If a sign of being ready for a new challenge is volunteering to talk to the press before the end of your first day on the job, then Nathan Manzi is formidably well prepared. The former manager of airport-security specialist Smiths Group’s Asia-Pacific (AsPac) region, Manzi joined Hensoldt as managing director for AsPac sales on Feb. 1. He arrives in time to help ensure the newly rebranded sensor house stands up its operations in optimal fashion.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to shape the culture here, and create the Hensoldt brand across Asia-Pacific,” he tells ShowNews toward the end of his first day in charge. “We’ve already got experts moving to the region, so we can pursue the opportunities that are out there. And we’re setting up a sales hub here in Singapore.”

Hensoldt may have been formed from the Airbus Group’s divestment of its sensor divisions, but the new company has wasted no time in creating its own identity. Last year, it acquired the British radar specialist Kelvin Hughes, and it is that company’s Singapore offices that will house the new Hensoldt AsPac hub.

“The hub itself is the center of the network to deal with our customers,” Manzi says. “We’re bringing in a number of Hensoldt product-line experts in sales to set up that customer-focused, in-the-right-time-zone interaction, so we can help customers develop their capability. On top of that, there’s also sales reach across the region, with staff in India, Thailand and Korea.”

It is still early days – indeed, day one for Manzi – but he expects to continue the approach used by the former Airbus divisions that sees in-house support augmented by in-country third-party service providers. Part of the role of the Singapore hub will be to help outside contractors develop and maintain the skills needed to ensure customers receive the best possible service.

“One of the things I’ll be looking to do is to understand exactly how all that looks at the moment,” Manzi says, “and then at how we can support both existing third-party service providers and how we can set up new opportunities. Typically, existing providers are after things like technical training and qualifications, expertise, and managing of standards, as well as spare parts. [We will be looking at] how can we localize and regionalize that, to make the customer experience even better than it is today.”

Manzi’s aim is to grow the regional business to a point where it becomes what he calls a “key contributor” to the new company’s overall bottom line.

“One of the things that would look like is having a lot of local or regional capability in Asia itself,” he says. “The ability to deliver programs, the ability to actually maintain service and support to the customer base: that’s something I think will demonstrate success – that we have that infrastructure and resource in the region.”

The company’s intention is to double its sales worldwide inside five years. Manzi has a challenging task, but he has a firm foundation to build on.

“This is about growth,” he agrees. “It’s not like there’s no base. It’s about growing the network, and growing the exposure of those product lines in countries where we may not be at the moment. I see my role as being quite creative, to figure out how we’re going to tackle the complex growth problem, and how we bring on resources at the right time for customers in Asia-Pacific.”