Following its sale from Tyco, Wormald is returning to local management under the leadership of new CEO, Andrew Lee. The following Q&A is an opportunity for you to get to know Andrew as he answers six key questions.
1. What direction do you hope to steer Wormald in as it transitions to new ownership?
I’m particularly excited about the impending changes to the Wormald business that will take shape this year. Under new local management, most of whom are existing key Wormald personnel, Wormald can return to being a dedicated fire business that is focused on delivering the specialised fire expertise it is renowned for. Wormald will also benefit from a less centralised and more flexible business structure, with regional-based decision-making driving the business forward.
We are also excited to continue to work on our technical capability, including investigating new products, systems and services.
2. How long have you been with the business and what positions have you held?
I spent more than 22 years with Tyco in roles that ranged from operational to leadership positions. I’ve worked in sales, service, installations, and products, as well as setting the company strategy and managing mergers and acquisitions, information technology, marketing communications, operational excellence, and customer service.
Prior to the sale of Wormald, I was a director of the Tyco businesses in the Pacific, as well as for the Tyco-Lend Lease traffic services Joint Venture.
I’m very pleased to be appointed CEO of the new organisation and because of its return to its fire-related roots, I am able to draw on my significant fire industry experience both in the Pacific and across Asia and the Middle East. While I have a comprehensive understanding of all the elements of the business, markets, and customer base, my passion remains with the Australian customers and returning Wormald to a local, trusted service.
3. What have been the highlights of your career at Wormald to date?
I’ve run fire strategy sessions all over the world, including in Korea, India, China, Germany, and the UK, as well as Australia. I’ve also participated in fire tests in various countries, including the UK and Australia. One of the standout features of Wormald is the genuine, committed, and passionate people I get to work with.
I’ve also been personally involved in developing new products and systems such as sliding fire doors and fire-rated door strikes, which play a role in helping to protect people and property during a fire emergency.
4. What are your priorities for the business in the next five years?
The next five years will be a remarkable and exciting new era for Wormald as we return to our fire safety roots. To help us meet our long term goals, the following priorities will be integral to our business growth:
- Put the right people in the right positions. This is crucial, as it will provide a strong foundation and ensure we have the right skills in the organisation to achieve our goals.
- Create a structure that allows for local accountability and ownership. An increased local focus will give us the autonomy we need, bolstered by local knowledge and experience, to grow the company strongly.
- Improve service and delivery. Only by providing outstanding service and delivery, and by delighting our customers, can we achieve growth. This will be a key focus.
- Grow in sectors where we have strength. Wormald has a long and proud history of delivering specialised fire expertise across Australia. Our strengths include identifying customers’ specific fire protection needs and delivering the right products and services accordingly. The intention is to really capitalise on this capability.
- Introduce new products, services, and technology. As well as growing in existing markets, Wormald will look to expand its business through new products, services, and technology. We will remain at the forefront of fire protection in this country through innovation and development.
5. What do you believe makes Wormald great?
The Wormald brand has been built over generations by committed, passionate people. These people have developed a culture that is almost hardwired; we are committed to keeping people safe. Although it’s a large company, Wormald has a family feel, with many of our employees enjoying long tenures with the company. Wormald is in the veins of many of our people, and that sense of community is what makes us great.
6. What is the future of fire protection in Australia?
If Wormald’s founders 125 years ago could see what we’ve achieved to date, they would be amazed but they would also be the first to remind us that there is always more to be done; more opportunities to improve.
Specifically, we are seeing new technologies emerge that allow for more proactive alarm system maintenance, such as remote smoke detector calibration and performance monitoring. We’re also seeing improved false alarm reduction and analysis, which is an important issue for building owners, managers and fire authorities.
In the services space generally there is a higher expectation of proactive behaviour, reporting, and 24/7 data availability.
Over the next few years we would expect that testing sprinkler systems will also evolve with the potential use of remote monitoring and solenoid systems to automate and streamline some of the current process and provide better levels of real time system status and monitoring.
More broadly, as industries and technologies advance so do fire protection requirements. For example, in the special hazards space, new power generation technologies such as wind turbines and solar farms bring new fire protection challenges, something Wormald specialises in.