John Mestitz

John Mestitz

Managing Director, Techna International

Notable Achievements

  • UCL Enterprise Award 2015: Most Successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership [KTP] of the Year

Latest Podcast

In Conversation: John Mestitz

John Mestitz is the Managing Director of Techna, a company that was established in 1945 and offers an extensive range of electrical and mechanical products and can be found throughout the electrical, wire and cable, temporary power, transportation, marine, motion control, packaging, and many other industries.

John Mestitz is the Managing Director of Techna, a company that was established in 1945 and offers an extensive range of electrical and mechanical products and can be found throughout the electrical, wire and cable, temporary power, transportation, marine, motion control, packaging, and many other industries.

Career Overview

Armed with a First-Class degree in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from UCL, John started as an engineer at Techna before becoming director in 1998. His years at the helm have seen the company go from strength to strength, and it now offers each of its clients, ranging from small start-ups to large multinationals, a bespoke service.

A move to new distribution and sales facilities have allowed the firm to embark on a mission of further growth, including offering new services to existing and new clients. John and the company are strong believers in continued innovation and working with other institutions to achieve it and, as such, were recognised at the UCL Enterprise Awards in 2015.

In January 2020, John appeared in a Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland podcast, discussing the importance of leadership in running a business and what key qualities are needed in order to achieve success. The discussion also included a look at the work Techna are currently engaged in and what their plans are for the future.

Education & Early Career

John first cut his teeth in the world of Information Technology at University College London, where he achieved First-Class Honours in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. A keen musician in his spare time, John worked throughout his university career as a DJ and drummer.

After graduating, John’s first postgraduate role took him into the City, where he worked on software development for an options trading business. With the UK amid a recession at the time, this role was on a contractual basis and therefore short-lived.

A chance opportunity

Following his stint in the City, John returned to his former school, Nower Hill High, in Harrow, London. Although the purpose of his visit was to re-acquaint with former teachers following his successful university career, it became apparent after a conversation with the school’s headteacher that the institution had recently lost its IT teacher and was unable to seek out a replacement. After being offered the role during his visit, John accepted and embarked on a new career in education.

A career in teaching

After completion of his teacher training, John began his role at Nower Hill as a junior teacher and was the youngest member of the teaching staff at the institution at that time. He soon found himself having to grapple not only with the challenges of teaching, but also with restoring broken IT equipment. With 80 children undertaking the GCSE course in IT and only 12 working computers at the school, John became a teacher by day and a repair specialist by night, and eventually increased the number of working computers at the school to 26. Over a four-year spell as a Nower Hill teacher, John effectively became the head of the school’s IT department.

During his time at Nower Hill, the Harrow Council local authority were in the midst of expanding local high schools, and so the school was able to benefit from increased investment in its IT capabilities and celebrated the opening of a new IT technology suite kitted out with new computers for pupil and staff use.

Joining the family business

After four successful years in teaching, the UK economy had stabilised and John’s father, who headed up the Techna business, was actively exploring the possibility of expanding the company.

Eager to get on board with a new family project, John left Nower Hill and began working for Techna as an Engineer and IT Manager. It soon became apparent that many of the technological components the company worked with were especially relevant to John’s university studies and experiences, and he soon began to shine for the company and take a more hands-on role in other areas of the business, including sales.

Climbing the corporate ladder

With John’s capabilities shining through, it was not long before he was appointed director of the company. In the year 1998, his father decided that he wanted to take a step back from running the business day-to-day and focus on other areas of the company, leading to John’s appointment as Managing Director.

Modernising and growing the business

John’s years at the helm have seen the company go from strength to strength. The first major change he oversaw at the company involved a complete computerisation of the business, moving away from its more dated methods of using card index file systems to record and store data.

Techna's clients now range from small start-ups to large multinationals. John's leadership of the firm has brought about a string of new product launches which took Techna into the export market and opened up new client opportunities in nations such as Canada and Mexico in North America, and opened a gateway to the Far East market via Malaysia and Singapore.

Championing innovation

In more recent years, John has kept Techna heavily involved with Innovate R&D projects, which have enabled the business to take major steps forward in its technological capability. Involvement in such projects has yielded the development of new company facilities such as laboratories, fully supplied with new equipment, and given way to an expansion of the company’s R&D facilities which has helped Techna keep ahead of the market. 

In 2015, Techna was awarded a UCL Enterprise Award for being the institution’s most successful knowledge transfer partnership of that year, as part of a scheme run by Innovate. This success allowed Techna to access a smart grant provided by Innovate later that same year.

Triumphing through adversity

Over a difficult 2020 which saw worldwide industry hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, John and Techna were determined to continue their successes. During the initial UK lockdown first called on March 23, Techna built and opened its first e-commerce website from scratch, which now stocks over 900 different products and opened up new trading opportunities.

Although a year of intermittent restrictions did come with challenges, Techna finished its financial year in September 2020 with four per cent growth. Over the fourth quarter of 2020, between October and December, the company’s order intake was up by 50 per cent compared to Q4 in 2019 thanks to its determination to remain at the forefront of innovation and continue trading.

As restrictions continue into 2021, Techna remains optimistic and continues to harbour hopes of expansion with John hoping to extend the business’ product range over 2021-2022 in collaboration with firms in the US. The company also hopes to further expand its facilities, particularly those dedicated to R&D, to ensure that physical capacity becomes as little a constraint as possible. 

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