Our Christchurch & Software Team

01 July 2020 > General, Software,

Introducing our Christchurch and Software team

As so often happens, you spend so much time talking to someone on the phone or emailing and you have no idea what the person looks like. We want to introduce our team to you. Keep reading to learn about our whole Christchurch and software team.

Jon Andrews
Senior IT Consultant

Jon has been working in IT for over 20 years and has been with Focus since Feb 2019. Over the years he has worked in different roles including Systems Administration, Network Administration, IT Security and Project Management.

This vast breadth of knowledge, and having owned his own IT business in Wanaka for 7 years means he understands the issues facing our clients and is an expert problem solver.

A normal day could see Jon installing, configuring, troubleshooting or sourcing IT equipment for our clients. Before doing anything though he will talk to you about what problem you need to solve, making sure IT is the right solution. If it isn’t, he will suggest other options.

In another life he was an Olympic track cyclist, Commonwealth Games medallist and Coach for the NZ under 19 Track Cycling Team - he is just as happy to talk sports as he is to talk systems!

 

Alex Ball
Senior Software Consultant

Alex is our most senior MYOB Exo consultant, specialising in the more complex sites and tasks. He oversees and supports the other Exo consultants and his ability to write SQL scripts as fluently as he can write English is legendary (and extremely helpful) within the office.

Alex has vast experience in integrating Exo with third party packages such as Blue Echidna, Netstock and various freight systems and websites. He is also the go to for complex reporting and performance tuning.

He relishes the opportunity to improve systems, particularly when they are challenging in their complexity. He finds it particularly fulfilling when clients recognise the value of solid long term solutions as opposed to band-aids.

His very first MYOB Exo implementation was in 1999 when he was working for MBS. He started there several years earlier as a Junior Technician and moved through the ranks before moving into business software where he worked with several other packages. Eventually he bought the business with a partner in 2006. He built the software team from 1 (himself) to 5 and then sold the business to Focus in 2014. Three of that team remain with us today.

Alex loves all things outdoors – tramping, mountaineering, rock climbing, road and mountain biking, skiing and anything else that involves risk. His children Zoe and William often join in, as their dad tries to keep the screen time in check. They aren’t always 100% happy about that, but they have a great time and are sure to appreciate it more in later years!

 

Ranae Dodds
Senior Software Consultant

Ranae works predominantly with MYOB Exo and is involved with implementations and support for our clients.

A big part of her job is to work out your requirements for a task, relay this to other team members and work with them to deliver what you need.

Expect to be asked lots of questions – many of them starting with “Why” as Ranae drills down and helps you to make sure you are getting the solution you really need.

Ranae has been helping MYOB Exo users since 2009, and joined Focus in 2014.

Prior to this she was the Logistics and Finance Manager for a Sports Drink manufacturer and distributor in the UK.

Ranae loves all things outdoors, water sports, gardening, keeping fit and healthy and very much enjoys shopping!

 

Andrea Hollmann
Software Consultant

Andrea is part of our MYOB Exo team and joined Focus in 2019. She enjoys helping make day to day life easier and less stressful for clients and enabling them to remove bottlenecks in their processes. She is firmly of the mindset that we have to make our systems work for us, not have us work for the systems.

At Focus she gives support to our clients and implements new features and processes for them. She gets a lot of satisfaction from solving challenging problems and loves diving deep into the backend of Exo to find solid solutions.

Andrea has been using MYOB Exo since 2004 beginning in a distribution and retail company. Before coming to Focus she had been Operations Manager for a media company for over 10 years. In this time she experienced the implementation of Exo as an end user which now allows her to be understanding of our clients concerns as they are doing the same.

Originally from Brazil, Andrea and her husband came to New Zealand on a holiday in 2003 and loved it here so much they never went home! Andrea enjoys being outside, which is just as well as with a lifestyle block, large garden and a small flock of sheep to look after there is always plenty to do – not to mention working on the Ninja obstacle course that is evolving for son, Pedro. 

 

Anne Howie
Software Consultant

Anne works with our data automation software, Fetch and has been with Focus since May 2017. Her role is to implement and support Fetch, while also working with the Developer to continually develop and add new features.

