–Today you are receiving an award for a lifetime. How do you feel?
– Receiving an award is always an achievement to be shared with those who have accompanied me along the way and also with many other people who I know are equal or greater deserving recipients of that recognition. This is how I have always accepted these awards, both with shared joy and due lack of vanity.
–At IMEM you not only design lifts but also manufacture, install and often maintain them… Is diversification the key point to the company’s success?
– There is much talk about diversification being a strength for companies and it is true, but we must later review what the concept of diversification means in each case. Each sector has its own characteristics, we are members of the industry in a very specific sector that, like the industry in general, has a very high rate of technological evolution. For that reason, each the product life cycles are shorter. This is a very demanding condition per se, the cruising speed in the design of new solutions has multiplied. We manufacture for five continents and we must master and comply with the standards and regulations of the more than sixty five countries we work with. Indeed, we also provide a maintenance service to which we also apply the latest technologies, having a highly qualified team of professionals. We also have sister companies and investments in other business areas so yes, we are indeed a diversified company and this has of course helped us through this and other times of crisis.
–You have had to manage the Brexit and the Covid-19 in a short period of time, how did you do it?
– I would put the nautical world as an example. On ships, certain reactions to possible situations that may arise must be trained and rehearsed and, in addition, the ship must be prepared for them (a storm, for example). After sharing the situation with the crew, each one has to know what to do, how to respond and under what circumstances. Companies are or should be ready to prepare responses against adverse situations and our group has been developing and putting into practice various responses to those events. Lessons learned in previous crises and changes that national and global economies have undergone have been very valuable for that . It is strictly true that you can never feel completely secure in the long term, but it is also true that, as in the example, you have to be prepared and trained to respond from the very beginning in the best possible way. This requires continuous monitoring of company’s resources and a highly-skilled team able to understand adversity as their natural environment and able to implement what they have learned in a calm and firm way. During the pandemic, our team has had an exemplary disposition and, as I have already said in many occasions, they are worthy of the greatest congratulations. We must recognize a great collective effort of the majority of society and I especially value in this case the health professionals that have provided us with an example of extreme courage, professionalism and generosity. Every crisis, every circumstance that endangers the economy and the markets is a test for companies and, as in any examination, one must be prepared, and surely, also be accompanied by a certain grade of good fortune.
–The data shows that you have overcome this double challenge, but what are the next steps now?
–Company and challenge have constant and daily parallelism. They are the same thing. Day by day you have to overcome internally and respond to the advances of competitors that often work in other cultures and economies with salaries well below ours and that are part of what we call the global economy playing its role in the market.
– What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
-I am not a person who dares to give definite advice, since I do not know of any magic potion containing success, and you must always be very cautious with your own opinions. Having said that, I would recommend them to have a very powerful illusion, the greatest possible concreteness and definition of the project in which they believe and to pursue it continuously and without discouragement due to setbacks. These are basic ingredients in this unknown formula. It will be then necessary to discover what others are missing to complete it depending on the specialty and reach its conclusion through experimentation and timely corrections. The fact of being an entrepreneur, taking the risk and the decision to carry a project forward, is already a great start in itself.
– How do you see your professional future in the short and medium term?
–Other than my main activity, I have other commitments since I am president of Acea, the Cantabrian association of Elevator Companies, and recently I have been elected president of Feeda, the Spanish Federation of Elevator Companies, for which I am also a member of the council in Ela, European Lift Association where I represent Feeda in Brussels, that is to say, the interests of the Spanish lift sector in Europe. My commitment to these positions is for the next four years, so in the near future I will be busy. Talking about IMEM, there are two key factors for my midterm future: on one hand, those related with maintaining a good company health and, on the other hand, those related with maintaining my capability to contribute and add value to the project. To this day and after fifty years of professional career my illusion is unbroken. Our company’s circumstances and its project will determine the timing.