Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List    
Home2011 April Luncheon Report
Sponsors April 2011 Event
Platinum Sponsors

The Struggle for the Next Level - A Business Parable






What Do Wal-Mart and Apple Do That You Don't?

Neil Holder
 VP Strategy and Technology
 Aker Solutions Subsea NA

Monthly Theme: Business Model

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Please see EVENT SUMMARY and Video Clip Below


About The Topic
Wal-Mart and Apple operate in different industry segments with different business models, and yet the same management principles drive their long-term success.

What is it they are doing that you need to do in your business? What is your business model?
To read an article on this topic please click here: What do Wal-Mart and Apple do that you don't?
About Our Speaker, Mr. Neil Holder
Neil Holder began his education at the University of Bradford in the UK, receiving his bachelors in Chemical Engineering. Neil established his career in Portsmouth, UK as a process engineer in the oil and gas industry for Kvaerner Process (previously known as John Brown Engineering). He became a local expert in the in-house engineering database system, which led to his relocation in Houston, Texas. Over the next 8 years (1997-2005), Mr. Holder held various technical positions such as project engineer and commercial specialist (business acquisition) using his expertise to grow both professionally and personally.

During this time Kvaerner Process became known as Aker Kvaerner (and then again renamed Aker Solutions) as the organization changed their structure to focus on five business areas; Field Development, MMO, Subsea, Products & Technologies, Process & Construction. They hoped to simplify and strengthen their corporate identity and outline their offering of comprehensive industrial solutions.

Realizing the need for additional education to further his career, Mr. Holder returned to school in 2004 at Rice University here in Houston, Texas. He attended the Jones School of Business, receiving his MBA before returning back to Aker solutions with a wealth of new business knowledge.

His MBA has served as a great compliment to his Engineering degree, and Neil quickly ascended the ranks at Aker Solutions from subsea product manager to VP of sales & marketing. This was an alien role to Mr. Holder, who had no previous sales experience. Neil recognized the importance of having clear goals in this new role, and spent his first week on the job creating concrete goals with his supervisor. As the VP of sales and Marketing, Mr. Holder was able to re-build and staff a fully functional bid team working to acquire business in the local Gulf of Mexico region. He also managed local market communications such as advertising campaigns and trade shows. His success in this new role was due to setting transparent and understandable goals with his supervisor early in the transition. After effectively developing a strong customer base for Aker Solutions in Houston, Mr. Holder then became responsible for managing this strong portfolio of super major oil and gas companies as VP of Business Development & Marketing. He managed a 10-person business development team focused on continuously improving Aker’s customer relationships and engagements.

Just recently, Mr. Holder was once again promoted within Aker Solutions to VP of Strategy & Technology. This position highlights Mr. Holder’s great understanding of the North American oil and gas industry and Aker Solutions position in the market. His hands-on experience early in his career as an engineer and later as the VP of sales has molded Mr. Holder into a well-rounded and highly skilled strategist within Aker Solutions. Understanding the technical aspects of his job as well as having the ability to build and nurture relationships with customers has propelled him through the ranks at Aker Solutions. Mr. Holder has successfully served in many different roles within Aker Solutions, due to his hard work and ability to quickly learn the nuances of different positions. Neil Holder is a great ambassador for the Houston community and carries a wealth of business experience and industry knowledge. He is widely considered an expert in subsea technology.

Outside of work, Neil enjoys energy policy/business, new technology, management, bicycling, motorsports/automotive, and the outdoors.

Neil Holder on LinkedIn:

Aker Solutions:
April Luncheon Event Summary     

April Topic: What do Wal-Mart and Apple do that you Don't?

April Theme: Business Model


Ravi Kathuria, HSF President, and
Neil Holder, VP Strategy and Technology, Aker Solutions Subsea NA

The April luncheon focused on defining business models to drive success. Ravi Kathuria set the stage for the event by emphasizing the need to clearly crystallize business models.

Neil Holder elaborated how Aker SubSea NA is transforming its business model to reposition the company for accelerated growth. He shared candidly the challenges involved and advised the attendees on how to overcome the challenges.

The diverse group of attendees from large and small companies shared how their companies have crystallized their business models and how much clarity exists around those models. The rich discussion left the attendees asking for more as the luncheon wrapped up.



Join HSF as a

 Strategic Takeaways from the Luncheon  (Reported by Attendees)

 Name      Strategic Takeaways
 Trilok Mahadevia Clarity of business model should be consitent across the company; Combining new technology with customer experience is the key to a successful strategy
 John Landsbaum It is critical to determine who we are as a company and why we exist.
 Bhaskar Patel Be true to your 'vision' and focus on the consistancy of high quality, simplicity & value for all stakeholders.
 Anonymous A service company may not be able to charge a premium, but adopting the client-centric business model could bring other advantages to the company
 Alex Howard Communication and buy-in are important in any implementation of a new strategy.
 Daniel Magill All staff members need to be able to voice the company's core philosophies.