Andy Dealtry: Current Chairman of the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage region of NAACAM and Director at Ebor Automotive Systems

Andy Dealtry is the current Chairman of the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage region of NAACAM and Director at Ebor Automotive Systems.

Andy was born and raised in Yorkshire, in the north of England, and has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.  Graduating in 1979, he entered the motor industry via the Ford Motor Company graduate development program.  His subsequent career has been evenly split: OE vehicle development, based at the Ford R&D Centre in the UK but also working in Europe and the US, and Tier 1 component manufacturing following a 2-year assignment to South Africa that morphed into a permanent relocation.

The assignment to establish a dedicated plant in PE to produce engine intake systems coincided with the creation of Visteon Corporation as a spin-off of the component manufacturing operation of Ford Motor Company.  The new facility was the first to be created as a Visteon operation from the outset.  With minimal support from the embryonic corporate structure, it provided a steep learning curve in business management as well as the novel experience of having to adapt to life on the other side of the OE/Tier 1 relationship.

All of which proved invaluable when Visteon elected to close the PE plant – its last-remaining powertrain facility – in 2014.  Having overseen the wind-down and closure of the plant, Andy and a small team of senior managers turned to the creation of the new, independent Tier 1 operation which became Ebor Automotive Systems.  Now a thriving company, with the support of its local investors and the IDC, Ebor has hugely expanded its PE capabilities and is currently establishing a new plant in East London which will launch in 2021.  Andy is now stepping back from the front line, handing the baton of executive responsibility to the next generation but retaining a very active interest in the development of the company and the industry.

What advice would Andy give to his younger self?  First, always be open to new experiences and challenges – but keep your brain in gear whilst doing so.  Second, strive to see and understand a bigger picture than the one you’re looking at immediately in front of you.  Without the context, how can you make the best choices?  Third, hire good people, point and guide them in the right direction, then get out of their way.

Andy’s thoughts on the #FutureofComponentManufacutring and South Africa’s automotive industry; “As an industry in SA, we are entirely dependent on the support of Government incentive programs and they exist only so long as we keep our side of the implicit bargain with Government – to earn hard currency, to employ people and to play an active role in the transformation of the country.  Fending off the many other legitimate claims to the same limited pool of funding is the game we’re playing. We win or lose as an industry team, OE’s and suppliers together – and the players in all successful teams need to cooperate for the good of the team. Building and maintaining that cooperation is the vital role of NAACAM and NAAMSA.

But we each individually compete like hell for our place in the team… we want to be on the pitch, playing the ball – and keeping our competitors stuck firmly on the bench.  Competition keeps us striving to be better, to avoid being dropped from the team and replaced by the guy who worked harder and smarter. But let’s not forget that we don’t get to play at all if the team loses the match… successful teams need players to be at the top of their individual game, but they also need them to play for the team.”