Having joined Midstream in September 2020, Mark Nailer has played a critical role in building and strengthening our offering to the maritime industry. With Mark now taking on an expanded role as Midstream’s new Head of Maritime, we sat down with him for a quick chat about his time with us so far, plans for the future, and more.
So first things first, Mark, congratulations on the promotion! Tell us more – what does Head of Maritime mean from your point of view, and how does it differ from your previous role?
“Thank you! I think that the main difference is the degree of autonomy I have, which is going to make a big difference in terms of the speed at which we can serve our customers. This will be the first time that Midstream has had a dedicated divisional head for maritime, and that’s going to help us make quicker and more focused decisions about how we approach projects in the sector. That’s only going to be a good thing for our clients.
“The other benefit to that is simplicity. Going forwards, all of our global operators and equipment manufacturers will have a single point of contact, making things much simpler for them. A big part of what I want to achieve as Head of Maritime is just ensuring that things are as easy as possible for our customers.”
And what about you personally? What are you most excited about as part of that step up?
“There are a number of things, but developing the wider maritime team is probably the main one for me. We’ve had a phenomenal two years, but I want to build out the team, improve our coverage even further, and expand our presence across a wider range of markets. Most importantly, I want to ensure that we can deliver the right level of service no matter how large or complex the project is.
“More generally, this is just a really exciting opportunity to build something great and very different for our customers. I think that maritime is a sector where legacy lighting practices are still in force in a lot of places, and I see that as something that we can play a huge role in changing.”
Which is where your previous experience comes into play, I guess?
“I hope so! Prior to joining Midstream, I was the ports and terminals industry manager for a major equipment manufacturer, and a container and loading specialist before that. So, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know how maritime environments work and the kinds of issues that operators are thinking about – and I think that specialist knowledge goes a long way in giving our customers confidence.
“That’s reflected in the growth of our maritime business over the past two years. We’ve gone from being a company that people within the industry were simply aware of, to being one that is known, trusted, and actively the first choice for many. That’s because they know that we genuinely understand their business, and their industry.”
Speaking of which, what do you see as the biggest issues in maritime at the moment?
“Sustainability, definitely. The manner in which operators are approaching their environmental commitments is admirable, and the majority seem to be taking their pledges very seriously. At the same time, too many still aren’t modernising because they’re worried about buying technology that is quickly superseded. So they’re in a Catch-22 of either doing nothing or taking a chance on something – and the cost of doing nothing is getting greater by the day.
“To me, that’s one of the great things about what Midstream offers. LED lighting is tried, tested, and does exactly what is needed – not just in terms of sustainability, but productivity and safety too. It’s also a very low risk investment with a rapid ROI, both of which are critical at a time when global uncertainty is at an extreme high.”
It must be quite rewarding to be able to sit down with a port or terminal operator and explain exactly how you can help them meet their commitments.
“It is. And we’re very transparent and open when it comes to our designs and specifications. We share all of that information with our customers, which isn’t what I’d call standard practice – either in maritime or in lighting more generally.
“We’re actually so committed to doing the right – rather than the most profitable – thing, that we won’t even quote for a job until we’re sure the customer has a design that they’re happy with.”
And with that in mind, are there any projects from the past couple of years that you’re particularly proud of?
“Absolutely. APM Terminals Apapa is one that springs to mind. That was a very demanding project in what can be a complex market, and one that we’d been discussing with them for a long time before I even arrived. So to win that and deliver what we did for APM was fantastic. We actually saw their team at the recent TOC Europe event, and they were telling us how pleased they were with the result.
“The other reason that Apapa stands out is because we worked in partnership with Talk Ports – a distributor in Africa and the Middle East – and that’s a relationship that I’ve personally helped to build. The partnership works similarly to the one we hold with Niras – a sustainability consultancy – in that Midstream products are integrated into their proposals. I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made with both of those organisations.
“Really, though, there are just so many excellent projects to look back on from the past 18 months. Bristol, Antwerp, Bahrain – we’re doing great work for great customers all around the world.”
Excellent. And, final question…Excellent. And, final question… Now that you’re in the hotseat, what’s first on the to-do list? Now that you’re in the hotseat, what’s first on the to-do list?
“Crane lighting! We have an absolutely world-class crane lighting solution, and it should be in much greater use than it is today. I want to make sure that more of our clients are benefiting from the exceptional work that our design team has done in this area.”
Well, we’ll have to check back in a year or so, then! Mark, thanks for your time and best of luck in the new role.
Looking for more about Midstream’s maritime solutions? Check out our newly-launched brochure here.