At Citilabs, we pride ourselves on giving our employees the best opportunities for professional, personal, and business development. Specific industry-specific related conferences are vital to attend because it is a chance for members of our team to connect with current and potential users, educate, and answer specific questions about our product suites.
Oliver Charlesworth, Citilabs Global Account Director in the United Kingdom, has been with Citilabs for more than five years. In the next two weeks, he is traveling to Pretoria, South Africa, for the Southern African Transport Conference (SATC) July 8-11 at the CSIR International Convention Centre. We took the opportunity to sit down with Oliver to find out more about him, his role at Citilabs, and what makes him tick.
Citilabs: Hi Oliver, take us back to when you first started at Citilabs. Can you recall your first day?
Oliver Charlesworth (OC): I have been at Citilabs for about five and a half years, but I remember my first day like it was yesterday. I officially started on the October 1, 2013, but since the annual European Transport Conference started on September 30 it was the perfect opportunity to start a little earlier. It did mean however that my first conversation at Citilabs was talking to a client about our public transport assignment in Cube!
Citilabs: What products do you enjoy selling for Citilabs?
OC: I enjoy selling Cube Voyager, it’s our flagship product and is so flexible that it practically sells itself. Our users are constantly surprising me with little applications they’ve built for this and that, and our technical staff at Citilabs can do anything with it. Having said that, we’ve got a few things on the horizon that I’m very keen to start demonstrating, so I reserve the right to change my answer later!
Citilabs: What would you say is your recipe for success?
OC: Well, thank you for noticing (haha). I guess it’s a blend of a lot of things. It really helps that I came from a technical background, so I understand how the software works. But, I think the main part though is enjoying what I do and truly believing in the product I am selling (if that doesn’t sound too cliché!).
Citilabs: How have you learned to adapt to your role at Citilabs (coming from a transport modelling background) to be successful?
OC: I used to shy away from doing the “sales” talk - I’m a mathematics guy. However, I quickly learned that it’s okay to talk highly of a product if it’s true, or if it’s a product that you are passionate about and know it will help a potential user out.
I’ve also had to learn to be flexible with my working hours. I look after accounts across the world, so I’m no stranger to midnight calls to Australia and early morning training courses in the United States. But that is the excitement of working for a global company!
Citilabs: How do you think Citilabs will progress in the next five years?
OC: Ah, now, that would be telling wouldn’t it? Whilst I can’t say what we have lined up in the short-term, it is all very exciting. It’s no secret that we’re bringing out a new version of Cube, Cube 7, which is completely revamped. This is going to pave the way and be the foundation to some very interesting functionality and analysis regardless of what a current or potential users’ transport modelling tool of choice is.
Citilabs: What has been your biggest success story since you started working at Citilabs?
OC: Depends on the definition of success. If it is measured from our user’s perspective, then the online Introduction to Cube course, which I authored, has had more than 100 students sign up so far, so I like to think I’m making a big difference there.
Citilabs: What do you hope to accomplish in the next year (or two or five) at Citilabs?
OC: I have a few ideas but that’s for me to know, and for the readers to find out.
Citilabs: Lastly, your next conference is the SATC, what do you hope to gain by attending?
OC: It’s my first year attending but from what I’ve heard it’s a great conference with high attendance. We work very closely with Esri South Africa so it’s great that they’ll be joining us. Together we’ll be telling attendees about the work we have been doing in the Western Cape region and having face-to-face conversations with potential and current users to answer questions about us, our solutions and our products.
Citilabs: To finish, here at Citilabs we strongly believe in healthy work/life balance. When you’re not in the office, visiting clients or attending events, how do you spend your down time?
OC: I’m a country person at heart, so I like to spend my spare time in nature either rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking, or camping in the hills. I always try to pack my jogging stuff when I travel for work, and I’m always on the lookout for local guides to show me the best running spots.
Want to connect with Oliver before the SATC conference? Send him a email at email@example.com