We asked Aaron Oddy what his first year at Centiel has been like and how one of the most unprecedented years has impacted this?
I joined leading UPS manufacturer, CENTIEL a year ago as the Swiss company continues to expand in the UK. It was certainly a challenging time to join a new organisation as a sales engineer, just as the Pandemic hit and the first lockdown was announced!
We still encounter very altered living and working conditions 12 months on due to COVID 19. The Government’s work from home guidance means that I still have not met several of my colleagues face to face. I have been to the UK head office but due to travel restrictions I have not yet visited CENTIEL’s global HQ and manufacturing facility in Lugano! However, despite the challenges of COVID-19, workwise it’s been a positive and busy year.
My role is customer facing and involves developing and managing new hardware sales enquiries for CENTIEL’s industry leading UPS range which protects the critical power to a variety of facilities, including the financial and medical sector. On-site surveys and client meetings are a large part of my role, working with clients on a project-by-project basis to design and quote for optimal configurations. Lockdown restrictions and site closures meant that during 2020, there were less than the anticipated number of site surveys. However, where there is a will, there is a way! Client meetings were undertaken remotely using video call technology, working through schematics with consultants on a screen, works just as well as in person.
The site surveys I have attended were essential travel, to assess access or layout design where there were challenges with comms rooms or datacentres in unusual locations – for example on the roof of a hospital building. Deciding on the best way to deliver equipment into the high-level facility with limited access, while minimising disruption isn’t something that can be done quite as easily over the phone. It’s always better to do this in person. For these visits, staff numbers on site were kept to a minimum: just one client contact and myself or one other CENTIEL engineer. Social distancing and additional PPE have become standard.
Learning about CENTIEL’s industry leading UPS solutions has been one of the highlights. The Swiss-build quality of the systems, their flexibility and high levels of availability can’t be matched, and it means I can always meet the needs of clients looking to protect their critical power. I like CENTIEL’s consultative approach, it’s all about providing trusted advice and support, to supply the optimal solution for the particular situation and client’s needs.
Working for CENTIEL is varied. It’s not just our products that are flexible it’s the projects too. One day, I may be helping ensure a medical facility’s critical power is supported to protect patients’ lives or another, I might be working to provide a suitable UPS system to fit into a limited space plant room in a central London office. The next, I might be supplying a quote to see if it’s more cost effective to repair or replace legacy equipment for a large datacentre.
Joining such a knowledgeable team – albeit remotely most of the time, has given me a real insight into how and why CENTIEL has become the leading designer and manufacturer of power protection solutions for facilities in locations across the world including: the UK, Singapore, Australia, Germany, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the Channel Islands.
Let’s hope the next year is a little easier for everyone. I’m certainly looking forward to meeting some of our customers face-to-face very soon – and one or two of my colleagues for that matter too!
Originally featured in Facilities Management UK Magazine April/May 2021.