OOSTEWALD VAN NIEKERK
Tells us about yourself and what motivates you:
Professionally I am motivated by people’s attitude and people’s loyalty towards me and my company. It is frustrating to work with a negative person or team. When everyone is excited, it is easy to be excited, but when people around you are morbid and negative it becomes extremely difficult to be motivated.
On a more personal note, I am motivated by a good quality of life. I enjoy nature and animals. To be able to live in a
place surrounded by nature and to share my life with a loyal person that is equally passionate about travel, animals
and nature is a great motivation. To know at the end of the day I can leave the hustle-and-bustle of the city behind
and be on my farm. Is a good motivation.
Tell us about your journey and what you’ve experienced and learnt at AGORA:
We have started from nothing, working out of a garage. Those days were hard, I think back to the sacrifices I had to make to build this ‘empire’ with Fred, and I am glad that we did not give up. I had a few offers to go ‘work for a boss’.
What are your values as a leader and how would you go about cultivating these values within the team?
Loyalty above all. I will be loyal to those who are loyal to me and defend them in every way that I can. My loyalty is expressed through my deeds and nothing else. I have your back, and you better have my back.
What are your personal and professional goals?
Long-term – To continue to grow AGORA into a force to be reckoned with. To become a preferred consulting firm and to expand our clientele.
How important is company culture to you and what measures do you take to maintain your desired culture?
Company culture is one of the key motivational factors in managing a healthy company.
We have from the beginning days of AGORA QS decided to establish a certain company culture, Friday afternoon drinks, Company braai’s, company breakfasts, year-end functions.
As directors we are the driving forces behind this culture, we have established a social portfolio with the employees who assist in the management of this culture.
What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?
What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this job?
Most important Loyalty to clients that gives you work and your business partner, second to that marketing and business development and lastly QS technical ability.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I had a few major health issues in my life, I had to learn how to walk again in 2005 after a major cycling accident. I got through this by never giving up. If one can endure so much physical pain and the emotional trauma associated with the loss of a basic ability like walking other things gets easier. You learn how to live and that there is more to life than money.
What are the key resources that have helped you along the way?
Firstly, the people I work with and secondly being able to use the latest technology available to a QS and not to discard technology simply because it scares me.
What changes / improvements would you like to see in the industry and within the company?
I would like to see the industry (not just AGORA) work towards the BIM technology, and use 3D modeling more to our advantage.