Zeyad Swaid, born and raised in Dubai, moved to New Zealand in his early teens. Now 29, he freely admits that his introduction to logistics was purely by chance.

“I started my studies in commerce, majoring in information systems,” he explained. “I took a paper that I thought was project management, but it turned out to be operations and supply chain management.” The lecturer helped him fall in love with the Subject, to the point where he did his Honours and Masters in supply chain and logistics – “That was definitely not planned.”

Swaid started working at Foodstuffs North Island in late 2014, having been brought across from Linfox by the Group Transport Manager. “New Zealand is so small that in supply chain, there aren’t that many companies to work in, but I am glad to be in a great role with Foodstuffs.”

Being able to be part of the bigger picture and knowing he had a part to play in it is the most rewarding for him. “The influence is what is most rewarding about my job,” he said. “That’s the simple truth to it. Much of my job is to provide inferences from current operations and data to the management team.”

One of the challenges Swaid faces is effecting change at an organisation as large as Foodstuffs.

“Foodies is definitely moving in the right direction in regards to change, but it does remain a challenge due to our size.”

Swaid motivates his team by drawing parallels to his own life. “My main driver is to try to get rid of the mentality that I’m coming to work to do a job and then go home. Rather, I’m part of something that I find important. The hope is that I find what I really enjoy to be rewarding. When that has been achieved, it will no longer ‘just be work’.”

Outside of supply chain and logistics, Swaid is a keen astrophotographer. He is still learning but has an active Instagram account, even travelling to the USA in August last year to capture the total solar eclipse. He is also well-travelled, with his favourite destinations being Turkey and Spain. “Spain was the only country that I really didn’t want to leave,” he said. “I’ve studied Spanish history extensively, so it was really great to finally visit the various historical sites. The people were very friendly, although they kept mistaking me for a Spaniard.”