We are pleased to introduce you to Akshay Maharajh, our Global Solution Manager for Real Estate and Facilities Management Solutions.
From enthusiastic cricketer to aspirant engineering student to global expert in Real Estate and Facilities Management solutions. Akshay shares his passion for engaging with people around him, improving technology, travelling, and soaking up every learning opportunity he can get.
Spend some time with Akshay and learn what motivates him to get up and go, go, go.
How did you come to Vetasi?
Coming out of university fueled with an engineering degree, I was destined to work at a manufacturing plant and revolutionise assembly lines. Unfortunately, a competitive job market had other plans for me.
I decided to be more open minded and considered an opportunity well beyond my expectations and attended an interview with Pieter Joubert. He did an incredible job in convincing me that an industrial engineer can add value in facilities management, I decided to take the leap of faith and never looked back since.
What has been the greatest influence on your career?
My father has been pivotal in forming my outlook on life. From a career perspective, I witnessed the challenges, agony, and setbacks he faced and above all – the sacrifices made to fuel my development.
Mindful of the privileged position I find myself in, the goal of establishing a successful career and a better life for myself and my family is always a primary motivator.
If you could travel anywhere, right now, where would it be?
Anywhere – experiencing a new destination is only effective if accompanied by the right people.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A cricket player, growing up it was a passion that evolved into a potential career having competed at a provincial level. A clear turning point in my life was a Friday that I had to decide between studying away from home or pursuing a cricket scholarship – 2 days later I woke up alone in an apartment, ready to tackle the challenge of an engineering degree and learning to fend for myself as an independent human being for the first time.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for businesses in today’s digital world?
Physical engagement – moving into the era of virtuality, physical interaction and engagement is seemingly losing its “magic”. I am a big believer in change and progression but one of the greatest reminders I have learnt, post-pandemic, is the irreplaceable effectiveness of physical engagement.
If you could travel back in time, what is the one bit of advice you would give your 15-year-old self?
Buy bitcoin and Sasol shares.
What has been the biggest enhancement or change in digital technology that has had an impact on your life?
Smartphones – growing up with the legendary flip phones and witnessing how smartphones have gradually become an essential part of our lives, it has led me to believe in the power of technology and more importantly – the rate of technological advancements in recent decades.
What do you appreciate most about working at Vetasi?
The culture – kicking off my career I was mindful about the workforce horror stories seen in so many movies (thankfully I am yet to experience this in action), sharing a personnel and professional relationship with almost everyone in the organisation is refreshing and contributes heavily towards effective internal communication.
What has changed the most at Vetasi since you joined Vetasi?
The concept of “One Vetasi” has influenced various areas within the organisation. A shift towards a global team working towards common goals allows for an agile-minded workforces with opportunities to meet and gain experience from colleagues all around the world.
What is the one thing that really stands out for you, working at Vetasi?
Opportunities to learn & grow are never far. As a young professional, having the opportunity to listen and interact with extremely experienced and knowledgeable colleagues has contributed rapidly towards my professional development.
It is a unique opportunity that is not commonly presented in larger organisations due to the stringent corporate hierarchies – I am a firm believer “learning by listening” to which Vetasi fully satisfies.
What is your area of focus?
My role involves providing pre-sales expertise across our various regions around the world. Leveraging my experience with the Planon solution allows me to provide both product and industry-related insights which assists in securing prospective business opportunities.
I am a big believer in adding value by contributing towards solutions – one of the key reasons I decided on engineering as a formal qualification. The thrill of solving problems in the growing Real Estate & Facilities Management industry has sparked a passion I never new existed a few years ago.
Which was your most memorable business trip? Where and why was it so special?
A recent trip to the United Kingdom which could be described as the perfect balance between work and pleasure. Adapting to unforeseen challenges like the biggest train strike in London history to the loads of laughter and chemistry building with Pieter Joubert and Jonny Snelling, it was an experience that had it all.
On a different note, engaging with people with decades of knowledge provided me yet another opportunity to soak in some invaluable experience. I also found it quite remarkable seeing the buildings, infrastructure, and pace at which the city operates – it provided me a different perspective on how others embrace life.
How do you think sustainability is going to change the Real Estate and Facilities Management environment and offering in the next 5 years?
As human beings, sustainability needs to be a vital part of our lifestyle. Whether it is small changes like opting for a paper straw instead of a plastic straw – when performed at scale, a significant impact can be made on the environment.
Similarly, building occupiers have become more attracted towards properties that are environmentally conscious and have active ESG ambitions. Investing in Energy & Sustainability Management and defining clear objectives is a positive step however, leveraging IoT and effective software management tools has equally significant as it ensures objectives can be measured and achieved in time.
What was the biggest change that Facility Managers | FM Service Providers had to adapt to during the past 2-3 disruptive and restrictive pandemic years?
The effective use of building space. Prior to the pandemic, large facilities were casually managed from a utilisation perspective because the risk of drastically reduced occupancy levels were never considered.
Suddenly, questions such as “How do I calculate covid capacity?” and “Are workspaces well-spaced to cater for social distancing?” raised awareness for most organisation regarding the importance of effectively utilizing space but also effectively “managing” space utilisation.
I anticipate this realisation along with the hybrid work model to provide recognition to certain key Facilities Management sub-sectors.
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