By Benjamin Brits
With a list of skills and qualifications almost as long as your arm, including a doctorate, there is no shortage of drive to succeed for this professional – Dr Trueman Thamsanqa Myeza, chief executive officer of Imbewhenhle Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, as well as serving on a number of boards.
January 2022 personality profile sponsored by:
Growing up and having been schooled in the Durban region of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Myeza opted to complete a diploma in electrical engineering and recalled his pursuit of employment back then being a struggle. It was through fortune that his entry into the HVAC&R sector came about though a job he was able to secure – a transport refrigeration apprentice – that, once completed, rewarded him with a further qualification as a refrigeration mechanic.
Further along his career path he became involved in commercial and industrial air conditioning, as well as commercial refrigeration. Realising his potential, it was then that his interest turned towards management through various promotions – and where he added another qualification in project management to his portfolio.
Having gained significant experience in multiple electrical applications, many aspects of a mechanical nature as well as management, Dr Myeza took the leap and started his own business alongside a partner. However, due to differences in ideology and objectives, it was decided that they part ways after pursuing the business interest for four years. Identifying the gaps in business he did not understand fully, his strategy turned to understanding more about how corporates function and their decision making processes, which led him to employment at such an establishment.
“Because my background was a mix from a management perspective and the technical knowledge and engineering elements, I was able to navigate most aspects of the corporate world quite easily and learned how executives think and how strategies are implemented. Having given myself a timeframe of only five years, I knew that climbing the ladder would need to happen very quickly. I also then realised how important it was to understand people and so completed a post graduate degree in human resources and concurrently my master’s degree. The strategy paid off as within four years I had reached an executive level and having achieved my objective I knew I was ready to start my own business that has since resulted in doubling of our revenue year on year.”
In his spare time, Dr Myeza is a reading fanatic and enjoys playing pool. To relax, he specifically notes watching movies that have an end and don’t keep you mindless for many hours or a whole weekend! His other interests involve a number of training programmes and he is the national expert for South Africa on WorldSkills. He is also excited by the challenge in the setup of any new business.
Talking about what he enjoys most about his work, Dr Myeza notes that leadership, teaching, and helping others to grow top his list, while general industry sentiment of business owners has moved away from these principles because it is time consuming and expensive. Business owners are also at high risk of employees leaving once they have achieved any qualification, which he says is “an unfortunate mindset as generally people are driven by the beliefs around more money rather than critical experience.”
When considering the future of the sector and what can be done to improve, Dr Myeza highlights some very important points such as that leaders need to drive training needs to become more aligned with the technology that already exists and has existed for years but is not part of any qualifications currently – here he noted variable speed drives as an example. Also he suggested evaluation of a better structure in terms of a business’ level of service vs billing – this is a particular aspect of burden on the industry as companies with highly experienced staff, and thus higher salaries and more complex services, professional body affiliation and full compliance, are forced to compete alongside one-man-businesses with limited resources and expertise. This scenario risks the sustainability of the sector.
In closing Dr Myeza notes, “Careers are not subject to magic outcomes and there is no luck involved. Success comes from having a good strategy and putting in the hard work to gain the necessary experience. My view is that if something is not going to add value to you or help you achieve something to move forward, don’t waste your time on it.”