Kiwi ingenuity is alive and thriving right under our noses! Omaha local Paul Russell launched Global Design and Production in the heart of Matakana Village in 2010 and, thanks to his go-getter mindset, broad skill base and a dedicated bunch of innovators, the company is now pocketing projects and accolades by the bundle.
Global Design and Production (GDP) is a one-stop shop for the creation, manufacturing and distribution of products. “The business is based on these three pillars,” says the CEO. “People often have a concept or an existing product yet don’t have the foggiest how to begin developing it.” That’s where Paul and his troupe of cutting-edge creators step in. “We take them through the whole process; from the design and development to the manufacturing, and we even offer a supply chain service to distribute the finished product.”
The avid surfer and paddle boarder explains GDP’s recipe for success: “Generally a customer would commission a designer to develop an idea. A manufacturer then has to decipher the concept and produce it, and the customer is left trying to get the product to market. We do the lot, yet our turnaround time is fast because we’re working with the customers’ budgets and timeline from start to finish. In this way, we give the client more return on investment.”
The uber-entrepreneur started his career as a fitter and turner with Fisher and Paykel. In 1997 he took part in the NZ Fitter & Turner Championship and promptly secured the trophy with a crab clamp that he made within two days using only hand tools. Fisher and Paykel obviously recognised the promise in this young man and sent him to Massey University in Wellington. With a degree in industrial design under his belt, he returned to F&P, this time in the marketing and design division.
“My mechanical ability and my background in design and marketing gave me the skills to go out on my own,” says Paul, “plus I learnt all about production from my dad who used to manufacture in China when I was a kid.”
Paul also credits the company’s achievements to his talented team. “They’re my greatest asset. Lisa Patterson keeps the entire show running smoothly, Phillie Murray is responsible for the retail arm of the business, my indispensable accountant and best mate Bryan Simpson, CEO of Boutique Financial, makes sure our passion for design doesn’t devour the budget. Then there are the young guns, Spencer and Fin. The inspiration comes from these young guys.”
Spencer Buchanan and Fin Woods graduated with First Class Honours in Industrial Design from Massey University in Wellington, and judging by their ideas, it’s no wonder Paul was keen to lure them north.
In his final year at Uni in 2015, Spencer made headlines with his revolutionary mouth guard that detects concussions in rugby players via sensors and wirelessly alerts the team doctor to the extent of the knock. For his invention at a time where the link between concussion and dementia is a hot topic, Spencer won the illustrious James Dyson Award, an international award that honours university students’ inspirational inventions.
Wanaka native Fin Woods is a new recruit at GDP and has already made his mark. The tousled blond from the South developed the Atlas Raptor; a mountain bike design with cutting edge gearing technology built to withstand brutal terrain.
Currently, the GDP creatives are working on over 100 products, with lots more in the pipeline. The range of projects is breathtaking: from an all-in-one insulated and reusable ‘Chilpac’ to aluminium pallets, bullet magazines for guns, wheel nut indicators for trucks, as well as wake towers and dashboards for boats. The company is also the national distributor of high-end Blaupunkt lighting systems and batteries.
Paul has big plans for the future. After securing the Deloitte’s Fastest Growing Manufacturing Company Award in 2016, GDP now aims to open offices in Albany and Australia later this year. Still, with two creative daughters and a great lifestyle with his wife in Omaha, Paul is committed to keeping the command post in Matakana, where he and his avant-garde team will continue to rewrite the industry rulebook.