People in Lighting: Nithya Mathew

Nithya Mathew - Sales Support Manager - Schréder Gulf Lighting
Nithya Mathew
Sales Support Manager - Schréder Gulf Lighting

Companies are defined by the people who work for them: for over a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting thanks to its employees worldwide. Life@Schréder is where we tell the stories of the people who make Schréder what it is, taking in the 70 countries where we do business, diverse career trajectories and our collective dedication to excellence in lighting.

Schréder is a truly global company, putting our customers at the heart of innovative lighting and control systems for decades. From inventing a whole new lighting system for the Channel Tunnel, to helping countries reach sustainability goals by harnessing the benefits of LED lighting, we create lighting projects on a scale like no other.

The Gulf region is known worldwide for its grandiose transformation in recent decades. From Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest human-made structure in the world, to NEOM, the ambitious development planned in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East is a byword for grand plans and epic scale. In the desert, cities come alive after dark, so great lighting is essential: Schréder has been co-creating elite lighting projects throughout the region for decades.

Nithya Mathew has been working at Schréder for more than ten years. She started as part of the Applications team before being promoted to Sales Support Manager in 2020, then took over as Supply Chain lead in December 2022. Working with the customer at every stage of the process, she has helped deliver attractive, innovative lighting solutions across the Middle East.

I grew up in the region…

I was born and raised in Kuwait, and then went to India for four years to study at university before moving back. I did a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and communications so I was always interested in the sector and joined a large engineering company in Kuwait when I moved back home. After I married my husband, who is also of Indian heritage but was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, I moved to Dubai to be with him. And that’s how I ended up here.

I joined Schréder thanks to a former colleague…

A past colleague had moved to Dubai so I sent him my CV. Just as I was leaving Kuwait, even though I was working in interior lighting, I got a call from Schréder for an interview on the day I landed in Dubai, and I took it as a sign that it was all meant to be. Schréder has a formidable reputation. They’re one of the leading players in our industry, and at that time, ten years ago, there were very few companies active in the Middle East who had that kind of global reputation.

When I joined, it was a time of change…

The last few years have seen a lot of changes in IT and the way we operate so people had to move out of their comfort zone. We had to make a lot of changes in how we managed data, figures, and the like, and that’s an ongoing process at group level. The team rose to the challenge, we got everything we needed into the CRM, Excel and so on. It’s part of a wider story at Schréder where we’ve been bringing everything into line globally, aligning standards and systems. It’s made a big difference.

Since last November, I’ve been leading two teams…

I currently manage both the supply chain and the sales support team, so I have two teams. At the beginning of the month it’s mostly about reporting, towards the end of the month it’s about ensuring things have moved on, shipments have come in, and meeting our deadlines. For larger tenders, I’ll get another team member involved to make things run smoothly – we’re working on several big projects at the moment. Products are currently coming in from Spain and China for Noor Abu Dhabi.

Schréder provided modern LED lighting for the Dubai World Trade Centre district

Customers are very exacting…

The Gulf Region has a reputation for wanting the best of everything, and customer service standards are sky high. There are a lot of certifications, lots of regulations, and we need to meet them – obviously, that’s something we do worldwide, but we have to go the extra mile here. There’s a lot of testing we do specifically to get approved by local entities, such as heat testing – street lights have to be able to withstand extreme conditions in the desert. Our sales team does an incredible job working with customers, meeting their exact specifications to complete projects together in harmony.

… and projects are on a huge scale!

They are like nothing else! Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan included replacing 2 million road lighting points, and in 2019 Schréder Gulf replaced more than 200,000 luminaires in Dammam, Khobar, Dahran, and Jeddah. They have all been supplied with NEMA sockets, so whatever smart connectivity options they want to pursue in future, the lighting is ready. We have supplied a lot of lighting points in Qatar, where the YOA luminaire has won official approval, likewise we have sold a lot of AVENTO luminaires in Iraq. We are working on more diverse projects as well, beyond road and tunnel lighting, as the region evolves. 

Schréder delivered over 200,00 energy-efficient LED luminaire's for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan

My favourite project…

I really enjoyed working on the National ESCO Tarshid project. There was a great collaboration between the applications team, the project manager and the customer. It was my first time working on a larger tender, and I liked the confidence that Schréder showed in me. Knowing you’re trusted, that your opinion counts, being part of a bigger process – it’s a great feeling and part of being a family company, I think. I genuinely enjoy coming to work, it’s such a good atmosphere.

Every day is different…

Things got very disrupted with COVID, but I just went on my first trip with the company, to China. It was for leadership training as Schréder really cares about developing employee skills. It was great though to meet colleagues from other companies and hear how they deal with projects and challenges. I love it that every day is different. I’m really happy and blessed to be here!

Connect with Nithya on LinkedIn.