Q&A with Set-Son Shifidi – Executive Director: Electrical & Mechanical Engineering

Set-son Shifidi has been a valued member of the Lithon team, making a significant difference to the electrical and energy side of the business, since joining the company in 2015. Passionate about working with and serving people, he was drawn to Lithon’s people-focused approach and commitment to bringing love and hope to communities and organisations through networking and collaboration. 

We connected with this highly motivated business unit leader during a typically busy week to find out what his average day looks like, what excites him most about the future of Lithon and more.  

What drew you to engineering, specifically electrical engineering?

I feel like I was born for it – I’ve been passionate about understanding how things work for as long as I can remember and my curiosity has, from an early age, prompted me to take things apart and explore their inner workings. I’ve also always loved building things and this, together with the fact that I did well in Maths and Science at school, made engineering a natural choice when it came to choosing a career. Why electrical engineering specifically? I grew up in a community that never had electricity and I believe that energy, especially electrical energy, is a hugely important enabler when it comes to advancing communities like these.

What does your average day look like?

My day usually starts at 6:15 (after I’ve hit the snooze button several times), when I head outside to do a few push-ups before a shower and breakfast. By 7:00, I’m in my car, listening to my favourite radio show, Lungada, as I head into the office for our daily hurdle meetings, before moving onto my tasks for the day. I usually finish up around 6pm, making sure that I’ve made a to-do list for the following day prior to heading home.

What are some of the key aspects of your job?

I place a huge amount of importance on serving my clients diligently and growing, motivating and inspiring my team members.

What are some of the challenges you experience in your work?

Given the highly technical nature of the projects my team and I are involved in, it’s crucial that we make the very best decisions at every point in the project. This means that I sometimes find myself having to explain a specific approach to a client – and detailing why another course of action wouldn’t work. I’m also constantly challenged to ensure that I give equal attention to all our clients.

Which project in particular have you enjoyed working on at Lithon?

Renewable energy is one of the areas we specialise in at Lithon and part of our offering is advising clients as to how they can take advantage of technology emergence and the existing market rules – thanks to the Electricity Control Board (ECB). One of the renewable energy projects I was very fortunate to be involved with was the feasibility study of solar PV plants in the CENORED network, which distributes electricity in central-northern Namibia. What attracted me to this project and made it one I especially enjoyed working on is that it covered all aspects of modern energy engineering from technology selection, optimisation of plant sizes and economic viability through to mathematical modelling, ownership models and operating and maintenance of PV plants.

What has been your career highlight to date?

That’s an easy one – becoming a business unit leader at a company with the reputation of Lithon Project Consultants.

What excites you most about Lithon’s future?

I believe that the company’s values, which include excellence, integrity, serving, loyalty, respect and generosity, as well as its purpose – to make a significant and positive impact on the lives of people by identifying and supporting individuals, organisations and projects that are making a difference in the lives of people and communities – are sustainable pillars guaranteed to see Lithon thriving well into the future.

How do you spend your time when you’re not at the office?

I love spending quality time with my family, reading and taking the time to dream.