INBOX : Plane talking winner

His job may be based on the ground, but Brendon McWilliam’s achievements at Christchurch Airport have made him high-flyer among executives.
Under his guidance, the Christchurch Engine Centre’s V2500 jet engine product line has now positioned itself as the world’s number-one-ranked overhaul facility.
McWilliam, 33-year-old operations manager at Christchurch Airport, has been announced as the New Zealand Institute of Management’s southern region Young Executive of the Year winner.
“Over the past three years I have worked hard to make the transition from manager leading business unit that was struggling to deliver on its operational and financial targets, through to developing and executing short and long-term strategies that have positioned the business as world leader,” he says.
“Customers are prepared to ship their engines literally from the other side of the globe and past competitors’ doorways to come to the Christchurch Engine Centre. I believe we offer service, quality and overall reliability that only New Zealanders can provide.”
McWilliam’s role gives him responsibility for the Christchurch Engine Centre’s three jet engine product lines. His target is to deliver nearly $220 million in revenue and he is responsible for the welfare of around 200 employees of more than 20 different nationalities.
With 95 percent of Christchurch Engine’s work coming from offshore, McWilliam says it presents great challenges from logistical point of view in getting engines to and from New Zealand, as well as being flexible enough to accommodate demands from various countries and cultures.
In 2009, the V2500 line recorded its best ever financial year while at the same time recording 50 percent growth in volume and in employee numbers.
McWilliam says he believes capable leaders need to have competence in many disciplines, such as motivation, strategic thinking, communication, developing talent, business innovation, business practices and ethics, as well as focus on results and team work.
“The one key area that I have spent time developing has been my adaptability and proactiveness,” he says. “Being US dollar trading business that has significant percentage of its costs in New Zealand dollars, you need to be aware of the global economic situation and foreign exchange fluctuations and have the ability to anticipate and adapt to suit your business needs.”
In previous roles, McWilliam has worked as an aircraft engineer, technical field representative and as process engineer at the Engine Centre. He started his career with the Royal New Zealand Air Force before joining Safe Air as civilian engineer.
McWilliam believes his outgoing nature and confidence have helped his rapid promotion in business. “I find I adapt easily to new situations and my sense of humour makes my workplaces comfortable.”

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