Sinisa Maksimovic, Owner and Director General of ETMAX – Good Practices in Business Lead to Business Results
Sinisa Maksimovic (Photo: Aleksandar Arsenović)
A decade ago, Sinisa Maksimovic founded the company ETMAX, in order to offer to the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina what it lacked at the time – expertise and knowledge for investments in solar power plants. Today, ten years later, the market is developing at a rapid pace and everybody is talking about how this is a great moment to invest in projects of construction of solar facilities.
– When investing in solar power plants, you should always take care for this responsible and long-term job to be entrusted to experienced companies – Maksimovic emphasizes in this interview and also shares his views of the current trends in this sector, the challenges they are facing in their business operations and the big power plant they are building in Nevesinje.
In BiH, ETMAX is a leader in designing and building solar power plants and an important partner to all those who want to build solar power plants, for which there is a great demand throughout the region. What were your initial ideas when you were founding ETMAX, what were the goals you set for yourself?
– ETMAX was founded in 2012 and in a decade of existence, our development has led us from a company with around ten employees to a leader in designing and building solar power plants. Today, we have 70 employees, we are in a new cycle of employment with a plan of further development and expansion of activities, which is based on a wider mastering of technological processes and a higher share of our own resources in production and delivery of solar power plant components.
At the time ETMAX was founded, there was practically no sector of renewable energy sources in BiH. The intention was to create the foundations for an eventual reaching of the moment when it is possible to build solar power plants here and having such systems be part of the electrical energy network. We installed the first power plants on our facilities, where we acquired the experience and did the measurements and developed the best solutions. That is how we entered the world of solar energy.
Thanks to the construction of our own facilities, the acquired knowledge and the experience in solar energy and the way the power plants function, our business beginnings were successful and we established a business model that is professional and recognizable.
That approach ensured our gradual development of a respectable company, whose business is constantly growing. Still, regardless of our results so far, we are oriented toward a further development, planning and adoption of new technologies and it is precisely in that way that we are following our own goals.
How demanding and challenging is it to establish standards, service quality and trust among the clients, as well as institutions, the business community and the NGO sector?
– It is certainly challenging, but the dedication to the development of the company, constant upgrades in the sense of HR and technological capacities are producing results. We base the standardization of the business, the high level of service quality and the building of trust toward the customers and other interested parties and a professional and responsible approach. I don’t believe that it should be seen as a demanding process, because, as a company, you need to be ready to define and apply your own standards in your work and dedicate yourself to building a recognizable quality. My position is that this is the best way to define the difference between those who are leaders in the sector and others. On my part, I am trying to show that good business practices can lead to the best results.
(Photo: 3D Media)
Was it difficult for you to find professional staff and engineers? Is there enough available staff in BiH and RS to meet all the challenges of the energy market?
– ETMAX is in a new investment cycle, because we are expanding our own production capacities, to the end of realizing a larger share of the technological operations with our own resources. Also, the solar power plants that we have built so far make up over 35 MWp of installed power, and 60 MWp is currently being built, pertaining to the Solar Power Plant facility in Nevesinje. All this requires special attention to be paid to the employment of experts. As a company, we have secured an adequate working environment, good working conditions for our employees, and I believe that we are recognized as one of the employers that workers choose gladly.
Today, it is truly a challenge to find and keep the best engineers and other experts of various profiles who have adequate qualifications and work experience. Still, the plans of production and development that we rely on in general require a long-term approach to employment. The lack of workforce is present in many sectors, but as an employer, we try to secure all the pre-conditions for a good and long-term employment of the best employees. I believe that we are quite successful in this and we will surely be dedicated to creating quality, sustainable jobs, with good conditions for the workers in the coming period as well.
Which projects have you found the most demanding so far and what is it that you’ve especially learned about overcoming big challenges?
– ETMAX approaches each project with equal attention, dedication and quality in both the designing and the construction phase. In that respect, there is no difference between the project. A project that could be highlighted in the sense of being a professional challenge is certainly the designing and construction of the Solar Power Plant in Nevesinje, which is a project that, with 60 MWp, is one of the currently biggest facilities of this type in BiH in the region. Our goal is for this project to be implemented with our own resources and for our ten-year experience to be used in the best way possible.
