By Benjamin Brits
Leonard Davids’ career with Metraclark (JL Clark as its original name) began back in 1982, and since then he took root with the company – through the decades he has been around for all of the name and management changes, and played his part in various business developments.
Davids entered the business in a position as internal sales administration and when the company soon afterwards decided to shift to computerise their stock management – he was tasked with administering that process. Since then he has completed a refrigeration technical course, continued with several other regular internal and external product training courses, completed a diploma and a degree in business and human resource management, run, opened new- and managed branches in the Cape regions, and has held the position as regional manager – Western Cape for some years.
Apart from the Western Cape region that he is responsible for, South and Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and the Free State were added to his portfolio. In between, Davids also found the time in his busy schedule to get married, raise a family and put his daughters through university as a devoted and dedicated father.
Davids recalls that over the years with the changes in management came very different styles and focus areas. “With some of the management much more emphasis was on reporting and forward planning, while other styles were that of regional factors or customer focus and service,” he says.
Over the years, and indeed decades, Davids has also seen much new in the form of technology and products – most notably the introduction of energy efficiency, electronic controls and valves, the shift to HFC refrigerants, the development of CO2 technologies and growth in the ammonia sector.
In Davids’ view, the ongoing success of Metraclark is linked to the company’s strategy to continually engage in research to ensure they keep up to speed with the latest needs in the market and the latest technologies around for both commercial refrigeration and HVAC applications that will benefit the market. In addition, Metraclark has a strong priority regarding staff training and awareness of those new technologies and innovations. Metraclark now further prides themselves with a fully-functional engineering department and factories for manufacturing.
“Starting with internal sales and inventory control and then my path to reach this milestone in my career is a true blessing and I must thank Metraclark for giving me the opportunity, training and support to be able to reach this goal,” Davids adds.
Interacting with people – be they customers, staff or suppliers, or various other role players in the industry – is among the top things Davids enjoys about his job, while at the same time he expresses a strong will to see staff grow in their respective positions (and life in general), and learning every day regarding the industry is high up on the list too.
Kobus Hattingh, general manager of Metraclark commented, “How does one comprehend 40 years of service? A few words come to mind – that of dedication, loyalty, commitment, passion, respect, humility. Leonard has never been short in any of these departments. His leadership, teamwork, communication, fun nature, and people skills have given him the ability to adapt over the years to our ever-changing environment – not something many people can do. Leonard started at the bottom and worked his way up the company through pure effort and enthusiasm for the task at hand. Further, Leonard is one of the few true gentlemen left in our industry today, and it is important for the business to celebrate this special achievement with him that is also not very common these days anymore. Congratulations Leonard on this remarkable achievement.”
Looking to his thoughts of the future of the industry, Davids notes that the HVACR industry will always play a roll in all aspects of life – in the cold chain, the economy, in various linked sectors such as the food industry, agriculture, mining, and so on. “This industry will always involve a competitive nature amongst roll players moving forward, but an ongoing concern is the lack of technical skills that proves a big shortage these days. I can only hope renewed interest is seen in HVACR and that training will emerge as a sectoral priority,” Davids concludes.