Why I started Volta

A big part of the design process when creating a brand is being able to clearly articulate why the project means so much, you have to make the designers, web developers and graphic artists believe in what it is you are trying to achieve.

For me the best way to explain why Volta means so much to me, is to start at the beginning….

I was 9 years old, and just received my first K’nex model from my uncle for Christmas. It was a bulldozer, model number 10116, it had 450 pieces, and it sparked something in me. I would build it, take it apart, and re-build it over and over again.

6 months later for my 10th birthday, my dad bought me the K’nex big ball factory. It stood over 5ft tall and had over 3,000 pieces, and took over 36 hours to build the first time round.

I soon got that time down to around 12 hours, after spending most of the next 4 years building, and rebuilding, and rebuilding the thing. (Something I would later understand to be Lean methodology – the standard work approach)

The reason for this passion was, that I could understand even at an early age the engineering that went into each piece and each model. The tooling design for each part, the injection moulding process, the packaging, the logistics and the distribution requirements all involved in making just one model, blew my mind.

As soon as I left school at 16, I knew I wanted to get into manufacturing and learn how things were made. I spent the next 15 years of my career reliving the experience of that 9 year old kid. Figuring things out, overcoming problems, learning new ways of working, experimenting with new techniques and tools.

My passion for “making”, moved me into “solving problems”. I realised manufacturing was not this perfect system that creates products seamlessly and without issues. It is in-fact a highly complex machine, that keeps on producing even when the small cogs or pistons that operate the machine fail.

I spent most of my career improving, changing, maintaining those cogs to keep the “manufacturing machine” going.

Over the course of my career I have been surrounded by problems in manufacturing that my employers looked at me to solve. But over time I realised that I couldn’t do it alone and in isolation. I couldn’t be that little boy locked in my room building models in order to make something. I had to become a leader in solving problems for other people.

“Volta works together with organisations to create real, sustainable change that will optimise and improve manufacturing processes” – Ultimate Creative Communications

My last role before creating Volta, was as a Manufacturing Manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and as far as my 9 year old brain was concerned, I had made it. I was so proud of the work I was doing, providing much needed life saving medicine to people all around the world, but I was still surrounded by problems in the manufacturing process that I knew I could solve.

As a manager my biggest challenge was not the engineering involved in fixing problems; that had become second nature to me by this time, the challenged lied in encouraging people, teams and operators to believe they could do it too.

My passion for People, and Engineering had finally come together in a beautiful way. As Simon Sinek would say.. “I had found my Why!”.

My why is “to solve problems in manufacturing, with people who believe that change is a good thing”

I wanted to show every manufacturer those same lessons I had learned on my journey. That anything is possible once you mobilise your staff and lead the way for change with them.

By being able to articulate why, as a child engineering was so important to me and people are so integral in leading change; a brand was born. By being able to inspire the designers, graphic artists and the entire creative agency to believe in the key values that I hold dear to me, the essence of Volta was created; “Empowering change through your business”.

The rest of the story was that my brand was then created by an amazing team, but more importantly a powerful message of change could now be communicated to the world, and with that Volta was born.

My 9-year-old self would be proud.


– Article by Luke Mullins, CEO of Volta.