Sparks Electrical News

Lebo Leshabane, dynamic CEO of iX engineers, judge for the ECA Residential Excellence Awards and formerly managing director of Black Jills Engineers, has extensive experience in the design of infrastructure services, project and programme management, and business management.

Sparks personality of the month MayAs deputy president of the National Society of Black Engineers, she promoted engineering disciplines to high school learners and mentored undergraduate tertiary students and new graduates.This love of inspiring people to be the best they can be reflects in her management stance, which is to encourage her staff to think beyond the now and dream big.

Sparks: Where were you educated?

LL: At the University of the Witwatersrand and UNISA.

Sparks: How long have you been involved in the electrical industry?

LL: I have been in the electrical industry since 2005.

Sparks: When and where did you start your career?

LL: I started my career in 2002 at BT Mongwe & Associates.

Sparks: What are the greatest changes you have seen over the years?

LL: There have been marked changes in the field of energy efficiency and energy generation. ‘Green’ is the current buzz word. A lot of renewable energy has been put in place and it has become more and more important to diversify.

Sparks: What major projects have you worked on and what is your greatest accomplishment?

LL: I was involved in the 2010 World Cup. I enjoyed working with the complexities involved in the design and delivery methods of the project.

Sparks: Have you won any awards?

LL: No significant awards.

Sparks: Who has been your inspiration or have you had a mentor who has influenced your career?

LL: I derive inspiration from different people, who inspire me in different ways, in different areas of my life. Thuli Madonsela is one of many.

Sparks: What, to your mind, is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at this time?

LL: There is uncertainty in the market in terms of where the country is going and whether there are enough financial resources to support our growth strategy and our infrastructure deliverables. We’re not in the political space but politics does affect us and our business. Given the recent downgrade of the country, it makes things a whole lot more challenging.

Sparks: What do you enjoy most about your job?

LL: The fact that I don’t have limits. I can think about anything and work towards realising it or achieving it. I don’t like working in a confined environment. I want the freedom to be creative, and in my current position I have the flexibility to do that.

Sparks: How do you motivate your staff?

LL: Through sharing with them what possibilities there are for them. I encourage them to dream bigger and not focus on business as usual. I share my dreams and aspirations about the industry and the business, and that for me is a greater motivation than something temporary like a salary increase.

Sparks: If you could “do it all again”, would you change anything? If so, what would that be?

LL: I wouldn’t change anything because I’ve been through what I’ve been through so I could be where I am right now. Every success and failure has had its own role to play in my growth and development.

Sparks: Would you advise a person leaving school to enter the electrical industry? And if so, why?

LL: Yes, because the industry still has so much to offer. There are still a number of untapped opportunities that current engineers do not have the time to look into and develop into real solutions for a real market. We are moving away from fossil to renewable forms of energy, we are moving towards cell generation. We are decentralising our energy generation and in the near future we will be able to generate and store our own energy.

Sparks: What is your advice to electrical contractors and/or electrical engineers?

LL: Don’t be comfortable in your own comfort zone. There are a lot of challenges facing our country in terms of energy theft, electricity theft, electricity losses due to transmission and distribution networks that are not well maintained. We need our electrical contractors and engineers to come up with solutions that address these challenges, we cannot wait for government.

Sparks: What is your favourite quote?

LL: ‘Innovation distinguishes between leaders and followers’, Steve Jobs.

Sparks: Name three things on your ‘bucket list’ (things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).

LL: Solve one problem that is currently affecting our community; innovate something that currently doesn’t exist; and go to space with my daughter.


Contact Sparks Electrical News

Title: Editor
Name: Gregg Cocking
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Carin Hannay
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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