indonesia.
Paul shares how he and his company are dealing with the Coronavirus as an organisation. He also shared their strategic initiatives and process, in general.
"If you could change your organisation, if you get rid of hierarchies, if you eliminate silos, then you're far better to be able to counteract what's going on in the environment." This is Simon Sineck's thesis as shared by Paul.
What does Paul hope for himself in five years' time?
Paul shares his experience and learnings from the Champions' Forum.
"How you get from your preferred reality to your current reality is, I think, that's a great visual construct to have in your mind all the time."
Bouncing problems off to people that you haven't got a substantial personal relationship with is a great way of clarifying issues and what needs to be done. Paul thinks it's great to get a perspective from outside the organisation and completely different markets and get their wisdom.