Meet the team
A Visionary Leader with a Passion for Business.
Robert is an admirable entrepreneurial leader, who inspires a culture of innovation. He is passionate about being customer centric and firmly believes in pushing the envelope, where change is the only constant.
His wealth of experience and knowledge allows him to be an ideal empathic leader where he motivates the team to achieve both personal as well as organisational objectives.
Robert’s tertiary education and vocation have taken him through an exciting journey, which includes a BSc in Agriculture, to becoming a Game Ranger in private reserves both in South Africa and Botswana. In 1996, he offered invaluable skills and training to entrepreneurs both at operational and business levels within the sugar cane and cut flower industries. His drive for innovation and problem-solving led him to move into the engineering sector, where he joined HC in 2003.
This new business venture allowed Robert to further his studies within engineering and build an industry leading team that would grow the business from a 1 000 m2 factory with a staff complement of nineteen to a 21 000 m2 factory and employ over four hundred individuals.
Robert’s industry disruptive leadership style has allowed the business to grow through vertical integration strategies by expanding the product range globally.
“My strength is recognising the talent in others and building teams with strong entrepreneurial drive.”
Leon Potgieter – Chief Financial Officer
A Result-Driven Leader with More Than 28 Years’ Senior International Finance Experience.
Leon is a dynamic Chartered Accountant and Financial Management Professional with international exposure having worked and lived in a few countries globally. This global exposure has equipped him with the relevant skillset to assist the executive team navigate the rapid changes in the business environment and take advantage of the opportunities presented by globalisation.
He has integrated his financial expertise with his business knowledge to lead value-based management (VBM) and economic value added (EVA) initiatives. He has complemented the executive team in shaping corporate strategy and enhancing shareholder value.
Leon is a future focused leader with a strategic mindset, who values the people behind the numbers. This mindset has allowed him to use emotional intelligence to help bring about change, build relationships, resolve conflicts, and motivate high-performing teams.
Leon subscribes to “our people are our best assets.”
Bryan Carroll – General Manager
A Dedicated Leader with 32 Years’ Experience.
Bryan is a self-motivated and hardworking General Manager who leads by example. His vast experience within commercial refrigeration has catapulted Bryan to senior leadership positions within the wholesale and manufacturing sectors of refrigeration within South Africa. He has excellent leadership skills and is able to persuade and influence his management team. He is an effective communicator and a better listener, which allows him to easily motivate the staff.
Bryan possesses strong operational knowledge of inventory management, logistics, and procurement. He has extensive operational and sales experience that equips him to effectively understand and manage the business in its entirety. He is responsible for improving efficiency and increasing departmental profits, while managing the Company’s overall operations.
“I enjoy encouraging others to achieve their best.”
Preggy Chettiar – Business Development Director
A future-oriented Business Development Director with 28 years’ industry experience.
Preggy’s cross-functional business experience has enabled him to spend much of his career at senior management level within the HVACR environment. Adept at business negotiations, he cultivates strong business relationships with customers and suppliers, enabling him to build a strong network and achieve win-win results in business. He harnesses his belief in collaborative business opportunities through his excellent communication skills and solution-driven approaches.
Determined to continuously improve the organisation’s value-add proposition in the industries we support, Preggy identifies and develops new business opportunities thereby evaluating and establishing organisational objectives to which the brand’s presence is driven through strategic marketing efforts.
With a focus on long-term business growth strategies, his strong business acumen ensures that he is well-informed on key industry developments, which he shares with the executive team to identify expanding market growth objectives.
Providing a forward-thinking and entrepreneurial approach to the executive team.
“It’s not where we compete, but rather where we meet.”
David Nurden – Operations Director
Operations Director with 24 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of refrigeration solutions.
With 24 years’ industry experience ranging from production management and product development, through to systems and process implementation, David has an in-depth understanding of all aspects relating to the design and manufacture of refrigeration coils and equipment.
By leveraging his diverse experience, David is able to adapt and optimise both our design and manufacturing operations, in support of and catering to our ever-shifting market requirements and client expectations. He approaches challenges, be they design, or process related, in an industrious and methodical manner employing both creativity and attention to detail in the pursuit of ever more efficient solutions.
“I subscribe to the ‘less is more’ philosophy, placing emphasis on finding solutions which are simple, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.”
Henk Mac Donald – Managing Director : Projects
A Projects General Manager with 26 years of agricultural refrigeration experience.
Henk has over 26 years of experience in the refrigeration of perishable products. His expertise lie in the agricultural export markets, light industrial sector and retail sector. Refrigeration facilities requires a good understanding of what the customer requirements are and what the best solution for the application is.
Henk has designed and built numerous facilities for different applications like grape forced cooling, berry packing facilities, abattoirs, citrus cold sterilization and retail applications.
“As the market requirements changes one needs to adapt to newer efficient technologies and this is at the heart of our designs.”
Mark Howitt – Group Sales Director
A result-driven Sales Manager with international industry experience.
Mark has been involved in the electrical and refrigeration industry for over 30 years, with experience in local and international markets.
One of Mark`s strongest qualities, is getting individuals to work as a team. He motivates and leads his team of engineers by developing sales strategies that suit his team members and fosters his core value in communication.
“Being in sales, I always put myself in the customers position, and think, how would I like to be treated. One of the biggest mistakes sales consultants make, is not communicating with the customer, communication is key in building a strong business relationship”.
Our Founders Story
Our founder, R.K. Kruger (Robert), can best be described as an entrepreneur passionate about creating and sustaining businesses that add value to local African communities. His desire is rooted in his early childhood living on a farm, working the land with the local community, and witnessing the fruits of their combined labour – transforming from seeds in the ground to agricultural products that contributed to the country’s food security whilst supporting their livelihoods.
He secured his chance when he received the opportunity to work as a Game Ranger in various African countries. He was amazed by the beauty and diversity of wildlife but also saddened by the poverty and exploitation of the local communities, who viewed wildlife as a threat to themselves and their livelihoods.
He decided to use his skills and passion to teach the community about eco-tourism, a way of preserving nature and creating economic opportunities simultaneously. He showed them how to value and protect their natural resources while making a living.
He returned to South Africa equipped with the knowledge that he could positively impact the future of South Africans with a new vision and challenge. The community he worked in was unskilled and under-equipped, facing many barriers to their development and productivity. He felt a strong connection and compassion for them; he saw their potential and the necessity to prosper. He decided to share his expertise and resources with them and provide contracting services by renting out his equipment and knowledge. He also helped them improve their skills and run their farms as successful businesses, providing for their families and communities.
Robert’s strong entrepreneurial spirit led him to Johannesburg, where he seized the opportunity to expand his impact and reach. He bought HC, a company specialising in designing and manufacturing heat exchanger equipment for various industry applications. He transformed the company from 19 employees with a 1 000m2 facility to 480 employees and over 25 000m2 of manufacturing facilities. In this more than 20-year journey, Robert established The HC Group of Companies spanning six vertically integrated companies, with a focus on innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction.
He also continued his commitment to social and environmental responsibility by investing in the skills development of his employees, supporting local suppliers, and reducing the environmental impact of his operations.
In line with Robert’s drive and passion to uplift the local communities and remove barriers to entry, the HC Group has launched an incubation programme for black-owned companies manufacturing HVAC-R equipment in South Africa.
At the HC Group, we believe in creating value for our customers, employees, and society. Our vision is to provide innovative solutions in all industries that we serve globally. Our mission is to provide sustainable value and growth to our key stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers, and shareholders. We are proud of our founder’s story and strive to honour his legacy daily.