Meet the Boss: Frank Horton, chief executive officer, Mercton Resources

Frank Horton

1. What part of your job keeps you awake at night?

Mercton Resources is a plant hire, mineral processing, contract crushing and screening specialist based in Ghana. We add value to mining operations within Africa, using our cutting-edge and cost-effective approaches to meet the needs of our clients. As team leader of such a great firm, I have a huge responsibility to make sure targets are met. I put my reputation on the line each day to make sure our company’s core duty is fulfilled. As a team, we bet all our resources on every job we do, and this definitely keeps us on our toes. I have a heart for excellence and I ensure all our duties are carried out to the utmost quality. Our clients’ business growth wholly depends on me and this urgency definitely keeps me staying up all night when we encounter mechanical challenges.

2. Name three traits required to survive in this role.

Our industry runs on the wheels of investment, risk and demand. Mining operations are capital intensive and involve a lot of risk. All the same, the benefits from these operations are uncountable. I have come to understand that I am because our clients are, hence, their demand must be my burden – and this burden is to have them grow. In helping clients’ productivity increases over the years, I have been guided by a sense of reliability, commitment and innovation to provide cost-effective solutions and building such a hallmark require integrity, perseverance and dedication. I can confidently say that these traits have sustained my relevance in this competitive industry.

3. What is the biggest misconception about your job?

At the mere mention of mining, others tend to think that it is a ‘search-and-destroy’ mission. Focusing on the probable environmental degradation, they forget to acknowledge the immense benefits such operations bring to producing countries; and its importance in our everyday lives.

4. Who has had the greatest impact on your career?

Growing up, my father was my greatest support. Indeed, he still is. He believed in me when I even did not believe in myself. At the least opportunity, he made sure he brought out the best in me – challenging me to go out of my comfort zone and embrace the future. He convinced me to abandon my banking dream to become an entrepreneur, stressing that Africa would be in dire need of entrepreneurs in the future. Twenty-three years ago, he gave me a business plan which eventually became the foundation of Mercton Resources. He often tells me to go forward with my vision even if no one else can see it. My father believed in me than anyone ever did. I am here today courtesy his unflinching support.

5. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

My former boss once challenged me that how one perceived problems affected how they could solve them. He stressed that problems could be opportunities in disguise if I looked at them as such. This has gone a long way to motivate me to be where I am today in my career. I see every problem as an opportunity turned upside down.

6. The top reason for your professional success?

My greatest goal as a professional is to be like a ladder all others can climb up to where they need to be. The fundamental importance of every leader is to be of value to people. I always strive not to be the successful one. Rather, I help my team members to be a success. When they succeed, I succeed, too. Same can be said of failure. As a CEO, I believe that creating an environment where your team can function optimally is a sure way to professional success. At least, it has worked for me.

7. How do you relax?

I have a dream to get somewhere. It is only after I have gotten there (or, at least, gotten closer) that I can dream of relaxation. In the mining industry, you either run or be overrun. There is no time to slow down; absolutely no time to relax. Trends are changing. New technologies keep emerging. I always need to be abreast of new happenings in our field so as to deliver effectively to our clients. In place of relaxation, I attend mining conferences, tradeshows and industry events all over the world to keep myself updated.

8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?

The nature of my job is very demanding. I am not able to be in the office all the time. I am either exploring new business opportunities or on the field inspecting ongoing projects. Ordinarily, I get to my office before 8:00 am.

9. Your favourite job interview question?

I believe people don’t just apply for jobs. They are driven by an innate motive or passion. Hence, I always want to ask applicants why they are applying for those particular roles. Whether they can do the job or not depends on why they want to be part of the team in the first place.

10. The biggest perk of your job?

Well, nothing gives me as much joy as having the opportunity to travel around the world to attend mining conferences to keep the vision of Mercton Resources alive.