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Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday May 22 2014
12 — Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, May 22, 2014 www.times.co.nz Settling In Settling In 125859 Not online? You could be losing business! Times Digital offers a full suite of marketing products that extend and complement your print and online display advertising. We save you time and money by handling all aspects of your print and online marketing. Talk to us now about how we can make your business go from good to great, and see why people have been turning to Times for 42 years. www.times.net.nz firstname.lastname@example.org phone 271 8063 Website packages from just $70 /month* *Based on Times Digital Starter Package. Includes domain registration and hosting on a 12 month plan. **Price excludes GST & costs related to any other marketing plans. Electrical know-how goes global DESIGN AND BUILD: Nautech Electronics founder and managing director Andrew Turner and Peter Mansell, the business development manager. Times photo Wayne Martin By Marianne Kelly aNDREW Turner is one of those blokes who, from a very young age, has taken anything electronic apart and put it back together once he understands how it works. “There’s nothing he can’t design,” says his wife Alison, a co-founder of the couple’s flourishing company Nautech Electronics. The East Tamaki company, with more than 100 people on staff, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, a far cry from the kitchen table at the couple’s Howick home where it all started. In 1989, Mr Turner and fellow electronic engineer Andrew Holden, “fed up with working for other people”, tackled a niche they could see developing in the marine elec- tronics market. They started installing and servicing marine electrical products, moving on to install- ing cellular phones in motor vehicles with the start of the mobile phone industry. Three years later, Mr and Mrs Turner bought out Mr Holden’s share in the fledgling business when he moved to Australia. However, in 2007 he returned to the fold when the company opened its Austral- ian operation based in Bris- bane, Queensland. The Australian move was predicated on winning a con- tract to supply and install elec- tronic equipment in most new Queensland police vehicles. Itcameonthebackofa crucial development in 1995, when Nautech secured a con- tract to fit out 135 New Zealand police vehicles for the upcom- ing CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government) con- ference in Auckland. “We had a five-week time frame to do it,” Mr Turner says. “And it was completed on time, to the amazement of the police.” Mr Turner says the com- pany’s philosophy was simply that “we had a deadline, it had to be done in the time given”. By 1998, they had moved to larger premises in Trugood Drive and secured the contract to fit out all police vehicles for the upcoming APEC (Asia-Pa- cific Economic Cooperation) conference in Auckland. In 2000, they moved yet again to a 15,000 square foot building in Cryers Road, win- ning the contract to supply and fit out emergency equip- ment to all NZ police vehicles. These days the police con- tract is an ongoing part of the business, which operates from a double-the-size 30,000 square foot factory further along Cryers Road. Along with the police con- tract, the business has grown to accommodate other special services, such as for Aviation Security, the Defence Force, Ministry of Primary Indus- tries, St John Ambulance and NZ Fire Service. It’s a full-on turnkey opera- tion, Mr Turner says, from product design and devel- opment, manufacturing and installing lights, sirens, radio, and power management sys- tems into vehicle fleets. Nautech also operates a contract electronic manu- facturing business for many New Zealand customers who export electronic equipment around the world. The company turns out more than 50 production runs a week that can be 10 units to 10,000 per run. The latest development is an exciting move into motor racing track circuit control systems. The motor racing industry, Mr Turner says, is moving to LED lights and automation to increase visibility and safety. Nautech has developed the technology over the past eight years, which now replaces the traditional flag with an elec- tronic LED light system. The first full system installa- tion took place last year at the new Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, followed by a system installed and commis- sioned at Mallala Raceway, Adelaide. Marketed under the Alitrax brand, orders are rolling in monthly, including contracts at the Mt Panorama Circuit at Bathurst, and Sydney Mot- orsport Park, in New South Wales; the Caribbean island of Barbados, and a couple of con- tracts coming up in the United States. Nautech has also just ten- dered for a major circuit in Saudi Arabia. Mr Turner spent many years as a fire rescue marshal before racing in the high-per- formance Central Muscle Car Series throughout New Zea- land and could see the poten- tial for a new growth area. “There was interest world- wide in a racetrack system. Motorsport NZ couldn’t find a good and reliable system for a reasonable price and sug- gested that a NZ company could do it better. “So we developed the start lights and control system that is used nationwide. Now New Zealand leads the way with this technology. “Our philosophy is to pro- vide quality and flexibility,” he says. “If we see the need we will design and build it. Kiwis are known for it; we’ll make it work. “One of our strengths is our diversity. If it’s electronic, we can design and build it. “We can help customers to design or develop a product from scratch through to full production.” Mrs Turner, who started out doing the bookwork for the original operation in Howick, now directs human resources at the much-enlarged elec- tronics company. “We have a family culture. Our strength is all about team- work. It’s not just us. It’s spe- cialised. But it’s attitude as well as skills,” she says.
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