Engineer Kalin Peshov is part of the management team of Glavbolgarstroy. In 2009, he became the Chairperson of the Management Board of Glavbolgarstroy AD, and in 2013, of Glavbolgarstroy Holding as well. His career development started in 1994 at Royal Potatoes, first as an electrical engineer, and later as a sales director. He worked there until 1999. Then, for around a year, he was at Honeywell Bulgaria. He worked for a short period of time in the Ministry of Finance, before he joined the largest construction company in Bulgaria – Glavbolgarstroy, where, in the period 2003-2006, he was the Marketing Manager. In 2006, he became its Executive Director and held this position until the beginning of 2011 when he assumed the role of a Chief Executive Officer. He received his engineering degree from the Technical University of Sofia. He graduated as a Master in Business Administration from the Business School in Lozana. Later, he completed an EMP program at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Eng. Peshov, this year Glavbolgarstroy turned 50.
How will you summarize this half a century of development in a few sentences?
Work, work and
work again. In order for a construction company to develop and survive for 50
years on the market we work on, its management must mostly comprise of
workaholics, people without fear of challenges, even a pinch of craziness is
also beneficial. But seriously, these fifty years represent an investment of a
lot of work and perseverance, a constant strive to apply new technologies in
search of the best solutions. These are fifty years of uncompromising
professionalism and total dedication to the cause of building with honesty and
quality not only buildings and infrastructure but also the trust of our
partners, clients and employees.
Have you found the formula for company health and
Motivation is key
to me. It is what makes you get up in the morning and do what you do... The
more you focus on the quality of the product, the end result and the
opportunity to create something beautiful and worthy, the more successful you
will be in your work. Success is not an end in itself. It comes when you have
the right attitude and invest your best in what you do.
“Trust Won by Quality” is the motto of the Holding.
How do you stand up for it in every project and every action with so many
people working at so many sites?
of the company has always complied with the current academic management trends.
We adapt according to the environment and the needs in our sector, so that we
can respond adequately. Sometimes this means expansion but sometimes it means
shrinking the business. Of course, we have made a lot of mistakes but we have
always stood up and continued forward.
On which markets are you present? Where do you work
with the greatest ease and where is the hardest?
Over the years
we have been present on many markets – from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, through Germany, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia,
Kosovo to Morocco, Qatar and Egypt. Of course, our biggest market is Bulgaria.
As for the difficulties – each market is different and specific, it comes with
the respective culture, values, customs, institutional and legal frameworks,
the needs and requirements of the local environment.
How does Glavbolgarstroy Holding currently look like in figures?
consolidated business is constantly changing. All over the world, construction
is a cyclical business that depends on the changes in the economic situation of
the country, on neighbouring markets, as well as on many other factors. We have
reached BGN 450 million a year, and we have dropped to BGN 200 million. But
what we consider to be the most important capital of the company and which is
in our focus are our employees who are more than 2,000 people to date. They are the
force that turns theory into practice and projects into reality.
You manage one of the largest construction companies
in Bulgaria. Which are some of the sites you would like each one of us to link
the name of Glavbolgarstroy to?
Glavbolgarstroy, have a really huge variety of implemented projects. We built
literary everything – airports, hotels, hospitals, gas infrastructure,
landfills, water sector sites. This is a challenge that keeps us always awake,
searching and open to creativeness and innovation. We are proud of many of our
sites, but some of the most emblematic are Arena Armeets Sports Hall, the two
Biovet factories we are currently working on, the transit gas pipeline for
Turkey, the US Embassy, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
that we have recently started constructing, the Struma motorway and many, many
Which are some of the greatest challenges that you
have to overcome? After all, you are not alone on the market...
In addition to
finding the right staff, a serious challenge in this industry is the fact that
the business is cyclical and our efforts are focused on keeping the employees in
cases when, in between big projects, there is a gap of six, nine and sometimes
twelve months. Of course, we have to always bear in mind the constant liquidity
risk. Construction companies are in an industry where they can go bankrupt the
easiest and the fastest. In this sector, it happens very often that the
investors delay or even do not make their payment, which puts the business in
an extremely complicated and difficult situation.
You are one of the deputy chairpersons of the
Bulgarian Construction Chamber (BCC). Why is this chamber important?
Glavbolgarstroy is a member of different organizations, but BCC is one of the
few established under a special law. It unites the industry also around the
problems of the sector. Together with our colleagues, we are trying to overcome
challenges, to find common solutions, to look for and exchange good practices.
Your perspective on public procurements in which
large construction businesses takes part...
sheet for the last year shows that 72% of Glavbolgarstroy’s revenue comes from
private investors and only 28% from public procurements. Such a percentage is
not always possible but our aim is the ratio between state and private sites to
remain not more than 50%. Currently, we are implementing a second project for
our partners from Aurubis, we have worked with companies, such as: Dundee
Precious Metals, the global giant in the production of corn – Amylum, the
German company Quarzwerke, this makes us independent from investments in the public
New construction products and technologies are
constantly emerging. How do you develop and modernize your business?
difficult for a company to be at a high technology level on a small market like
Bulgaria, but we are trying to integrate the leading global practices in
everything we do. During the construction of the Arena Armeets hall, a
hydraulic technology for lifting the huge hall roof was used for the first time
in Bulgaria. We are working on a complex technology for the repair of the
bridge facilities of Hemus motorway. We have purchased the latest and most up-to-date
American welding equipment for the gas sites we construct. Of course, we pay
attention to the safety of people, we follow their development and ensure a
good and peaceful environment to our employees.
Do you try to deploy something from the ancient
knowledge used in construction?
what is valuable are not only methods that were used but also the brave ideas
that were materialized in buildings and facilities. When Kolyu Ficheto was
looking at a river, he was not thinking about how impossible it was to move the
gully with the materials and equipment available at that time. From that we
learn that we should never give up. Where there is a will, there is a way, as
the great Hristo Prodanov says.
What is the place of the Tsari Mali Grad Fortress
among the special projects in which Glavbolgarstroy has taken part?
This is one of
the most interesting projects in our company’s portfolio. We carried out
restoration and conservation activities on the early Christian church and the
ancient fortress. I dare say that the end result is remarkable. We spent a lot
of time researching the real parameters of this ancient location and we
restored it with utmost accuracy. The different thing about this project was
that, while many people and companies try to profit from such historical sites,
we invested additional resources from the profits of our own investment
projects in order to achieve the look that the place deserves.
You manage a large business. What is your biggest
dream for it?
nothing without the people. Leaders, partners, employees, clients... when they
are all happy that they have come in contact with Glavbolgarstroy, when they
put its calendar on their kitchen table, it means that we have done something good.
One reason you would like to change this business
with another, and one reason you would not want to.
You do not
choose your own destiny. Surely, there are more exciting professions than that
of builders. Every boy has dreamed of being a commando, and when he becomes a
teenager, to be in the place of Hugh Hefner, but seriously, to leave behind
projects that are beautiful and useful to people is great. I like my job and I
wouldn’t change it for any other.
If you have to teach a lesson in patriotism to children,
what would you tell them?
The only meaningful lesson in patriotism can
be taught by personal example.