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Spotlight: Meet Denise Gould From Pelican Systems

We’re continuing our focus on Women in Design this month. Today we chat to the General Manager of Pelican Systems, Denise Gould. As a passionate creative, Denise is involved in the company’s daily operations, offering a full range of building products for commercial and residential interiors.

Tell us about your background…

I grew up in Durban, attended schools in Durban North and completed a BCom at UKZN. My majors were in Marketing, Finance, Economics and Business Administration. After University I did a Fashion Design course at Linear Academy and started my own clothing business called DNG Clothing. I joined Pelican Systems in 1995 to assist with administration in the Export Department and have since worked in various areas of the business including IT, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing and Procurement leading me to my current position as General Manager, a total of 26 years with the business.

What is the history of Pelican Systems?

Pelican Systems evolved out of my father’s contracting business Rod Gould Shopfitters after he managed to secure the rights to distribute OWA Ceilings in South Africa. With a major brand to distribute, there was a need to separate the supply side of the business from the contracting business and hence Pelican Systems was created.

Pelican Systems was started in 1970 and has been actively involved in the supply of Ceiling and Partition materials for 51 years.
One of the advantages we believe we have had is that the business was born out of contracting, so there was and still is an understanding of what is required on-site and there has always been a desire to improve the systems so that life on site is easier for our customers and the required quality and standards are easier to achieve.

What inspires you?

Making a difference and the feeling of accomplishment from introducing an improvement or being successful at a project.
I love beauty in many forms, including nature, interior spaces, luxury finishes, architecture colour, compassion and kindness.

What are your interests outside of work?

Yoga, meditation, astrology and finance podcasts… and a good book or series especially on the weekends.

How has Pelican Systems added value to the industry over the years?

Pelican Systems has been instrumental in introducing 76mm Drywall in KwaZulu Natal, prefabricated aluminium for Drywalls including Doorframe Kits and Glazing Sections, Kit Doors which have the faceplate checkout and mortising as well as levels for cutting and shoes to protect the doors on site. The acceptance of a 9mm Gypsum Ceiling Tile instead of a 12mm tile can also be attributed to Pelican Systems from the days when we manufactured our own Gypsum Ceiling Tiles.

More recently we have introduced the pre-drilling of all our aluminium ceiling trims to facilitate accurate and even fixing and save time on site installing.

What is the meaning of the brand name, Pelican Systems?

The origin of the name Pelican Systems is inspired by the Pelican bird seen around the Umgeni River mouth where the beak of the Pelican can hold more food than its belly can. Our logo used to be the Pelican bird with a big beak and a slogan Pelican Systems – make space more spacious. We modernised the logo a few decades ago with a more modern bird outline and changed the slogan to ‘creating environments’.

Tell us about your creative team.

We do not actually have a creative team as we supply only and are not involved in the creative design of the projects ourselves. In terms of Marketing, I am supported by a graphic designer and social media consultant as well as a web developer and SEO consultant.

You have a vast portfolio. What are you most proud of?

Being able to rise to whatever challenge has shown up within the business and find a way to navigate our way through.

What’s the perfect place in your home to indulge?

I am completing a renovation soon and cannot wait to explore the new spaces being created from the ultra-comfy sofa to binge watch series, to the 10-seater dining table to host book club and family dinners to the new veranda, deck and bar for entertaining friends.

I know very few of us are travelling right now but if you could where would you go?

I absolutely love to travel and cannot wait to get back exploring the world. I have a trip to Singapore and a Yoga and Spa retreat in Ubud, Bali which has been on hold from May 2020, so that will be first. Thereafter I have lots on my list including Morocco, Cuba, Vietnam, Zambia, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Caprivi Strip, Argentina and the Caribbean.

Places I’ve loved and would return include New York, Spain, Portugal and Italy. One of the most memorable trips has been to Rwanda exploring the Nyungwe Rain Forest where we tracked Chimpanzees and other primates culminating with seeing Gorilla’s.

The Kruger National Park is also a favourite destination as well as Umzumbe on the South Coast.

What are your current favourite restaurants/shops?

My all-time favourite restaurant was Café 99, which closed, so looking forward to Marcelle and Brendon’s new Umhlanga collaboration, hopefully opening within the next few months. Surf Riders is great for a beach vibe and creative cocktails. Al Firenze is down to earth Italian and serve the most amazing fresh line fish when available.

Thai is my favourite cuisine and I enjoy sharing a variety of dishes to maximise all the delicious flavours.

What’s your personal motto?

One day at a time. Breathe. The energy will shift. Change is inevitable.

A place you visited to unwind in Africa?


Any awards Pelican Systems has won?

We won an award for our JUMBO Skimming Plaster when it was used on a project in Swaziland a few years ago.

Visit the website and find out more about Pelican Systems.

Architect: @metropole_architects Main Contractor: F Verbaan Construction (PTY) Ltd Pelican Systems were recently a part of this new build.
supplied the materials for the ceilings and bulkheads in this unique equestrian estate’s  read  more here.    Photo: Grant Pitcher Photography

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