Frequent Flyer: Chris Medland
This Australian civil engineer knows how to pack a hat.
Q What is your business, Medland Metropolis, working on at the moment?
A We do the most Apple stores in the world outside of whoever does them in the US. We have pretty much done all of them outside the US for the past six or seven years. We do all the aircon, the lighting, the data comms, the wiring. Look up at the ceiling next time you're in an Apple store. We've done our job correctly when nobody can see anything.
Q Most surprising place work's taken you?
A When you go to Tokyo first, you expect it to be an Asian city. But it's so much more like Italy. It's a very old culture and they've been doing things for so long in isolation that it's ritualistic. Having a sake in Tokyo is like having a coffee in Milan.
Q How often do you travel?
A A lot. I have an office in London. This trip, I'm going there for six weeks. We just won the refurbishment job on Selfridges in Manchester.
Q How did you come to be such a success in your field?
A I'm a Bris Vegan, come from a family of doctors and dentists. Being a middle child, I needed to do neither, so I did engineering. I started my business when I was 25, probably 24 years too early, but pretty quickly we saw a market for engineers who were sensitive to architecture, which is why we do so much work for Apple. We're almost the only groovy engineers in the world.
Q You're a hat aficionado; you have more than 30. How do you travel with them?
A Well, you take one on your head. I normally go overseas with two and come back with two more. Hat suitcases are coming back, by the way. Vuitton has just released one; unfortunately, it's £4000 [$6070]. But I put mine in hatboxes in my giant Samsonite bag so they don't get crushed.
Q Do you have a special hat you take?
A I have one. I can't pull it out too often, but it can win anything. It's a red beaver fur hat. I bought it in San Francisco. It has a good story to it; the guy I bought it from was a real character. It's now the king of hats. If there's a big problem, I put it on and don't take it off the whole day. It's way more powerful than I am.
Q Flight survival tip?
A The second you get on, turn your watch to the destination time. It also helps having a huge night before you leave. Be exhausted - you'll sleep well.