We are oriented toward developing solar power plant projects with a large installed power in the future and this is the first such project, so that makes it extremely important for us as a company and the energy sector as an important production capacity. Such projects ensure a long-term energy stability and a strategic importance, so that, in the future, we would get the optimal production results from renewable energy sources.
When you are presenting ETMAX to somebody for the first time, what do you say – what is it that they can expect from your company?
– We have become a leader thanks to the approach to our work which includes knowledge and experience, which we have built into our processes. With us, you can get, in one place, a full, professional approach, from an analysis in the preparatory phase of the investment, through the designing, choosing quality equipment, all the way to the execution itself, with expert support in obtaining all the necessary permits. It is important to emphasize that, in investing in solar power plants, you should always take care to entrust this responsible and long-term task to companies with references and experience.
Clients often come to us with a business idea, after which they are actively involved in all the phases of project development together with our expert team. We follow our clients’ requests, based on which we propose the optimal solutions, which we integrate with quality design and construction.
The equipment that is installed is of high quality, with adequate guarantee deadlines. To our clients, we can say that our reference list is perhaps the best indicator of the quality of our work, that we have designed and built the largest number of solar power plants in RS/BiH and that a considerable number of clients has decided to expand the investments and that they are deciding to continue cooperating with our company.
(Photo: RiTe Stanari)
Considering that this market is getting increasingly attractive, how do you see the competition? Is it an incentive for you to progress and always be a step ahead?
– Yes, of course. It is good to have competition, because, that way, you stimulate yourself to be better in what you do, to be more innovative, to more carefully analyze new opportunities and operation models. As a pioneer in the field of renewable energy sources, ETMAX has reached the positions that the company has now a result of a long-term work on perfecting the products and services, and through our development process, we have set high quality standards. The competitive advantage of ETMAX is based on its leading position and constant upgrade of the business operations, considering the high bar we have set, and the competition acts as an incentive for us to maintain and improve our own results. The number of the realized projects and the current references of ETMAX could be a challenge for the competition, and we are certainly heading into new projects and development, because we have been setting the standard in the market in this field anyway.
In your opinion, how will the market of solar energy develop in the coming years? What do you see as the main trends?
– I believe that renewable energy sources will be increasingly present in the overall production. Ecological aspects are extremely important and they are becoming more significant every day, which directly benefits a more intensive development of the production of electrical energy from solar energy. In general, the price of electrical energy and the projections show that investments in solar power plants are profitable in the long term. Ensuring an unobstructed supply of electrical energy is also strategically important and will have an impact on the further development of the sector.
ETMAX in the next five to ten years – what will be the main goals and directions of development?
– We are doing regular updates of the strategic and development plans at ETMAX. Our vision is to keep and completely upgrade the position of a regional market leader in the construction of solar power plants and to be recognized for the development of new products and the implementation of technologies based on RES, energy, innovations and sustainable development. Our main focus in the next period is to achieve the highest possible level of technological development and to have a more considerable share of products from local components, both in RES and in energy in general. I believe that, this way, the local production will rise to the highest level possible in all segments.
ETMAX was the gold sponsor of the Trebinje Energy Summit. What are your impressions now that the Summit has ended and to what extent do such events promote investments in solar facilities and RES in general?
– ETMAX has been a participant in the Trebinje Energy Summit since the beginning and we are glad that, in the energy sector, solar energy and RES in general have been recognized as one of the strategically important components in the energy mix. SET was held recently and our impressions are extremely positive, because the public’s interest is important, the promotion of RES in this way is very efficient and it certainly contributes significantly to spreading people’s awareness of this topic.
This is certainly one of the best ways for the economy to be introduced to the potential of solar energy and the possibilities of integrating it into other business activities, as well as the development of business ideas based on renewable sources. Our plan in the next period is to take part in this and similar events, which promote RES, because, that way, we realize numerous good contacts, transfer important information and affirm the sector which is developing extremely dynamically.
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