2018 North Harbour Business Hall of Fame Laureate
Following schooling at Onepoto and Verran’s Road Primary, Birkdale Intermediate and Northcote College, Steven gained a Bachelor of Engineering at Auckland University and in 1986 began work as a Project Engineer for Hennessy Grading Systems. Taking on projects that many may have termed ‘Lemons’, Steven successfully delivered outstanding results and was promoted to R&D Manager of a team of 35 at the age of 23. Steven was sent to The Netherlands to stabilise and grow Hennessy Europe and after three years returned to New Zealand as Group General Manager aged 27.
In 1993, Steven joined Talon Research & Development Limited a forerunner to Navman as General Manager, taking a drop-in salary and with sales at only $200,000 and making huge losses, he wondered if he’d made the right decision! However, he got to work with Sir Peter Maire and Peter had MEGA dreams and believed they were all possible. Together they made a formidable team, picking the best of Peter’s dreams and turned them into reality.
Between 1993 and 2004, they grew Navman into four business units, Marine Electronics, Car Navigation, Fleet Tracking and GPS applications. Developing more than 400 products, many world firsts and most were manufactured in New Zealand. In 2003, realising that Navman needed a bigger shareholder that could fund the future growth they decided to sell the business to Brunswick for $112million. Steven left Navman early 2006, global sales had exceeded $500 million, Navman was operating in more than 40 countries around the world and had more than 1,300 staff.
Not one to settle into early retirement, Steven looked to become a professional director/consultant, specializing in helping Hi-Tech companies grow from $10m to $100m. It quickly became clear Steven was not yet ready to leave management and started looking for his next venture to grow.
In 2007, Steven came across EROAD, a pre-revenue two man and no dog start up. 18 months later, 60 man-years of R&D and $10m invested, EROAD delivered the world’s first national electronic road user charging system in New Zealand. EROAD grew rapidly, appearing in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for five consecutive years. In 2014, EROAD established offices in Australia and the USA and IPOed on the NZX raising $40m to fund growth. EROAD’s revenue last year grew 57% to $52m, employing more than 240 staff, most who live on the North Shore. EROAD is seen as a global leader in regulatory telematics including road taxes, driver fatigue management, health and safety compliance and fleet management.
Steven enjoys life on the North Shore with his wife Colette and children Alexandra and Henry and is very generous in giving back to the community in which they live. Not one to look for recognition or thanks they avoid the limelight that is often associated with philanthropy.
Steven’s contribution to the North Harbour business and community makes him a very worthy North Harbour Business Hall of Fame Laureate.