Andrew Grygorets, sales and procurement manager, talks about his start at the company and how he develops the best offer for every customer
Your title is Sales & Procurement Manager, an unusual combination. What’s the idea behind it?
The connection is in fact very fruitful. Knowing the costs, logistics and legal structure behind a service is a great help in developing attractive offers for our clients.
You’re responsible for Arva’s global sales activities. Sounds like a big challenge. How do you approach your potential customers?
The main idea is to build a communicative bridge. You need to understand your product and the client’s needs. You have to make sure that he gets what he expects. The range of hydrocarbon-based pollutions is impressively broad, which is why we can’t provide standardised solutions. Instead, we develop tailor-made services for our clients. I see myself as a consultant, advising my client in the best way to deal with his task.
At the moment, we’re in the pilot project stage, testing our procedure in different environments. This gives us the opportunity to find the best solution for any problem our customers might be dealing with. We recently started these test projects to show that we can keep our promise to provide an effective and green remediation process.
In which countries are you active at the moment?
Apart from our focus in Central Europe, we see great potential in North America, the Middle East and the CIS countries of the former Soviet republics.
Right now there are interesting leads on my list for potential contracts in Canada, Siberia and Israel. Sooner or later, one of them will lead to an assignment.
What’s your background? What brought you to international sales?
I joined the company in 2015. Before that, I’d been working in international sales in Kiev and Luhansk, my home town.
In Kiev I worked for a company that sold wafers for solar energy systems. My areas of responsibility were Europe, the Middle East, South America and Australia. I learned a lot about cultural variety and different mentalities in my dealings with international customers.
The first time I encountered someone who wasn’t from my native country was in 1992. After the Iron Curtain fell, Christian missionaries came to the Ukraine to proselytise. Having graduated from a foreign language institute and specialised in English, I was hired by an Australian Protestant church as an interpreter and translator. For almost seven years, I translated sermons, songs and liturgies and met a lot of people from other countries. It was a great experience that opened up the world for me.
How did you end up working at Arva?
Russia’s invasion of my home region of Donets Basin in eastern Ukraine was the impetus for my family and I to move to Kharkiv in July of 2014. We left everything behind. Since the situation hasn’t really changed, we’ve settled in Kharkiv, where my family feels safe.
Within two weeks of arriving in Kharkiv, I had found a job at a local company in international sales. They were nice people who helped me a lot. I wanted more, however, so, in March 2015, I applied to Arva, which at that time still operated as MOG AG.
When I looked into the company’s fields of business, I was impressed. It was exactly what I was looking for: building relationships with international customers and selling great products and services. I really believe that I can make a difference here, help change the world, at least a bit [laughs].
How did you begin? What were your first assignments?
My first task was to control the procurement process and costs for our Nigerian joint venture. I was also in charge of researching and procuring all kinds of technical equipment and chemical reagents. We bought equipment in China, for example, to send to projects in Ecuador.
Following the recent changes in Arva’s product and business strategy, where do you see the most promising opportunities?
Our technology has a broad field of possible applications, so we have to focus. I’m very positive about our solution for cleaning contaminated soil on-site but ex situ. Once the substrate has been excavated, we can use concrete mixers for an effective chemical reaction that largely degrades the pollutants. This method has met with the best results. We understand it; we can control it; and so we can sell it. This is what I’m currently doing.
In addition, we are holding intensive talks with a Canadian company that has sent us detailed information on the sites and soils they want us to clean. I like their attitude. They say, “We’re not buying until its proven effective. But if you prove that your solutions works, we have a deal.” They’re very open to providing machinery, man power and experience for the pilot project we’ve agreed on. I’m very confident that our solution will convince them. If we close the deal, we have the opportunity to break into the US markets, because the Canadians cooperate with a large American company that is offering remediation services in the United States.
How do you see the role of the Ukrainian team?
Arva Ukraine assists and advises the head office; we’re ready to accomplish what they assign. We have a highly experienced team of scientific, engineering and sales professionals to help roll out our products and services. We share the same the vision and understand what we have to do to succeed.
First of all, we need to prove our practical portfolio. Ambition alone is not enough. We have to spend this year on the refinement of our solutions and prove their effectiveness in the field. We’re now gaining valuable experience from pilot projects in our respective business fields.
We know that our chemical procedure works better than any other on the market for hydrocarbon contamination. It won’t be long until we achieve both goals—doing very good business while making the world a greener place…