She loves knowing she is making a difference to local businesses, helping them become more efficient and making administration jobs more rewarding by removing the mundane and boring data entry tasks.

Before joining Focus she spent 3 years implementing Accounting Practice Management software in NZ and Australia for a large corporate company. This was after 20 years of running her own business firstly building her business and latterly providing training to other small businesses in NZ, Australia and Malaysia.

Anne’s favourite hobby is making cheese, with her favourites being Camembert, Feta, Gouda and a creamy blue cheese but will give any of them a try. When she’s not doing that she’s probably in the garden, watching a movie or busy in a yoga or karate class.

 

Heather Jones
Account Manager

When a business is looking for new solutions, Heather is the person to talk to. She will work with you to clearly understand your business needs and future goals, and then determine whether Focus can deliver what you require. Once a project is underway she is the link between you and the Focus project team. She makes sure all aspects of the project stay on track and keeps you informed of developments and progress along the way.

Heather has been with Focus since 2014 and has been a certified MYOB Exo consultant since 2008. She also achieved certification as an MYOB Advanced consultant in 2019. Her earlier background includes working for manufacturing and software companies in IT Manager, assistant accountant and payroll manager roles, so she is well able to understand the problems companies face and can confidently present solutions that will provide the desired results. 

Her competitive horse riding days have meant a strong passion for horses and she loves getting out on the water for a spot of surfing or paddle boarding. If you venture out to Bottle Lake Forest you might just see her out there on the mountain bike trail.

Her greatest joy is spending time with her daughter Tui. They treasure the time they spend together making wonderful memories and in the office we are often treated to photos and stories of the fun activities they have been up to.

 

Blair Kershaw
Software Consultant

Blair is involved with implementing and supporting MYOB Exo and Exo Employer Services (Payroll). He is a member of the MYOB Exo team and enjoys the challenge of solving client’s queries. He is always keen to see what will be presented to him next.

Before coming to Focus in 2018 he held various roles in accountancy, including working for a Chartered Accountant and as the Financial Manager for manufacturing and retail companies. He has been an end user of MYOB Exo since 2011 so understands the software from our client’s side as well as from the software provider’s perspective.

A lover of the theatre, he has spent plenty of time involved as a Production Manager for local theatre outside of his “day job”. Now he enjoys attending the theatre as an audience member, and no doubt gets some satisfaction from doing so knowing a little about what might be happening behind the scenes!

His pride and joy is his zippy red Jeep, in which he makes fairly regular trips down to Alexandra to visit friends and sample some local Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Graeme Laughton-Mutu
Software Consultant

Graeme joined Focus in 2018 and is part of the MYOB Advanced team. He implements and supports the software and enjoys helping clients gain efficiencies in their processes through the use of it.

He is an expert puzzle solver, being able to see a problem from all angles and thinking far outside the box.  He gets satisfaction from making complex processes easy to use and understand, and generally enjoys helping make people’s jobs easier and faster.

Before Focus he was an end user of MYOB Exo for a manufacturing company and was in charge of creating and managing the jobs being done and costing the products being produced. This has put him in a great position to understand where clients are coming from when they need their processes mapped for an implementation or contact us for support.

His family life is busy with two daughters who are lucky enough to have a Dad who built them a whole playground in their back yard. He enjoys watching and playing sports and when the weather is nice taking the family to the beach.

 

Sarah McGrade
Software Consultant

Sarah has been a member of our MYOB Advanced team since Oct 2017.

Her role consists of implementing the software, supporting it and working on continual improvements for our clients.

She understands what it’s like to be a client from her experience at a large District Council where she helped implement an ERP system spanning multiple departments and over 40 modules.

As well as this she provided support for a large ERP system for Property Valuation Company for 12 years. This enabled her to work with everything from self-employed business people all the way to the largest valuation companies in NZ.

She lives in North Canterbury on a lifestyle block which includes an Olive Grove which provides oil which is sometimes used to barter for some of our wonderful local wines. She enjoys entertaining and being out in nature.

 

Carmel Nash
Software Consultant

Carmel has been with Focus since 2013 and is kept very busy implementing and supporting a wide range of our software including MYOB Exo, TimeTrak, JIBE, CopierTrak, JobAssist, EziView, Ezisync and Exosoft Labeller.

