The Mayor of Belgrade, Dragan Đilas, has never been the boss to Dragan Kovačević, the owner and Director General of company Multicon Engineering.
However, the difference in only one letter in the names of the companies (Kovačević – Multicon, Đilas – Multicom) confuses even Kovačević’s long-time business partners. “Because of that, one partner recently approached me with the appeal to provide him with a parking place in front of his building”, says Kovačević in the restaurant of Belgrade-based hotel Holiday Inn.
He is especially proud of that hotel because, after changing three investors and three purposes for the facility, Multicon Engineering decided to have a hotel built at the lot besides Expo Center, which is also Multicon’s reference. Multicon also helped arrival of hotel group Holiday Inn and the cook in the hotel restaurant was recommended by Kovačević.
Although he knows almost all politicians and local businessmen, Kovačević does not appear often in public. As he says, he does not attend reception parties and fashion shows because he prefers spending time with his family. You can see him jogging in the nearby park or riding bicycle alongside the river in the morning. Although civil engineering in Serbia has the attribute of “mob sport”, Kovačević says that they are not from that story.
”Small number of people outside the company and our business actually know what I do for living because I never talk about business when I am not at work“, says Kovačević while he asks waitress to bring him chili cookies with salmon.
“Most people expect from me to tell some fairytale about how the company was created. But I have a civil engineering background and I am in this business for 17 years. I was born in Belgrade where I graduated from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. I worked as a scientist for some time and presented works at the world congresses. I am also the co-author of the book on heating and air conditioning. It may be that the students still study from that book“, says he through laughter.
I worked for five years in Mašinoprojekt as an architect, then I worked for five years in Srbijaprojekt where I spent most of the time working as a manger on various positions. ”I have a twin brother who was my most serious rival until recently because he worked in Mašinoprojekt. We were fighting for every job and we were confusing investors with our appearances“.
(future Plaza center in Višnjica)
Kovačević claims that his company has no privileges on tenders and, in order to prove that, he says that 95% of clients are foreign companies and private investors. Multicon is currently developing about ten hotels in Serbia, as well as eight hotels in Russia. It is hired to draw plans for Belgrade-based hotel Stari Mlin. It works on development of hotel in Block 11a with Austrian hotel group Falkensteiner and famous architect Boris Podrecca. The company also draws plans for a five-star hotel from the world-famous hotel chain in Airport City, it builds hotel Holiday Inn in Kragujevac and, in association with a Kazakhstani investor, it participates in realization of projects for development of several hotels all around Russia.
The company draws plans and runs construction works for trade center Plaza in Kragujevac. All in all, Multicon Engineering is currently drawing plans for 700,000 square meters in four states, it runs construction of nearly 300,000 square meters and it is the contractor for works on development of 60,000 square meters. Falkensteiner learned about the company on the Internet. Multicon seemed interesting to that company and they were invited to Vienna. That is how the cooperation with Austrian hotel chain started.
The company has branch offices in Zagreb, Podgorica and Moscow. Kovačević announces that new branch offices will be soon opened in Skopje and Dubai. ”I had a visit from the delegation of Albania few days ago and they expressed interest in cooperation with us. That is the market in expansión, especially Albanian coast“, Kovačević reveals. He plans to expand the activities of the company next year by making Multicon a co-investor in construction, but not for the development of residential space, but for development of logistic centers the area around Belgrade. He reveals that the company will be implementing two big projects for development of hotel-business-residential space, each at 200,000 square meters, in Belgrade in 2009.
”We signed the contracts on provision of planning and consulting services worth 7m EUR“, says he and adds that the guarantee of the company’s seriousness is the fact that Multicon insured the quality of its services at 1m EUR in case of some error in planning. According to Kovačević’s words, due to obscurity of rules of the game, Multicon Engineering does not participate in the national tenders. The exception is Museum of Science and Technology where Multicon cooperates with aforementioned architect Boris Podrecca.
Care for People
He currently has no plans to takeover some local architectural company and he doesn’t think about selling Multicon. One of the reasons is because he feels responsible for the people he cooperates with. ”Nobody gets the job in the company before having interview with me. I can freely say that the people came because of both company and me“, he points out. Either they applied for the job on the open competition or directly, good recommendation was a necessity. His priority is that the people feel comfortable in the company.
”We always organize unusual celebration of the day of the company. One year, when there were only few of us, we went shooting clay pigeons. This year we organized a big celebration at one of New Belgrade’s floating restaurants with karaoke contest“, said Kovacevic. However, he admits that it is getting harder for him to pay attention to all of his employees, the number of whom grew by 100% against the end of year 2007, reaching 160.
He travels a lot, his passport lasts for less than a year.
He is very sorry for not studying architecture because he loves well-organized space. He especially likes to monitor the process of development of facilities by Multicon. He also likes to put his little daughter in the car and take her for a ride almost every weekend.
notes – photos : Ekapija photo team, links : eKapija investment team, the photo of Dragan Kovačević taken from emg