SA Roofing September 2017 // Issue: 93 - Page 28

REGULARS: PERSONALITY PROFILE A helping hand Donald MacKay of XA International Trade Advisors shares South Africa’s potential in international trade, along with the ‘helping hand’ he has given. By Ntsako Khosa What are your responsibilities in your current position? XA is about solving international trade problems and much of my time is spent thinking about elegant solutions to increasingly complex problems. What do you hope to achieve in your current position? What have you achieved so far? I want people to understand the international trade space better. We live in such a deeply connected world, and I would like to, in some small way, help the South African industry to interact more competitively with the world. What are the major challenges, in your opinion, that the roofing industry needs to overcome? The roofing industry is faced with catastrophic unfair import competition. Not only are imports cheap (which would be a reason to focus on being more competitive), but the imports appear to be illegally undervalued to avoid duties. The selling of a finished product at a cost lower than its raw material is a sign of something that is not good. If such situations are left unattended, we will soon have no roofing industry left. Explain how you got started in your career and how you ended up where you are today. I started my life doing computer programming, moved into enterprise risk management at Deloitte and then moved over to their tax division to get involved with a new business unit focused on 26 SEPTEMBER 2017 RESIDENTIAL // COMMERCIAL // INDUSTRIAL Donald MacKay, director at XA International Trade Advisors. customs issues. The international trade sphere really interested me. In 2003, I left Deloitte to set up XA International Trade Advisors. XA allows us to explore a space not touched by any of our competitors, using data to solve complex international trade problems. What qualifications (and from where) do you have? BCom (Unisa), Diploma in Internal Auditing (Cape Technikon) and MBA (Bond University). What attracted you to this industry? I wanted to travel and the international trade part of the business unit name made it seem like that was likely. The reality is that I have found a space which is intellectually interesting, while still achieving my original desire to see the world. Do you enjoy what you do and why? What is your favourite part of your job? The work we do at XA is never dull. My favourite part of the job is finding a new problem to solve and there is a never- ending stream of those through the door. Increasingly, we are designing a new space of international trade strategy, which is mostly unexplored. I love technology and XA is making a difference by using data and technology to identify and solve international trade challenges. How do you see your future? What do you still want to achieve? I would like to spend more time in the technology side of the business and more tightly integrate international trade data into everyday decision making in businesses. This is starting to happen, but I would like to see this being the norm to improve the overall quality of important trade related decisions. What large projects have you been part of? Unfortunately, most of our projects are carried out under strict confidentiality agreements, so giving the detail is a challen ”¸Q¡”µ½ÍЁ¥¹Ñ•É•ÍÑ¥¹œÍ¥¹¥™¥…¹Ð)Áɽ©•Ð$…¸ÍÁ•…¬…‰½Õа¥Ì‘•Ù•±½Á¥¹œÑ¡”)•áÁ½ÉЁÍÑɅѕä™½ÈÑ¡”M½ÕÑ ™É¥…¸)¡¥­•¸¥¹‘ÕÍÑÉ丁]”…É”Ñ¡”Ý½É±“Šé™¥™Ñ )µ½ÍЁ½µÁ•Ñ¥Ñ¥Ù”Áɽ‘Ս•È°å•Ð•áÁ½ÉЁ±•ÍÌ)Ñ¡…¸€È”½˜½ÕȁÁɽ‘Սѥ½¸¸$…´•á¥Ñ•Ñ¼)¡…¹”Ñ¡…ЁͼÑ¡…Ёݔ…¸‰•½µ”„Ý½É±)±…Í́Á±…å•ÈÑ¡…Ё$­¹½ÜÝ”…¸‰”¸)]¡…Ё¥Ìå½Õȁݽɬ)Á¡¥±½Í½Á¡äü)Mх䁍ÕÉ¥½Õ̸-••À…Í­¥¹œÅՕÍÑ¥½¹Ì¸%¹Ù•ÍÐ)Ñ¥µ”Ñ¼Õ¹‘•ÉÍх¹…±°Á•ÉÍÁ•Ñ¥Ù•Ì…¹)¹•Ù•È‰”Ñ½¼ÁɽՐÑ¼¡…¹”å½Õȁµ¥¹¸