In the hot seat: Painting pictures of the market

In the hot seat: Painting pictures of the market

UK-born Steven Mawson, Konica Minolta's general manager for printing solutions and client services, is a man of many continents. He has spent many a moon in the African sun and discovered his love of art and graphic design while living in Zimbabwe.

Moving around the globe, he landed Down Under and practiced his artistic trade in Sydney for 18 months before making the giant leap into IT. At his current post, he wants to scale up the Konica Minolta printing solutions division, attract new channel partners, and broaden the business into the SME market. He expects recently recruited regional distributors - Zeus Technology and XIT Distribution - will help the company expand its reach alongside existing national partners, Ingram Micro and Alloys International..

What's your professional background?

Steven Mawson (SM): I have been with Konica Minolta for eight years, starting as the marketing manager for Asia-Pacific. The role developed into customer support and product marketing. For the past two-and-a-half years, I've been general manager of client services. I look after all of marketing, as well as customer and technical support and product. Previously, I worked with Unisys doing IT support, and with a family business doing operations and marketing for a training company. I also worked as a graphic designer in the UK, Zimbabwe and in Sydney.

How did you make the leap from graphic design into IT?

SM: I left the UK in 1980 after a brief stint with the Royal Navy and went to Zimbabwe to follow my family. I discovered in Africa that art was my thing. In Zimbabwe, I discovered my passion for illustrating wildlife. So I went back to the UK in 1983 to study design. After moving to Australia and freelancing in Sydney, I got into design on the corporate side, designing packaging and working in the advertising space. But I found the freelance market very difficult and didn't enjoy it. So I left and moved into IT, where I eventually ended up in marketing and support roles.

What has your design experience brought to your current IT role?

SM: It brings an understanding of products and branding, and the importance of giving the product an identity. As a designer, I understand what a product should look like from a branding perspective and from an image perspective.

What products make up Konica Minolta's printing solutions division?

SM: We offer laser printing solutions. We have 11 products, ranging from entry-level monochrome to A4 and A3 colour. We are primarily a colour company. We plan to release about five products into the market in the next 12 months.

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