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Meet Zandra van der Westhuizen

Business Line Manager, Industrial Air Division, South Africa

On Thursday 1 October 2020, Atlas Copco South Africa's Compressor Technique business area welcomed new Industrial Air Business Line Manager, Zandra van der Westhuizen. A part of the Atlas Copco family for 16 years, Zandra lets us in on her experience within the group and her full circle journey back to the division where it all began.

Zandra van der Westhuizen - BLM Industrial Air Division

Zandra van der Westhuizen returns to Atlas Copco Compressor Technique as Business Line Manager..

In search of new challenges and growth opportunities, Zandra left Process Valves in 2004 to join Atlas Copco South Africa as Internal Sales and Tender Administrator. Her career path included positions in two Atlas Copco business areas, Compressor Technique (Industrial Air division) and Power Technique. On 1 October 2020 Zandra again joins the Compressor Technique team, taking up the position of BLM for the Industrial Air division.

“I believe studying is fundamental to career growth whatever the field or sector. In addition to my MBA from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Business School, which I will be completing at the end of the year, I have also attained a number of other qualifications including an advanced diploma in Public Relations from the Birnam Business College in Johannesburg as well as Certificates in Media Management, Business Communications and Basic Public Relations from the International Business Institute of New York (I.B.I.). My studies have without any doubt equipped me with the skills to carve a successful career path at Atlas Copco.

Knowledge is power and we need it to stay ahead of competitors. Atlas Copco offers the best training programs for their employees and I have successfully participated in numerous international courses presented by the Group between 2015 and 2019: Genmaster Course (Spain), Airmaster Course (Belgium), Management Development Programme (University of the Free State and Atlas Copco Academy, Jet Park), and Facilitation Skills NQF level 5 Maccauvlei Learning Academy). Last year I attended an Airmaster Course for non-regulated equipment in Wuxi, China. These training programs give you the opportunity to not only network globally but also, and most importantly, to develop your technical and sales skills.

Two years after joining Atlas Copco, I was promoted to Sales Representative at Compressor Technique where my responsibilities included business development of the Industrial Air division, a position I held for six years. I then moved to the Portable Energy division of what was then known as the Construction Technique business area before it became Power Technique, as Sales Representative, specialising in and doing business development for High Pressure diesel driven compressors for the drilling industry.

Staying in the Portable Energy division, I moved to generators and lighting plants in 2014, handling business development of these products in South Africa as well as in the regions with a focus on distributors and the mining sector. I also handled product support for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mauritius and Madagascar. Here I gained a wealth of knowledge in dealing with customers, end-users and dealers outside our borders.

Three years later, I was appointed a Product Manager for Atlas Copco South Africa’s Power Technique business area. My responsibilities included the management and development of our dealer network in South Africa as well as the regions. I also did business development for the entire portable energy range of products – compressors, generators, dewatering pumps and lighting plants in the mining sector via our dealer network. Working with the dealer network was most certainly the best part of my job at Power Technique. They are all small business owners and contribute tremendously to our target. The most rewarding part for me is when I look at the scorecards and I see how much the dealer network contributes to our sales and how much they have grown in the last four years. I will always be grateful for their support, effort, teamwork and friendship during the years – I do believe they are the best dealer network globally and I am extremely proud of them!

I would like to thank the Power Technique team with whom I have enjoyed working over the last eight years. A special thank you to David Stanford who trusted my decisions and gave me the freedom to develop my own strategies for the dealer network; Jan Fourie, who has unending knowledge and always willing to assist and mentor me; Glenda Mamoepa, you are the best! Yolande Stevenson (aka the spreadsheet queen), thank you for my scorecards and reports at the end of the month - I know I drove you crazy!

I was looking for a new challenge to grow within the Atlas Copco group so when the BLM position in Compressor Technique came up, I just had to apply! It was the logical next step in my career development. My focus will be to increase our market and customer share and grow a profitable sustainable business through responsible business practises. Developing our distributor network is also a high priority as they play a vital role in our business. I am looking forward to the new challenge and working with the “new/old” team as I have worked with most of them in the past and I know they are worth their weight in gold!

I believe that Atlas Copco provides equal career opportunities for women and men and has done so for many years. I in fact attended a Female Diversity Programme at the Atlas Copco Academy in 2010 which shows that the company has been proactive in this space for many years! Throughout my career journey I have never felt that I could not grow or achieve results within the Atlas Copco group because I am a woman. I also strongly believe that it is up to the individual to drive their own career within the group and if you work hard and have a passion for what you do, you will be successful, irrespective of your gender.

As for my future career aspirations, for now, I would first like to “master” my new position as BLM within Compressor Technique. I definitely do have plans to grow further within the Atlas Copco group. Some of my future objectives are to get international exposure and to work my way up the corporate ladder. Hard work + dreams + dedication = success!”

Get to know Zandra at home: 

Birthday: 12 October 

Hobbies: Cycling, hiking and traveling. I work so that I can travel! My next trip is NAMIBIA 

Favourite food: Nothing beats a braai! 

Favourite movies: ‘Steel Magnolias’ and’ Unbroken’ 

TV Programme: I don’t have a favourite but when I do have the time, I binge watch NETFLIX!