Mackwell’s new commercial director is determined to make the company the ‘go to place’ for emergency lighting with a storied history to build upon.

The company has over 38 years’ experience in the industry and are based in the West Midlands, at their Hayward Industrial Park headquarters in Aldridge, Walsall.

Historically known as an emergency lighting component manufacturer, Mackwell consider themselves an authority in this area.

Already an employee, Rene Joppi has taken up a key role in ensuring Mackwell achieve success going forward and will be relocating to the UK to do so, having previously lived in Dubai while he was running Mackwell’s Middle East office.

Success and growth there in just two years at the helm have seen him promoted. He will still have responsibilities in the Middle East but will also take the lead on global commercial sales, product management, research and development and marketing, all key areas for the company’s prosperity.

He said: “My vision to make Mackwell the go to place for emergency lighting. When someone thinks about emergency lighting, we want them to think about Mackwell and we are really focussed on this. This includes having the right products, the right approach to the market and to be a pillar of knowledge and training.

“I’ll still be spending part of my time contributing to the Middle East office but, obviously, I’ll be focussed more on the European and UK markets. I was already in the Middle East, working for another lighting manufacturer, when I started with Mackwell, which was an exciting opportunity that came along.

“Mackwell already had some export business in the region but they didn’t have people on the ground or offices, so I was basically starting from scratch. I started by opening the office and applying for the licence in the Middle East, then began the hard work of getting the brand name established over there. Over the first couple of years, we managed to build up some great traction with clients and we grew in the market significantly.

“I now have a different set of responsibilities for the Mackwell Company and I’m looking forward to the future. The variation is what makes it interesting, all areas of the business have very different views on what is necessary. My job is to balance all of this and ensure the best outcome for the company.

“I have a long background in the lighting industry, I came from field work; I was a service engineer, a product manager and then head of a small business unit. I feel I can add opinion and help the teams fulfil their roles effectively. Mackwell are all about emergency lighting, that’s what the company are good at and what we will keep our focus on.”


Mackwell offer emergency lighting solutions as well as products that are second to none, tailored to each situation, and can work with existing systems or conduct complete overhauls, along with risk assessments as part of their customer service.

Mackwell go by the motto of ‘safety by choice, not by chance’ but emergency lighting is not optional for non-domestic premises, as defined by law and now at the top of the UK government’s agenda since the Grenfell Tower disaster last year.

Reports have suggested inadequate fire and safety measures played its part in the tragedy, of which there has been similar incidents overseas. Mr Joppi keeps up to date with all relevant legislation, both here and abroad, and is using that knowledge to make sure Mackwell and their clients stay safe.

He said: “The knowledge and dedication of the teams we have on site is really great to see and I like the way Mackwell do things. We see a problem and think of a solution, we don’t just take one off the shelf. We try and find an optimal way for each client.

“We do full type testing of luminaires, which clients give to us, we put our emergency conversion into it and do a full test report, too. We can offer this extra service because we have the knowledge and capability to do so. If the demand is there, we can provide this service for our customers.

“This nimbleness that Mackwell have to offer is attractive to customers and I like the challenge of building on this flexibility and knowledge, growing both in the UK and abroad. The UK market is dense, when it comes to competition, and I think Mackwell can excel and outperform others.

“We ensure that all new products we bring to the market are compliant. There has been a recent change to a standard in Europe that has made a lot of products out there non-compliant.

“The key part of self-contained emergency lighting is that the battery inside of the luminaire is under stress the most. If this is not maintained properly and the conditions are not correct, it won’t last.

Mackwell are preparing to launch their new product range for 2018, which include emergency lighting systems that can think for themselves and some solutions are already available where the performance of each product can be accurately tracked and problems can be identified quickly.

Mackwell are hoping to take this technology all over the world. As an international and independent company, exports account for 60 per cent of their turnover.

Mr Joppi said: “We have exciting developments that we will be launching in the spring, which will add a whole new layer of intelligence to our products. It’s a platform that we want to put into all of our luminaire portfolio, for all of our products to have this level of technology.

“The intelligence we are putting in is giving us the opportunity to know what’s really going on in the fitting while they are in use. Five years back, you installed a light and, as a company or manufacturer, you didn’t really know how it was used or whether it was maintained properly.

“To be able to draw down this data is becoming more and more viable now, to be accurate on what’s happening with critical parts of the installation.”

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