Steel & Tube is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Ensor to the key strategic role of General Manager – Reinforcing. Peter joins Steel & Tube’s executive team having previously held the role of General Manager - New Business & Strategy with McConnell Dowell, New Zealand & Pacific. Here, Peter sits down to discuss his career to date, his leadership approach, and his interests outside of the office.
Welcome to the team. What motivated you to join Steel & Tube?
I’ve been involved in the construction industry for the past twenty years. During that time, I have held a variety of roles from Site Engineer to Project Manager at Fletcher Construction, Operations Manager with a large earthmoving contractor, Director and Owner of an SME, through to my most recent role with McConnell Dowell. In between, I also held project management roles, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was in these roles which I became familiar with Steel & Tube as it was a preferred supplier to several of the businesses I worked for.
Motivated by a desire to learn more about manufacturing, as well as further developing my leadership and project delivery skills, I joined Steel & Tube earlier this month. It’s rather timely as the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the global supply chain. As a result, it’s becoming more important than ever to manufacture closer to market. Steel & Tube is fortunate to have a robust logistics and material processing network in place. It is critical that New Zealand remains in control of its own supply chain. For that reason, I am looking forward to learning more about manufacturing locally.
Another reason I was motivated to join the Steel & Tube team is to be a part of one of New Zealand’s most iconic and trusted brands. Our reputation as a leader in the supply of materials to the construction industry is unrivalled, and one we should all be proud of.
You’ve been settling into your new role during a period of remote work, tell me about that experience
It certainly has been rather challenging to settle in via Teams. That said, I am grateful that it is 2021 and not 2001. Today, while not always ideal, it is manageable to have some employees working from home. The business as usual methods of working before COVID have certainly come to an end. Looking ahead, I can see businesses continuing to evolve their practices to allow greater flexibility for employees and to enable a mix of remote work and more traditional office-based work.
I think the main challenge in working from home while settling into a new role is building relationships virtually. You don’t get to experience the typical impromptu chats at the coffee machine or office printer. I was very fortunate to have met in person with some of the Reinforcing team, Steel & Tube executive team and board members during the recruitment process.
I am also mindful of the great work the manufacturing and installation teams have done and continue to do, overcoming unique obstacles and exceeding customers’ needs through these challenging times. This hasn’t been easy and will continue to require high levels of commitment and dedication. I look forward to getting out and meeting these teams in person.
I’m fortunate to have a workable lockdown set up. However, as a leader who is also settling into a new role, I see it as critical to have compassion for my team. More now than ever, our work and personal lives are intertwined so it’s important to do what you can to support those balancing a range of personal commitments with work.
What is the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve received?
There have been a few pieces of sound advice which have guided me through my career to date. I would say the most important is to remain true to your values. For me, this has assisted many of the challenging decisions I’ve had to make throughout my career. This advice is also particularly relevant when deciding to join an organisation.
Every organisation needs a purpose. It can’t just be a tagline or mission statement emblazoned on your reception wall. It needs to hold real meaning for the people within your business. Most importantly, you need to embody it in every interaction and decision. So, I’d say my most valuable piece of career advice is twofold: remain true to your values and join a business whose values align with your own.
As General Manager, how do you define success for our Reinforcing business unit?
Success for the Reinforcing business unit is multifaceted.
The Number one is safety. As General Manager of our Reinforcing business unit, the top priority of my team each day must be ensuring everyone goes home safe to their whanau and loved ones. As a business, it’s our primary responsibility to ensure people return home safe after every shift. It’s critical that the right processes, procedures and culture are in place to ensure that this happens.
In the construction industry in particular, we speak often about health and safety in the workplace in a physical sense. While that conversation is important and will continue, we must have more conversations regarding mental health and wellbeing. With many of us spending a significant amount of our time in our place of work, employers and leaders need to cultivate an environment in which their people are physically safe and mentally well. This is for the benefit of not only the individual but also the wider business and customers. Mental wellbeing is critical when attempting to sustain a high-performance culture. Above all, people need to look forward to coming to work.
Another key measure of success is retaining a focus on exceeding our customers’ expectations. Business is based on relationships. For the Steel & Tube team, it’s critical that we continue to build and enhance these relationships and maintain them through the stellar service our customers have come to expect each time.
Focusing on the above and growing our capability to meet market demands will ensure a sustainable, profitable business unit that contributes to the overall success of Steel & Tube. I’m looking forward to being a part of the team.
We are lucky to have a depth of expertise across a wide range of products and applications. So, it’s about ensuring our people are equipped to deliver the depth and breadth of service expected. This also relates to quality in terms of both service and the product itself.
The final piece of the success equation for me is fostering a positive and collaborative work culture in which we all work together. This relates to the topic of a high-performance culture. This is only achieved and maintained in an environment where people are looked after and cared for. It is especially important in this current environment that this feeling of safety and the ability for employees and their families to access support, as needed, is genuine.
Outside of the office, what do you enjoy most?
I always look forward to spending time with my wife and our two children. We have a 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son. Our family was recently expanded to include a puppy. She’s an absolute handful but has provided a great deal of joy during lockdown.
My family and I enjoy travelling in our caravan around New Zealand. I took similar trips when I was a kid and they’re the memories I look back on fondly. I’m glad I can give my kids that same ‘back to basics’ holiday experience. During the summer months, you can find us anywhere in the upper North Island where there is a beach.
Outside of spending time with my family, I enjoy tramping. A group of friends from my university days and I go for a yearly hike. Next year, we’re planning to head to Stewart Island which I’m looking forward to. It’s great to switch off your phone and explore the outdoors.
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