Sehlare Sa Meetlwa is formalised through the strategic partnership between VBKOM and Aiko Projects and Consultants. The partnership symbolises the rich cultural diversity of the Mining Industry, together with a strongly rooted history of economic growth and cultural collaboration in which a common goal of service delivery and client satisfaction is embedded.
ProjectPro forms part of the VBKOM Group of companies. ProjectPro is a project management training and consulting organisation that offers accredited project management services and training solutions to project management- and engineering professionals.
Starting VBKOM in 2008 with 4 close friends was a dream come true!
I hold a Mining Engineering degree from the University of Pretoria which I obtained in 1994 and a Master’s Degree in Business Leadership from UNISA, 2001. I am currently a Ph.D. Mining Candidate at the University of Pretoria.
I have a passion for business and would describe myself as a streetwise entrepreneur. I dream of building VBKOM into a company that will compete internationally with the best and leave a legacy. I am proud to be African and love this continent and its people. I do not like that our continent is associated with corruption and negativity, and believe that I can contribute to change this perception, through quality outputs and continuous hard work.
I started my career as a Mining Engineer with Anglo Gold at Vaal Reefs in 1995. In 1999 I had a great opportunity to move to Germany where I was privileged to work on a large mechanised open pit mine with a network of bucket wheel excavators. I received training on project management – the “German way”, and returned to South Africa to manage the commissioning of a new processing facility in Delmas, Mpumalanga. My career progressed nicely along the operational- and production management route and I was appointed as General Mine Manager at the age of 35, responsible for four alluvial diamond mines, seven beneficiation plants, and two mining towns in the Northern Cape Province. In 2006 I left production and started a “new” career as a mining consultant, something that I love and will hopefully continue doing way beyond retirement age.
I was born and raised in Johannesburg. My dad was a blue collar worker until he started his own manufacturing business when I was in high school. His work ethic and generosity towards others have made a huge impression on my life. I married my varsity sweetheart as soon as I graduated – 26 years of absolute bliss. Our daughter turned 12 in April. I love all things South-African – braai, rugby, nature, and good humour. We enjoy traveling abroad when the Rand exchange rate allows it.
My life philosophy is simple: “Surrounding myself with people with greater potential than myself, will ensure that I continue to grow.”
I come from the Karoo but grew up in Port Elizabeth. By grace, I received the opportunity to study in Pretoria and as an undergraduate, I studied Agricultural Engineering whilst sharing subjects and classes with my Mining Engineering colleagues. Unbeknownst, but this trivial aspect would lead to me joining VBKOM 13 years later. As a postgraduate I never actually applied myself in the agriculture sector as my Master’s dissertation opened the door for me to enter into the world of consulting & strategy. It was at that time during a brief lapse of concentration that I enrolled in a postgraduate diploma in Taxation at Wits, where I proved to the rest of the lawyers in class that willpower trumps intelligence!
My interest in Enterprise Risk Management and Project Management evolved whilst I was consulting to the Regulatory and Credit Risk divisions of Absa Bank, and implementing Credit Rating Systems for Commercial and Business Banking. It was only after 8 years in the corporate world that I came full circle to rejoin my mining colleagues at VBKOM.
My StrengthsFinder results corroborate that I am a perpetual optimist who loves to pull people into the conversation by sharing ideas about future possibilities. I am an early riser with a passion for leadership, learning, and growing people. I have a weakness for hot-cross buns, and enjoy listening to almost all types of music, as long as it is loud.
My wife and three children come first, followed closely by a good red wine, freshly baked bread and photography.
Strauss was born in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal but grew up in Polokwane, Limpopo. His childhood dreams have always been to become an engineer, or if all else failed, a doctor.
Engineering is such a diverse field of study and when Strauss had to make decisions on his career path, he relied on what comes naturally to him, and shares, “my passion is to instill structure and optimize any environment in which I may find myself.” This led him to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Pretoria, where improvement of processes is key.
Strauss has a ‘never quit' attitude to any problem he is faced with, and one of the lessons he learned at a young age was that with tenacity and determination, anything can be achieved by breaking it down into achievable steps.
Strauss is a family man, and he says, “I believe that balance is the fuel that drives my engine, and I, therefore, place my family as my first priority.” Strauss enjoys spending time with his wife and two beautiful children as often as he can.
He is very passionate about sport, and he appreciates watching a game of rugby. When taking some time out, he also likes to play a bit of tennis and golf and has taken part in a few of the VBKOM 4-ball golf games that he has been invited to.
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Growing up in Thabazimbi, George wanted to become a fighter pilot, but after meeting Oom Koos Cronje, a previous General Manager of Thabazimbi Iron Ore Mine, decided to venture into mining engineering.
After graduating from the University of Pretoria in 1999, George began his career in the mining industry as an underground coal miner at Tshikondeni Colliery in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.
In 2008, George was part of the team that founded VBKOM. He says that some of the most satisfying moments of his career is “Experiencing so many different projects and project teams, being able to see many mines in many different parts of South Africa and the African continent. It is also very satisfying to mentor young colleagues that join VBKOM.”
George would love to meet Patrice Motsepe, and George says “He (Motsepe) has the skill to identify value.”
George is also a family man and has three “incredibly smart and cute children” with his wife, Christel. Christel has been one of George’s biggest anchors, and one of his greatest influencers in achieving greatness.
George enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to foreign countries, and playing squash. George is looking forward to supporting the mining industry in identifying value across the African continent to improve lives.
Lalieu joined the VBKOM-team in 2009, and she was the very first employee to be hired apart from the five founding members. As the first female to join the all-male group, she pioneered the way forward for VBKOM to give opportunities to more women in the mining industry.
Before starting her journey with VBKOM, Lalieu’s career path took various turns before she realised that she loves accounting. Lalieu went from a BSc in Biochemistry to Human Movement Sciences before she started her BCom degree in Financial Management and has not looked back since. One lesson Lalieu carries with her through her chosen path is that, “If ‘Plan A’ did not work, keep your cool; the alphabet has 25 more letters!”
Apart from being very active at work, Lalieu is also very busy after hours. She is mom to three very beautiful young children, and wife to the love of her life, Werner. When talking about her family, Lalieu’s whole being lights up, and she says, “I look forward to seeing my kids grow into little humans and being able to learn something new from them every day.”
She also enjoys running and cycling regularly to keep both her body and her mind healthy, and one of her greatest personal achievements to date has been sky-diving and competing in the Cape Argus for VBKOM in 2011 and 2016.