In our occasional ‘Who is Who?’ series we like to introduce you the Victron people whose names you know, and whose faces you’ve seen – but you haven’t had a chance to chat, yet.
Introducing themselves today are Guy Stewart – online video training manager and Victron Community page moderator from New South Wales, Australia; and David Gutierrez – Sales Manager in Mexico.
Here they are in their own words:
Hi, my name is Guy Stewart.
As one of Victron’s more public faces, there is a chance that you have already come into contact with me through our Victron Community, or Professional Online Training program.
Working at Victron really feels like the job of a lifetime for me. It brings together so many of my previous interests and work experiences into one. My first contact with renewable energy systems was when I moved to an isolated forest in the Australian bush with my wife Kirrah.
When we arrived we had no electricity, no toilet and no running water. So had to learn through necessity how to build the systems to survive. It was a fantastic time and since then I have not stopped learning. While trying to figure it out, I studied and graduated with a Diploma of Permaculture, using my real world experiences as part of my course work. I also began to teach what I had learned (earning a trade certificate in training and assessment), giving presentations and other public speaking. Terrifying, but also a great thrill.
I found a strong mentor in Natalie Meyer and went to work for a community service organisation named the NNIC, as a Sustainability Project Co-ordinator. Helping start community farmers markets, a food co-operative, and …. locally owned renewable energy projects! I’d found something that I really loved to do, and pursued further professional work at one of Australia’s pioneer renewable energy companies Rainbow Power. There I found another mentor and role model in Paul O’Reilly. I had a diverse role at Rainbow, though working mainly as a stand alone power system designer, and part of a team developing tools to design the systems.
Living off grid myself helped me to understand at a very deep level what it was like, and doing it with my wife also helped me to understand what it could be like for other people!
Once I began working with the Victron equipment for my own customers, I was all in. I focused my time at Rainbow at becoming a Victron Specialist. Learning absolutely everything I could about the products, and how to use the range to meet the needs of my clients. At a point, I had read every Victron manual, designed and installed systems in nearly all possible applications (portable, cars, boats, caravans, homes, businesses and factories) domestically and internationally. I began helping others with Victron issues, troublesome systems are a great way to learn – and less stress when they aren’t your customer (or your wife).
Margreet Leeftink, the Victron Australia sales manager at the time, later told me that each time she saw one of my emails she knew the answer wasn’t going simple, and it wasn’t going to be in the manual. I loved the products, but eventually my frustrations with Victron’s documentation and training came to a critical point. I got a phone call from Amsterdam one afternoon, it was Matthijs Vader, the CEO of Victron. He had seen me trying to help others, and had heard some of my criticisms and he had an offer. If I thought I could make things better, I was welcome to join him at Victron and try!
Guy Stewart sent me a number of great images from which to illustrate his story. I’m tempted to move to Australia myself if this is his back garden.
Next let’s hear from David:
I am David Gutierrez, the Sales Manager for the Mexican market at Victron. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico – the land of tequila. I live with my lovely wife and my beloved 3-year-old son, Leon.