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By ‘Teaming’ we can take on all the big guys

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Interview with Steve Hunter, the new Vice President – EMEA for HINT

HINT, the information technology & metering specialist for the Oil and Gas Industry, has recently hired Steve Hunter as new Vice President for the Europe, Middle East & Africa region. Hunter is a heavyweight in the oil and gas world with years of experience. What role will he play in the successful Dutch company’s growth phase?

You have been active in the Oil and Gas Industry for 25 years. Where else have you worked?
Through the years I have had many diverse roles. I began my career as an engineer with Scottish Power and Total, where I was involved with the Electrical, Control & Instrumentation systems within the Power and Oil & Gas Industry. I moved over to Process Safety systems company – ICS where I started in engineering and moved into Technical sales. The technical sales role that was aimed at coming up with recommendations and solutions where my experience as an engineer was essential. In my short time at ICS we secured new contracts in Middle East as well new markets – Pharmaceutical. I was headhunted fairly by Honeywell. After successfully managing clients in UK, my next role was in International Sales Management where I travelled extensively from Canada, US, EMEA and Asia. After 4 years in Honeywell I was assigned to a GM position for Honeywell Middle East based in Qatar, where I grew the relatively small business and turned it into a major profit generating part of the company.

I was then headhunted again and joined Pracsi, a UAE based SI Company as VP. Then joined Una Engineering & Construction as SVP which was a step up into EPC contracting. We successfully implemented a various contracts for Power Plants, Gas Compressor Stations, Pump Stations and brownfield projects with SOC, NOC, BP and Shell. Later, I also worked at Emerson as Global Pursuits Director based in Dubai.

And now you are going to work for HINT. Why HINT?
HINT was initially not an obvious choice. After several years working outside large corporate organizations, I pursued my next career move with the major International Process Solutions and technology providers and as a result joined Emerson. After some time I realized that Emerson didn’t really suit me. I came to realize that Emerson is more of a product sales company and doesn’t suit my skillset and preference to manage and lead large complex and strategic solutions.
I have known Wout for years. I once bumped into him at a GE event in Florence. We hit it off well and ever since have been in touch to a greater or lesser degree. Last summer, I bumped into him again and we had a long conversation. He said he wanted to expand HINT further in the United States and that he was looking for someone to lead the business on this side of the ocean. My job would be to deepen the business and I was quickly impressed by both the quality of the product and the expertise of the team. So I said yes.

Sounds a bit like you’ll be minding the store…
Well, that isn’t my nature. I will manage the company in the Europe Middle East & Africa region, but also, on the other hand, look at how we can grow here. There are surely opportunities. HINT is a strong brand and people know the company and the people, but they associate it with a niche product. However, our consultants can think much more broadly than just the product features. HINT consultants can get on well in the conceptual phase of a project and play a role. I see some prospects for us. And it has the advantage that you have more to say about distribution of work in a later stage. There are growth opportunities in the Middle East region as well. HINT now does about seventy to eighty percent of its business in the region, but with my knowledge and network it should be possible to serve a larger share of the market there.

Is there, indeed, a broader scope possible? There are larger companies than HINT.
Yes, absolutely. Especially when it comes to the construction of Digital Fields. Currently, many oil & gas fields in the Middle East include relatively little measuring equipment. In addition, measurements are often unreliable. Digital Fields, oil & gas fields which are equipped with extensive sensor networks, can ensure that oil producers have better forecasts and can produce more efficient and cost-conscious oil. Construction of Digital Oilfields is a big movement in the world of oil and gas and a company with metering expertise such as HINT is, of course, excellently positioned.

Often, what major players can now offer is a total solution. Their measuring instruments and software is not as good as ours, but an end user can find it convenient to purchase all of their services from one source. We are, therefore, strongly involved with teaming up with other parties, who we see can also provide grade-A solutions. We are a relatively small party, but by teaming with others, we can take on all big guys.

Steve Hunter, Vice President – EMEA