Before Coming to Focus she worked in the technology and hospitality industries and was an Operations Manager for four branches using MYOB Exo and Exosoft software including TimeTrak. Her extensive experience as an end user means she easily understands client requirements and can quickly translate them to usable features in the software.

 

Andrea Smith
Manager

Andrea is Focus’ Group Sales Manager, the Branch Manager for Christchurch, Leader of our ERP Software Consultancy Team and one of the four Focus Director’s. Like many managers in our market space she wears many hats.

As the Group Sales Manager she has oversight of our strategic direction for sales. As the Branch Manager in Christchurch she manages the branch and leads our ERP Software Consultancy team.

Originally from Invercargill she moved to the Christchurch office in 2014 and has grown the team from 5 to 13 staff members.

There is no typical day for Andrea, her role is varied and full of challenge whether that be providing guidance and direction to the team, networking and promoting our business, meeting with suppliers, or identifying ways we can improve and add value to our client’s relationships and businesses.  Andrea is passionate about Focus having local representation in our regions encouraging us to build strong working relationships with our clients by taking an active interest and role in supporting our local businesses in whatever way we can. 

Before joining Focus she worked for Telecom and Fuji Xerox in Account Management and Sales. Prior to that she was involved in a Human Resources role for Government.

Andrea loves life and will pretty much give anything a go! Being physically fit helps her maintain an active and busy lifestyle, she is a keen surfer, loves her horses and brings lots of interesting stories to work after weekends away in the Kombi.

 

Barry Tomkinson
Software Consultant

Barry has been with Focus since October 2019 and is kept busy supporting our clients with their MYOB Exo, Payroll and Fetch enquiries. He enjoys coming to work not knowing what direction the day will take – no two days are ever the same and as client requests are so varied he is never quite sure what he will be doing!

He started his MYOB Exo journey working for MYOB in their Accounts Receivable Team and has since been Office Manager for electrical and plumbing companies, giving him in depth knowledge and experience with MYOB Exo as an end user.

Out of work time Barry is very busy. You might even have seen him performing in a play or musical on stage in the city, or you could see his face on a poster around Christchurch in advertisements for places such as The Christchurch Casino and Canterbury Tourism. 

His past life as a chef in both UK and NZ has resulted in his soon to be published Cookbook. He is very happy to be now living in NZ and enjoys the lack of people and more relaxed lifestyle compared to UK.

 

Yvonne Weidemann
Senior Software Consultant

Yvonne’s passion at work is learning about different businesses and their processes and then mapping those to software functionality to provide efficiencies for those businesses.

She is a member of the MYOB Advanced team and has been with Focus since February 2020.

Her IT journey began in 1988 and she has been involved with ERP systems since 1992. Being a user initially has given her good background to be able to help our clients and she has provided ERP support in a range of industries including medical, pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies.

Originally from South Africa, Yvonne settled in Auckland in 2008. Now that she has moved down South, she especially loves the crisp, clear Canterbury winter days. Being a keen player of sport for years, she now enjoys watching it and cheering her favourite team on. With rugby as her favourite spectator sport we guess her loyalties might be somewhat divided!

 

 

Blair Valentine
Senior Software Consultant

Blair is our MYOB Advanced technical specialist. He assists the team with implementations and supporting our clients. He enjoys solving the more tricky problems that can crop up, and once he has done so helps the team get up to speed with them.

He has been with Focus since 2005. For the first 9 years with us he worked with MYOB Exo and is now exclusively working with the MYOB Advanced team. Having such in depth knowledge of both ERP systems is a real advantage as he understands what is expected of an ERP system and what it is possible to do.

He has always been involved in the IT industry, starting his career as a developer and then moving to work in sales and account management for Computerland. This is where he developed an interest in training which led to him starting his own training business.

His current role in Focus allows him to use all the experience he has gained over his career in the various roles he has held. He would say he is a “Jack of all trades”, we would say he is an “expert of all modules”.

Blair lives in and works from Nelson, having moved there from Invercargill in 2020. He and his wife, Janeen are loving the vibrant city, warm weather and new lifestyle which includes the recent hobby of learning to paddleboard.

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