Manuel, born Asturian but adopted Navarran, is the successor of Luis Alvarez de Eulate in the General Direction at Barranquesa. Manuel is a swimming enthusiast, F1 fan, enjoys reading and follows his beloved Real Oviedo CF football team. He tells about his years at Barranquesa and how he sees the future of the company under his management.
When did you arrive in the company and which has been your journey?
I landed in Barranquesa in 2006, a few years have gone by… I came from the metal industry sector where I worked for a well known and recognised multinational called ArcelorMittal. It was a big change, going from a multinational to a SME; I can tell you that from my perspective it has been very positive. I was 27 years old when I arrived, a young person eager to learn and accept challenges.
At that time Barranquesa was looking for an engineer to enhance the Engineering Production Department with a clear objective, help grow and develop the company incorporating new machinery. They were beautiful years that allowed me to get to know all production processes and the whole workforce. I lived through a boom period in the sector that passed and don’t think it‘ll come back.
For changes in life, the opportunity of becoming Production Manager aroused, a position that I dedicated to 3 more years. Just as in my previous position everything was growth, however in the new position I had hard experiences due to adjustments derived from the huge crisis that the market had in 2010. We learn from everything, above all we learn to appreciate when things are going well. It was then time to restructure, refine, improve and optimize costs greatly.
Later, during 10 years, I occupied the Operations Manager, a position I was very comfortable in because I was able to thoroughly use my technical knowledge as well as people’s knowledge. At the same time I was getting to know providers, clients and the other company’s departments. I had the opportunity to join the Management Committee and learn from great professionals in all fields.
In 2021 Barranquesa offered me the opportunity to succeed Luis Álvarez de Eulate as General Director once he retired. I had no doubts because I also had the support of the whole Board of Directors and Luis. I would like to emphasise the support that Luis has always given me and of course he made things easier for me so that the transition was very natural. I’m very grateful for everything. He has left a very high professional standard and an ever higher personal standard. Definitely we´ll see much of each other after his retirement.
What are your objectives for the company’s medium and long term?
Our company has been growing steadily during the past few years. In a growing market, it is compulsory to grow.
As you know we have two lines of business, one of them (Anchor Cages) is a newly developed branch. We’re only at the beginning, there is much to do and scope to grow but we shall not forget that the root of our business in this market is the manufacture of Tower Flanges. I always say that we don’t have to choose between them and we are committed to developing both.
During 2022 we’ll see an important growth in the Anchor Cages business as soon as we finish the installation of the new drilling machines. The new factory in Pamplona is exclusively destined for this product and it seems that it has been working for 10 years. All of the staff made a great effort to be able to implement the new line and grow as well as serving customers. This 2022 the growth will be mainly due to this part of the business that will position Barranquesa as an important player in this product.
The long term challenge is to grow in a profitable way. It’s widely known that the wind sector is taken by a few and large wind turbine manufacturers that are not going through their best times. The market is very demanding. The expectations are big but the present is complicated. Barranquesa is a small company that deals with these big giants. Our challenge is to keep growing without losing rentability. We have important plans, but I wouldn’t like to say anything else for now… it’ll have to wait…
How do you see the future of renewable energies and Navarra as a market reference?
All indicators are positive. Both solar and wind energies will develop tremendously within Europe and beyond. For us, on-shore will continue to develop and grow and the repowering is about to take off, for sure it’ll arrive. Off-shore deserves specific mention, still in its beginnings but called to fill an important gap. We couldn’t ask for a better scenario. The market isn’t at all flat; it will have peaks and valleys to which we must adapt.
As for Navarra, it is an important center with regards to knowledge and manufacturing of renewable energies. It’s amazing the amount of companies located here. From large manufacturers to numerous providers. It is very fortunate to be able to share experiences, networking and even production capacities with other companies from the area. I would like to highlight the role carried out by Enercluster, Navarra’s renewable industry cluster. It helps all members to keep in touch and collaborate in common interests. In its beginning Barranquesa was one of the drivers and now there are over 65 companies being part. Great initiative.
It’s also true that in the past few years the decision power is moving out of Navarra and even Spain. It’s a real pity but rather than lamenting, we must keep working even harder so that Navarra keeps the privileged region status in the market.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
A difficult question. If you had asked me 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been right at all! Reality has by far exceeded what I would have said in 2012, both at personal and company levels of development.
Thus, I can only say that I see myself leading a different Barranquesa, same as today’s company is very different to that of 10 years ago. Certainly larger, in continuous development and change. The details of how we’ll leave for another time…
But always keeping the values that have made us reach 62 years of life and 30 in the market. Be it a 38 employees company or 1.000, our values are what makes us different and we shall be able to maintain them.
What would you highlight the most of Barranquesa?
Undoubtedly what defines Barranquesa is its personnel team. Evidently I’m not talking about the dimension but the human quality, work atmosphere, eagerness to develop every day, the hard work culture, responsiveness and flexibility, sense of belonging and team spirit. That makes a difference.
These values are ingrained in the organization thanks to the work carried out by my predecessors, and aren’t a flash in the pan. At this point I would like to thank them all since today’s success certainly comes from the past.
I would like to think that the clients perceive the values day by day, our effort to please them is constant and is the only way of having the same clients for over 30 years’ time counting on us every day. It’s demanding but we know how to do it.
I would like to end the interview saying thank you to all who make it possible for this project to grow day by day. Every day, step by step, request by request. We have gone through a lot together, sometimes good and some others bad and for sure the best is coming. With this team the Management job is much easier!
Thank you all for your support and keep working to make Barranquesa better every day!