Based in Houston, Texas, Hamish has been with Tait for eight years and is responsible for strategic sales and marketing in Latin America. Hamish has recently been awarded the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Scholarship Award to study at the prestigious Harvard Business School.
Can you give us a brief history about Tait’s presence in Latin America?
Latin America is rich with diverse countries and cultures. It’s my job to make sure we understand these diversities and give our customers exactly what they need.
To do that, Tait has developed a dedicated and specialized group of multi-lingual solutions engineers, business development managers, commercial, financial, marketing, logistics, and services teams for our growing customer-base in Latin America. But we couldn’t do it without the support of by our large dealer, distributor and service network throughout the region.
Brazil is our largest market in Latin America and we are focused primarily on the utilities and public safety sectors. We’ve got three key partners in Brazil for customer service and support. Since 2005, we’ve designed, deployed and supported digital radio solutions for Civil and Military State Police forces, major oil gas companies such as Petrobras, and some of Brazil’s largest electric distribution utilities.
Other large customers throughout Latin America include municipal police forces in Mexico, the National Nicaraguan Police, Colombian mining company El Cerrejon, Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA, and large utilities in Costa Rica, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Our aim in Latin America is to take our customer service experience to the next level by dramatically increasing our service capabilities. Today we are number two and right behind the incumbent in Brazil and we hope to leverage from this success and further advance other Latin American markets.
What are the typical challenges that a public safety agency in Brazil faces? How important is radio communications?
Firstly, there are two police forces for each Brazilian state; the Military Police who are responsible for law enforcement and the Civil Police who are responsible for criminal investigations and forensics. Both forces operate independently under the Secretary of Public Safety who reports directly to the State Governor. There is also the Federal Police force of Brazil, subordinate to the Ministry of Justice, whose primary responsibility is to investigate crimes against the Federal Government. In addition, large municipalities have Municipal Guard forces to protect municipal assets.
Organized crime is a challenge all of these forces share. To name a particular incident, in 2006 a criminal group brought the city of São Paulo and its 10 million residents to a standstill. The criminal group was able to listen to police radio transmissions and then coordinate attacks on police stations, precincts and prison units.
In response, the State of São Paulo implemented a long term crime prevention plan and radio communications were recognized as a key part of this. Secure communications to protect the effectiveness of daily policing and covert operations was a top priority for the Military and Civil Police of São Paulo. Digital APCO P25 technology was chosen for interoperability, open standards and advanced encryption standards.
Following the deployment of six large P25 Tait networks and more than 10,000 P25 encrypted Tait radios to provide secure police communications throughout the state of Sao Paulo, the city experienced a 60% decrease in crime between 2006 and 2011.
Major investments in digital communications – driven by government-led initiatives – for the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have begun. Public security is paramount and we’re ready to deliver our best solutions for these world-class sporting events.
You were recently awarded a prestigious scholarship to the Harvard Business School. Can you tell us about that?
Yes, in July 2013 I’ll begin the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard as part of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Business Scholarships program. It’s a huge honor and fantastic opportunity to extend my skills and knowledge in business leadership. I’m extremely grateful to Tait for the nomination and the New Zealand government for making this opportunity possible. Learning from recognized academic experts and networking with executives from successful global organizations will certainly broaden my knowledge of leadership best practices.