Meet Tom Heinz, a civil engineer by trade who came to the man power business by accident. This engineering background has nurtured Tom’s exceptional attention to detail and it’s no secret that he loves processes and procedures—he literally never deviates from plans and likes everything to be well done as planned—to the dot.
Tom also keeps the CLEANEST desk in the company, something many might misinterpret as being “free” but according to him, if your desk is paperless, it means you are super-efficient!
“If I have no papers on my desk it’s because I’ve done my work really well. If you have a pile of papers on your desk it means you’re not organized or all this is work that you have not started working on which means you’re super late.”
It’s been a pleasure having Tom on the team and each of us at Q-Sourcing Servtec Uganda can attest to the fact that he has changed a lot about how we work and inspired many of us to take a fresh outlook on how we work. Tom will be moving to Congo, another territory of the ever growing Servtec International group and in this chat, he lets us in on his Uganda experience.
What has your role been with Q-Sourcing Servtec Uganda?
When I joined Q-Sourcing Servtec in March 2018 my first job was projects and innovation coordinator. I was to look into the projects to see how the guys work and how I can help make improvements. Coming from a very different style of work environment and a very different way of organizing the work, it hasn’t been an easy thing.
Along the way I was asked to step in as deputy general manager and had the opportunity to look into different departments to make adjustments & improvements. Then we went through the Stanford seed program during which I made it known that I prefer an operations role as opposed to managerial and that’s when I was moved to head of operations for the new structure which was just being put in place at the time. Later I became project manager for TASC (The Assessment and skilling center) up until this point
Walk us through your experience working in Uganda, what has it been like?
It’s a completely different way of working. Working for British based system is very different from a French based system, even the company structure is not the same for example we don’t have a board in the French system so that was a big difference and the biggest challenge for me. What I really liked in Uganda is the people! It’s a very nice place to live, nice place to work, the weather is nice, the scenery is great so as an expatriate, it’s a very nice place to work and I would recommend it to any one, as soon as you start talking to Ugandans you realize they are very open and friendly people unlike some countries where it’s very complicated to get to know people.
In the workplace, it’s been a bit of a challenge getting people to understand that work is work! For example when I make my feelings known about something that wasn’t done right, it has nothing to do with you as a person, it’s just unfortunate that it was you who did it but it’s nothing personal. If you don’t do your job, sure, you’ll have a problem with me. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that you have a job and it’s not being done.
What’s your fondest memory at QSS?
Getting a drink with colleagues after work, that has been nice! When I joined the company I was the only expatriate so it was not easy to get used to the people, to understand them, so these guys were very welcoming from day one they took me out for a drink after work and allowed me to associate with them which was very nice.
Work related, my fondest memory is visiting the sites. I’m an operational guy so I like to see how things are done on site—I like to spend more time on the sites but sadly according to my role specifications I have had to spend more time in office also, on a practical level, it’s not easy for me to keep up with the thousands of employees we have across East Africa on top of the office work but I think I really liked the site visits and the site meetings.
Who will you miss the most at Q-Sourcing Servtec & why?
Probably Anitah my roommate, she’s been available and she has been helping me since day one; a bit more by Patricia but then Patricia moved to the Q-Sourcing Kenya office and Anitah took over especially since we moved to the same office she has always been helping and very nice to be in the same office she’s very funny and nice most of the time.
What’s next for Tom Heinz?
I’m going to Servtec Congo, back to my previous job but a layer above, going back to the same kind of work in clients’ relations. I will be in charge of clients department, monitoring and supervising the team as well as handling a couple key accounts in oil and gas and construction.
Any last words?
I enjoyed living and working in Uganda, it’s a very good country and if it was up to me, I wouldn’t want to leave. I wish the team at Q-Sourcing Servtec Uganda all the best; there is still a lot of work to do. At times I really feel that my approach to structuring has not been captured properly may be I was too straightforward and perhaps came off as too harsh at the beginning, change management is not always easy. I also think when people are used to doing things a certain way and you push them too much they just shut down but I think at least some small things have been done well and I just hope they get someone to keep pushing them and they keep pushing themselves.
Some of my colleagues are really proactive they really want to try and change stuff & they really want to try and get there but they don’t know how to or they don’t know who to turn to and some others still feel comfortable doing what they have been doing for the past years and they don’t really want to change because it has been comfortable but they have to change because Patrick (CEO) has been clear that we want change for the company if you’re not ready to change you might as well leave but it’s been a very nice experience being able to be part of such a huge change in the company, its very rewarding, and you get to learn a lot about yourself, how you do business and how you structure yourself and your work.