It’s funny how life turns out. If James Smith hadn’t been second engineer on one of Larry Ellison’s luxury yachts he may never have been awarded the New Zealand agency for Kaeser Mobilair.
Smith did his apprenticeship with Diesel Dundee where he first laid hands on Deutz engines, finely crafted German equipment that impressed Mr Ellison as well, so Smith was well placed in the end to be the right person for the job of maintaining the heart of the 68 metre nearly 1000 tonne superyacht Katana. It was a great feeling sailing the world and knowing it was due to much of his own expertise that the yacht was able to do so. A year later, ashore in Miami with a generous amount of money in his pocket, some friends said he should invest some of that loot in his future. So he did – he made some enquiries and funded himself into upgrading his skills at the Deutz plant in Cologne, Germany. And that was the strategy for the next decade, upgrading his skills to be the first diesel engineer in New Zealand to learn about the care and maintenance of Deutz engines at ground zero, so to speak.
During that time he also set up a business in New Zealand, Blueprint Diesel, where his commitment to Deutz paid more dividends because when the market changed – such as previously European-made machines now being outsourced to China and now not always reliable – he knew, on a visit to the enormous Bauma International Trade Fair, just what questions to ask and to whom he should direct them. Where could he get quality engineering, he asked and how could he be a local agent?
The result? The New Zealand agency for Kaeser Mobilair portable air compressors. The achievement is an exciting move for Blueprint Diesel and an auspicious start to the company’s tenth year. Although the key business remains Deutz, the Kaeser account is a serious platform from which to build and grow the business, says Smith. “With a bigger portfolio we can expand and diversify and find an even better fit between our products and our client’s needs.” Smith’s extensive Deutz training means Blueprint already has a reputation for a quick turnaround and less downtime because he and his engineers have such in-depth knowledge of the product as well as good accessible contacts within Deutz. These invaluable attributes will be extended to the Kaeser product and Smith says his Kaeser clients will experience that same high standard and extensive knowledge.
The Katana may now be a distant memory but as a catalyst for the provision of exceptional German engineering in New Zealand, she will never be forgotten.
Deutz – The engine company,
Kaeser – Portable air products and solutions,
Mann and Hummel – Filtration,
Volvo Penta – Industrial engines,
Motorpal – Diesel fuel injection equipment.