– Termovent’s first ventures on the territory of the EU, the first jobs in Belgium and the first jobs in the Netherlands, were our great successes. The company’s first breakthrough came with the signing of two five-year contracts with Pfizer, because it was that I realised it wasn’t possible to ensure the seriousness of the production, to consistent quality, of highly-demanding pharmaceuticals under such conditions of production. The biggest breakthrough came with the arrival of my sons, Miloš and Andrija. Their work and taking over parts of the company demanding high accountabilityresulted in the achieving of great progress – expanding staffing potential, equipping the new production hall, modernising equipment etc.
The idea to produce HVAC systems came when I realised, after a lot of analysis, that this is in an area that nobody in Serbia deal with, and only a relatively small number of companies in the EU
You work with such companies as Pfizer, Pharmasyntez and numerous other pharmaceutical giants. How does an entrepreneur from Serbia even approach Pfizer, which has an annual budget exceeding those of some states?
– When I analyse this question from today’s perspective, that’s really almost animpossible mission, but enormous persistence, a refusal to give up on the idea of working with pharmaceutical companies, and what then was already good familiarity with pharmaceutical standards, led us to achieving that goal.
If I told you that I had 19 unsuccessful presentations on the territory of the EU, and that it was only after my 20th that I signed my first contract, that says enough about not giving up.
Pfizer cooperation occurred when the quality of our company was brought to the level of their requirements, European quality, and we succeeded. I’m proud that my sons and associates have continued intensive and very successful cooperation with all pharmaceutical companies.
How, as an engineer, did you even come up with the idea of specialising in the production and design of HVAC systems and equipment that resolve many manufacturing issues for the pharmaceutical industry?
– I adopted this idea as my base, because after a lot of analysis of my own production programme, and market verification, I simply concluded that it was necessary to slightly shift the standard programme in an area that nobody in Serbia was dealing with in terms of production, in a programme that only a relatively small number of companies deal with even in Europe.
I was aware of major shortcomings – insufficient familiarity with the regulations in pharmacy, the quality of products intended for this domain, a lack of personnel, the technological level of equipment etc.
Intensive work on presenting my company, persistence, along with the constant creation of personnel and technological potential, were the guiding drivers that I didn’t give up on.
Today, when my son Andrija has taken over the position of general manager, and when Miloš and his associates run complete systems engineering with excellence, even work with highly demanding companies doesn’t present a problem for us.
At a juncture when one of Serbia’s key issues is the brain-drain of young people leaving the country, Termovent recognises its key potential as a company in the youth. In your opinion, do young experts see Termovent as a constant in their careers or as a springboard for leaving the country?
– I honestly think there are both, though there are much fewer of the latter. Continuous investment in personnel, in their education and professional training, as well as their work in the highly selective areas of the EU and Russian Federation, cooperating with very demanding companies, certainly reaffirms their need to be part of a team, because they wouldn’t have as much space to act independently in any other company.
Certainly, alongside all of that, satisfying personal earnings, and regularity of their payment, as well as special bonuses for high-quality work undertaken, are an essential part of them choosing to stay in our company.
If, alongside experience gained through work and creation, you ensure continuous quality, constant respect for deadlines and satisfied clients, there are no boundaries to entrepreneurs
Termovent is also a family company. Is that an advantage in your business or can it sometimes also be a hindrance?
– Honestly, we are not a company that has templates for many things, because the mere fact that my sons, with my complete approval, independently launched a new organisation of the company and a new structure and engaged world-renowned experts for the optimisation of production processes, testifies to the fact that we are primarily a healthy family, and alongside that a healthy company.
I consider the process of my sons taking over the company as my greatest success, because all the aforementioned ideas have finally come together in the achieving of one goal: them taking over and successfully running the company.
You are a great advocate of entrepreneurship and have won major awards in that domain. Your stance is that there is no “religious, ethnic or any other boundary” for organised entrepreneurship. To what extent are conditions for doing business in Serbia incentivising for entrepreneurs?
– Yes, the large number of domestic and international awards are certainly a stimulating acknowledgment for several decades of work and success, but there are really no boundaries to entrepreneurship. The Serbian economy is, of course, from day to day becoming increasingly stable as a “carrier” for entrepreneurship, but it is unrealistic to expect that the state must and should provide everything: programmes, resources, market etc. I think it’s certainly not a problem in Serbia to secure very affordable funding for good programmes that are exportorientated, if you bring them to the door of the state. The state certainly must, within the framework of some ministry, organise a “mentor team” comprising successful entrepreneurs, who will work with young, potential entrepreneurs to define programmes and sources of funding.
Generally, the current situation is unsatisfactory, but there are certainly very positive moves.
Termovent has implemented over 100 projects worldwide, from the region, via the EU, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, all the way to India. Which project are you particularly proud of?
– I am certainly proudest of my first contracted project on the territory of the EU, with company STEROP from Brussels, because that was my 20th company presentation on that territory, which resulted in the first contract and extremely good implementation.
I certainly consider as being very significant the projects in pharmacy for companies Pfizer, Pharmasyntez and the Serum Institute of India, as well as projects in microelectronics for Photon, Katod etc., then the projects in sterile parts – Grand Medica Hospital in Novokuznetsk, Meshalkin Clinic in Novosibirsk etc.