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For Sets, Drapes, Screens (Pty) Ltd’s Operations Manager, Andre Matthysen, landing a job which takes him ‘beyond his limits’ on any working day, has meant the difference between having a job and having a career.

Andre comes from a non-technical business background (branch manager / area manager / operations manager) working in the retail space and attributes his managerial skills as much to managing the varied aspects of retail stores as to the NQF level 6 diploma in management he undertook at the time. “I always knew that that the path I was on would not be the final path for me but in that environment I learned a great deal about people, how to work with them as well as client relations which has stood me in good stead”.

“I was given the opportunity to change direction and joining SDS as Operations Manager was a pivotal point in my work life. It changed me completely; from my outlook on life and work to my approach to difficult situations. I have developed a keen appreciation for what I have and what I can achieve when pushed beyond the call of duty. For me, joining SDS at Gearhouse gave me the chance to change my work into a career. I have learnt that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to and the challenge of always trying to deliver beyond the clients’ expectations is what the set construction business is all about.”

He also maintains that the calibre and overall attitude of your workforce can mean the difference between ‘just doing’ a project and ‘delivering a success’, so instilling a team mind-set of ‘going the extra mile’ for clients both onsite and in the workshops is part of his daily input. 

Andre aims to contribute to the expansion of the SDS business portfolio and to systematically improve on the way projects are handled and managed – from the proposal phase through to execution and handover phase - so that time is used more effectively and productively. “We aim to be the leaders in this industry. SDS must always be the first port of call for set building and installation requirements.” His approach to managing his team revolves around communication and a shared vision. “Communication is at the core of what we do and working off assumptions can cause severe damage to a good work environment. If you have something to say – say it. The old adage of there being no ‘I’ in ‘T E A M’ holds true - what makes a winning team is people who can work together to achieve the same goal. At the end of the day we can look back at what we have achieved and give ourselves a pat on the back that the hard work and dedication has paid off."

Commitment is clearly a dominant character trait. At 33, Andre is happily married to the woman he met when they were 17 and 15 respectively. “We met and were madly in love from the first day we saw each other. From the moment I saw her I knew she was going to be my wife and we have been blessed with a son whom we adore – he will be turning 10 in July." 

Despite the demands of a busy operation, however, he still makes time to enjoy golf, boating, fishing, braai, listening to good music, spending quality time with his family and enjoying the outside life.

Feb 2, 2015

The Gearhouse Group of Companies