Gratte Brothers: Mechanical & Electrical precision
Gratte Brothers is a third-generation family business, established in 1946 that has been offering M&E solutions for over 35 years; its first data centre project dates back to 1995. During the last six years, the company has consistently delivered 30 megawatts of IT power to the mission critical construction market every year.
“We offer specialist knowledge when it comes to resilient engineering services” assures Gratte’s Engineering Director, Remi Suzan. “We've worked with DC supply chains for decades, and have good relationships with our manufacturers and specialist subcontractors. Our contract engineers, site managers, and in-house commissioning teams don't just understand how they work, but ‘why’ they need to work that way, and they bring that deep knowledge to every project.”
Gratte Brothers has worked with Ark for over a decade; an integral part of its partner ecosystem developing modular DC solutions with low energy consumption at their core. “ Together with Ark’s other partner contractors, we worked on developing a modular energy centre that could be associated with the prefabricated data centres that could then be deployed either as a single unit or as multiple units, depending on what Ark needed at the time,” confirms Suzan. “The energy centres containing the UPSs and LV panels were all provided with a cooling system designed on external fresh air. It was calculated that for 98% of the year it could operate without mechanical cooling which was only required in exceptional circumstances at high-peak summer periods.”
“Ark are way ahead of the game when it comes to sustainability,” reckons Suzan. “Their approach is more than just a green message on their website; they really mean it.” Looking to the future, Gratte is exploring the potential for gas turbine generators and hydrogen power systems (HPS) and is fully behind the increased industry focus on supporting net zero strategies. “Back in the 90s, the idea of a green data centre was almost laughable. They were built purely with speed to market in mind and about as green as a bucket of napalm. Now that we can use adiabatic fresh air cooling systems for IT equipment with heat recovery in all of our air solutions allied with the use of photovoltaic panels and LED lighting, energy efficiency has greatly improved.”
“Gratte Brothers, along with JCA, are our preferred mechanical and electrical engineering partners helping us develop improved energy centre solutions. We were also keen to modularise this process so our partners came up with a unique solution which not only utilises the data centre cooling to cool the energy centre, but also allows Ark to build the energy centre off site - improving health and safety while reducing material waste and cost. Though competitors in the market, Gratte Brothers and JCA are both family-run businesses that integrate well with Ark. They’re really adaptable and always looking to innovate. When we need to ensure speed to market, and in times of crisis like we’ve experienced during the pandemic, we rely on these partnerships to deliver safely to our customers.”
Andy Garvin, Director of Design, Construction & Operations, Ark Data Centres.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.