Can you tell us a little about your background?
For the last 15 years or so I’ve worked on major project specifications in the UK lighting industry, across several sectors inside and out, with engineers and architects.
Predominately my role has been to hunt for business from specifiers and collaboratively grow market share. I mostly support engineers and architects but clearly, this isn’t prescriptive and often includes local authorities or other stakeholders, dependent on the project type.
I originally trained and worked as an architectural designer in London. I joined a little design company called Woodhouse in 2006, which specialised in street and urban lighting. Initially, I worked as a design manager and end up as a commercial regional manager after seven years. I was very fortunate to be involved in some major awarding-winning projects here, leading a specialist team for LEC Lyon.
I was then approached by Urbis-Schreder to lead their UK Projects team to diversify their offer away from street lighting into large area and architectural work on a London/National specification basis. I had a lot of success, most notably leading my team and winning a technical design competition award from the City of London in 2017 which led to major project development and growth for the company.
I joined Osram/Siteco in 2019 as a senior applications consultant, growing large area, industrial, education, healthcare, etc, so majority large contract work, ROI, etc.
I’ve had significant product development and contract design experience along the way too, working with end-users, contractors, wholesalers, and partners.
Why did you decide to join Midstream?
I’ve followed the Midstream story since it launched. From ‘the new kid on the block’ and an industry disruptor to the market leader in just 10 years, it really has been a remarkable story. So, when the chance to join the company to help it grow even further appeared, I had to grab it with both hands. It’s very exciting and a real honour to be part of such an accomplished and innovative company!
How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?
Midstream is very focused in terms of the niches it operates in. Its products, expertise, service, and customer-centric values are extremely important in these highly technical areas of lighting. Like any lighting brand that’s respected, it offers quality, technical brilliance. Unlike some, however, it delivers on its commitments and the after-sales care Midstream offers is 2nd to none. Taking all these things together, they make the company stand head and shoulders above the rest of the industry.
What excites you about your new role?
It’s going to be extremely exciting getting to grips with taking an incredible brand and being able to map into all the corners of the specification world. It’s the opportunity to make sure everyone knows who Midstream is and understands what it offers in areas where we’re not represented at the moment. The company is in a great place and is growing. I’m looking forwards to putting my all in to make it grow even further.
You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?
Partners, dealers, contractors, and distributors all play a big part in the creation of a project and the underpinning of a strong specification and consequently the respect of a brand. The value of their support and involvement can’t be ignored and needs to be nurtured. That’s what I’ll also be doing at Midstream.
What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?
My most memorable ‘project’, or moment, would have to be the London Smart Spaces Competition win whilst I was at Urbis-Schreder I mentioned earlier. Our award-winning entry focused on the application of helpful smart technologies through the existing lighting network. This is something that interests me greatly, because the benefits to the environment and society are potentially so huge. Also, retro-fitting into our lovely UK towns and cities is such an expensive and difficult problem, but this approach more than solved it.
But I guess this is strictly a competition entry and doesn’t count as a proper ‘project’. So, my choice would have to be upgrading the main Wembley Stadium and Olympic Way entrance with new high-mast fittings… You don’t get to work on something iconic as that often in your life.
Tell us something your CV doesn’t.
When I’m not working I’m heavily involved in local community projects and heading up the development of a recreational ground in our village. My family has been supporting the RNLI for many years and I’ve helped raise funds for the charity by running art sales in our area too. I’m a Governor at our local primary school, and Chairman of the resident’s association, and help protect the beautiful village we live in. I consider the built environment to be very important in itself, but also how it’s intrinsic in protecting the countryside for future generations.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a keen walker and mountain biker when I get the chance! By that I mean my wife and I have three children under 10 years old. So finding ‘spare’ time can be difficult. I love reading, music, drawing, and cooking too – with the odd spot of gardening thrown just in case I’ve got five minutes free.
Simon Newcombe - Head of Specification at Midstream Lighting
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March 11, 2021