CEO Profile: Chris Ball, TGOOD Australia
“Over the next 10 years, it is going to be interesting to see how major market leaders will be challenged by new emerging companies that are allowed to think differently than the ‘way it has always been done,’” said TGOOD Australia’s CEO Chris Ball.
Claiming one of the spots as a “major market leader” is TGOOD Global, the No. 1 prefabricated electric power solutions corporation in the domestic Chinese market. As part of its parent company TGOOD Global, TGOOD Australia is able to provide customers with fast and cost-effective power transmission and distribution solutions throughout the region.
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The company asked Ball to join the team as TGOOD Australia’s CEO in June 2015, an opportunity that was quite well-timed. As the energy industry continues to grow, the anticipation of being able to help shape this growth with a global presence is nothing short of exciting.
“I think we are in the middle of a major shift in what roles organisations will perform in the energy industry,” said Ball. “Operators, end users, suppliers and EPCs all make up the mix of delivering projects; however, the clearly defined boundaries of expertise do not exist anymore.”
A new path in energy
Being offered the position of CEO at TGOOD Australia also made sense for the progression of Ball’s career within the energy sector: With an unblemished reputation and incomparable market reach, the brand was a natural fit for the leader.
After spending six years in account management and sales for the food and beverage industry, Ball joined Shell Australia, where he was first introduced to the “downstream” world of energy, i.e., the commercial trading and selling of energy.
But the ambitious CEO wanted more.
“I wanted to round-out my industry and market knowledge by moving to upstream/project side of the market,” he explained when discussing the role that followed: sales director for Australia and New Zealand industrial solutions at GE Energy.
From there, Ball joined Siemens as the national sales lead, first in the power distribution division and then in energy management before making the transition to TGOOD Australia.
Global presence at a local level
Founded in 2004 by a team of German and Chinese engineers, TGOOD Global’s rapid expansion of power solutions into various verticals has been a focal point of the strategic growth plan from the beginning.
After becoming the first company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2009, TGOOD Global expanded operations to become a worldwide presence: In 2014, TGOOD North America was established as a global engineering centre, with Hong Kong as a hub for globalisation. By 2015, the corporation placed regional headquarters in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Central Asia and South America.
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“Globalisation has always been in the German-Chinese joint venture vision; however, the first milestone was a successful model in a very competitive Chinese market,” Ball said. “The executive board now feels like that can be expanded.”
Taking a customer-centric approach
Establishing a presence in these new territories also aligns with the customer-centric attitude practiced by both the corporation as well as Ball himself.
“The industry has often seen different suppliers try to sell from a global headquarters, but few actually regionalise their business. TGOOD Global realised that to move to the global platform, [we would] need to regionalise with local companies and employees, and listen to the customers on a local level.”
According to Ball, every customer deserves to have expectations exceeded, a value that he shares with the TGOOD team, and one that he is able to expand at an even larger level in his new role.
“I have mostly worked in large multi-national companies with all of their varying internal complexities—during that time, I have always been connected to the customers, and the main message is always the same: Customers are looking for quality suppliers to listen, be responsive and provide cost-effective equipment that meets their needs. I believe TGOOD has the DNA to offer this on a global and regional platform.”
Leading by example
In addition to his experience with strategic management and power distribution, Ball’s approach toward leadership and fundamental core values align well with TGOOD Australia’s corporate culture—and for the latter, one stands out among the rest: integrity.
“Without integrity, all the other values are meaningless. This is very much consistent with my own values—if you can continue to be good to your word with employees and customers, partnerships can flourish,” he said.
“Generally, I can only inspire people if I am passionate about something,” Ball continued, “and I think people can only be inspired if there is alignment of personal and professional values and beliefs.”
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As a manager, Ball prides himself on his ability to adapt leadership styles based on an employee’s individual personality and needs—and he is quick to give credit to those who came before him.
“I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some very talented people who have helped coach and mentor me, support me through tough times, and work with me and others as a team to achieve some special results.”
Likewise, when asked how his prior roles helped prepare him for this new venture, he was quick to give credit back to this previous experience.
“I have a lot of respect for the companies that I have worked for—they have their own unique strengths that they have offered and contributed to help me prepare for my current role at TGOOD,” he explained.
“It is this experience that I continually try to give back to the people with whom I work.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.