Vega hir­ing se­nior staff over­seas


A Porirua marine lights man­u­fac­turer is set­ting the world alight and hir­ing staff over­seas.

Els­don-based Vega In­dus­tries chief ex­ec­u­tive Ar­jen Maar­leveld said he be­lieved putting peo­ple on the ground over­seas would help the busi­ness grow faster.

The busi­ness, which was founded in 1972, de­signs and man­u­fac­tures high- end lights, tech­nol­ogy and soft­ware for the spe­cialised global ‘‘aid to nav­i­ga­tion’’ mar­ket.

It ex­ports 80 per cent of its prod­uct to core mar­kets in North Amer­ica, Bri­tain, Europe, South Amer­ica and the Mid­dle East.

Its nav­i­ga­tional lights pro­vide safe guid­ance in ma­jor wa­ter­ways, ports and har­bours from the English Chan­nel, Panama Canal and Congo River to sup­port­ing the United States Coast Guard.

Maar­leveld, who was ap­pointed in Jan­uary, was given the task of find­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the pri­vately owned, 40-per­son firm to grow.

He has since hired two se­nior ex­ec­u­tives.

So­phie Haslem has been ap­pointed the com­pany’s first chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer and will be based in Welling­ton.

New Zealan­der Hamish Wiig was ap­pointed vice-pres­i­dent of busi­ness devel­op­ment in the Amer­i­cas and will be based in Hous­ton, Texas.

The busi­ness had been suc­cess­ful from its New Zealand base, but had not made the ef­fort to get closer to its cus­tomers, Maar­leveld said. ‘‘This is a big change. ‘‘With a base in the Amer­i­cas we can work closely with part­ners, re­spond quicker and build up new mar­kets,’’ he said.

It was dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand a new mar­ket from half­way around the world and spend­ing more time with cus­tomers would al­low Vega to grow faster, he said.

It was con­sol­i­dat­ing strong mar­kets in Europe, the Mid­dle East and Australia, where it would soon em­ploy peo­ple.

China was an un­tapped mar­ket and came with chal­lenges, so Vega would wait un­til next year be­fore putting some­one in that mar­ket, he said.

In­no­va­tion con­tin­ued to be a driver for the busi­ness.

The Vega PEL, named af­ter the Physics and En­gi­neer­ing Lab­ora- tory of the old Depart­ment of Sci­en­tific and Industrial Re­search, is a sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue earner and there are plans to launch an LED ver­sion next year.

The light shows dif­fer­ent colours when viewed from dif­fer­ent an­gles, help­ing ships de­ter­mine their po­si­tion.

A Vega web ser­vice, for lights lo­cated in in­ac­ces­si­ble places such as rocks or is­lands, is also be­ing de­vel­oped.

The wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity will al­low lights to be re­motely mon­i­tored and con­trolled.

The com­pany is also work­ing with Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion on ad­vanced op­tics for the United States Navy.

‘‘ We are giv­ing them the busi­ness and hop­ing to col­lab­o­rate with their in­no­va­tion work dur­ing the next few years,’’ Maar­leveld said.

The key goal was to take Vega to the next level, us­ing the com­pany’s world-lead­ing rep­u­ta­tion to push into new growth mar­kets, such as pri­vate aids to nav­i­ga­tion for ports, mari­nas, and the oil and gas sec­tor.

Vega In­dus­tries nav­i­ga­tional buoys mark­ing the Lincs

Wind Farm, 8 kilo­me­tres off the east coast of


The Vega In­dus­tries fac­tory in


Vega In­dus­tries chief ex­ec­u­tive Ar­jen Maar­leveld.

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