Interview with Mr. David Leal, Country Manager for Eltek Australia and Delta Electronics Australia
Text by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Photographs by Mr. David Leal
Bangkok, Thailand, August 13, 2020- The recent acquisition of Eltek Australia by Delta Thailand was another milestone in Delta Thailand Group’s regional growth and a welcome boost amid the gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite challenges, Delta is doubling down on our commitment to sustainable growth and strengthening our brand presence in Australia and New Zealand.
In this email interview, Mr. David Leal, Country Manager for Eltek Australia and Delta Electronics Australia shares his background and career development at Eltek and Delta, how the two companies complement each other to better service customers, the Australian market’s challenges and business opportunities and what it takes to succeed and drive business growth down under.
Can you share with us a bit about your background and your career up until now?
I completed my studies in Australia and hold a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Sydney University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Management from Macquarie Graduate School of Management. After starting my engineering career in Australia, I moved to California in 2001 to take a product marketing role with a company who had made a major acquisition within the Telecom space and wanted to further develop their USA presence. This role was vital in developing several new families of small to medium power systems aimed at OEMs and direct to Telecom operators.
In 2008, I joined Eltek USA in Dallas, Texas as VP Sales, North America. This role included managing the sales integration of the recently acquired Valere Power into Eltek USA, establishment and development of system integrator partners throughout USA and Canada and the development of new datacenter related business with a leading search engine company.
Following this, I relocated to Singapore in 2014 to take over the APAC region for Eltek which was just ahead of Delta’s acquisition. This move was very exciting, as the customers in APAC work at a much faster decision pace compared to the American Telecom incumbents, but also very challenging as during this period we saw increased aggressive competition from the Chinese suppliers and newer startups.
In the end, I spent sixteen years abroad across three continents before moving back to Sydney where I presently reside.
What are some key differences between Eltek and Delta, and how do the two companies complement each other?
Eltek has experienced significant success in developing products with long term roadmaps using the Norway R&D team. This has generally resulted in long lifecycles of key family elements of the portfolio that have been successful in Telecom operators across the world. Eltek has also maintained focus on local country teams rather than being dependent on local partners or distributors.
Delta on the other hand provides strength through the ability to move quickly with a lot more mass in the development of customized products and software. It also relies on a tighter link between the country and the different BU’s for a lot of activities with customers.
The thing I find fantastic in having both companies together is that I am able to look to different teams to accommodate various customer requirements. Essentially we are able to better service our customers through using the engineering team that best matches the opportunity. This allows us in many cases, especially for larger systems, to provide a faster response time to customers than we were able to before the acquisition.
What makes Australia an attractive market for Delta?
Australia is a geographically large country with a lot of mining, farming and is often used as an early introduction market for new technologies. This is based on Australia being a contained and isolated market with a somewhat manageable population of twenty five million, including a broad middle class. It is therefore a very attractive market to grow revenue and profitability for strong, well-established companies like Delta.
What strengths or business approaches set Delta Australia apart in the market and help you take on well-established incumbent brands?
Delta Australia has been in the Australian market for over twenty years now. Eltek, in particular, is a well-renowned brand in the Australian Telecom space and has gained significant recognition in recent years through its expansion in the Datacenter space with over 80MW of power solutions being rolled out in the last five years.
Bringing the Delta, Vivotek and Eltek brands together provides us with a unique position, and enables us to feed off one another within the respective markets. We also have a high quality local team who have shown a willingness to work together regardless of brand or BU. This makes us well-positioned to take market share from some of the bigger, slower-moving incumbent brands.
What challenges and growth opportunities do you see in the next two-five years for Delta Australia?
In some market segments, our brand is lacking in strength, which means we need to work twice as hard to communicate the strong, global company Delta is. I also think that many of the markets will get tougher and even more competitive as the economic impact of COVID is further realized.
We see good growth with the introduction of 5G and the ongoing expansion of Data Centers which started in Australia several years back but continues to ramp. We also predict expansion in manufacturing as we see a strong trend of companies pulling their manufacturing back to Australia from abroad as a result of COVID and political pressures. Finally, we see major opportunities for Energy Infrastructure including Grid connect solutions for power quality and short energy storage which is getting a lot of attention from the market and the government.
Please tell us some fun facts about yourself.
I am married to a girl from Dallas, Texas and we have an 11-year-old daughter as well as two dogs, one big black one and one very small white one. I love to be active and with my family and friends I set a few race challenges a year, so most early mornings before work and on the weekends you can find me running, cycling or swimming in Sydney.
How do you foster a growth environment within your teams?
Our local attitude is that we win or lose together as a team. It doesn’t matter what BU you are working with, we are focused on working together to grow our organization. This means supporting each other, bouncing ideas off each other and most of all using each other’s customers to facilitate further product penetration and associated revenue growth.
Who are some of the most memorable people you have worked with at Delta, and why?
I would say that Dr. Charles Tsai stands out for me as he was instrumental in supporting the product solution that was used in a key Australia Data Center account. He listened to the opportunity that my team and I presented to him and quickly brought his team into it and ultimately ensured it was delivered. This working relationship between groups has continued to grow ever since. It showed, very early after the acquisition, what the new combination of Delta and Eltek teams could achieve together.
What are the top qualities a sales or business development manager needs to possess to succeed in the Australia and New Zealand markets?
Customer focus, customer focus and customer focus. You can never say it enough. If you can keep your customer happy in all aspects, especially during these work from home times, then they will look after you into the future. You certainly have to keep the customer honest and ensure you look after Delta’s best interests in the process but if you are professional in your approach with a competitive product they will more often than not stay with you for the long term.
Is there anything you would like to share with your Eltek and Delta colleagues around the world?
I think we work for an incredibly strong organization that is well-positioned to grow into an even bigger powerhouse coming out of the COVID financial crisis. There are many companies that will not survive these challenges and therefore we should respect that we are in a good position, stay focused on the tasks at hand and work hard to support the opportunity we have been given.
I also want to say that I am incredibly proud to be leading Australia for Delta and remain very excited about what the future holds for our company.
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/