Mr. Thiede, your experience is quite rich in different countries around the world. What are your first impressions of your work in Bulgaria?
Yes, it really is. I had the chance of working in different countries around the world but at the same time my colleagues assured me beforehand that Bulgaria is first and foremost a very hospitable country. They have been right. Already in the first few weeks I’ve realized that the adjustment period wouldn’t take long. Additionally, I can verify that Varna truly deserves its given nickname of "Bulgaria's sea capital".
It’s an incredible city and atmosphere. In the first days of my arrival, I was amazed at how much history there is between our plant and the whole region. For over 60 years, our cement has not only been used for projects around the city of Varna, but also for emblematic buildings and infrastructure projects around the country.
ProfileSilvio Thiede is the new General Mana of Devnya Cement AD and Vulkan Cement since August 1 2019. He also holds the title of Managing Director of Heidelberg Cement Group subsidiaries in Greece and Albania.
Mr. Thiede has over 20 years of international experience with the Heidelberg Cement Group structure in various management positions. In 2000, he accepted the position of Managing Director for the subsidiary TBG Romania, based in Bucharest. In 2004, he moved to the Heidelberg headquarters as Head of Central Western Europe's IT Department before assuming the position of Managing Director of Cesla for Northwest Russia, based in St. Petersburg in 2006. Since 2013, Mr. Thiede has held the position of General Manager of Heidelberg Cement Group in Ukraine up until he took on the role of General Manager of Heidelberg Cement Group in Bulgaria, Albania and Greece (specifically the Devnya Cement and Vulkan Cement plants in our country).
The whole team is dedicated to this covenant and our goal here is to continue participating in the urban history of Bulgaria, while also continuing to modernize the technologies and products we offer.
How is Bulgaria positioned in a world group like Heidelberg Cement Group, with over 60 countries?
Bulgaria holds a prestigious place in our group. The country is a benchmark for professionalism and this is confirmed by the fact that the latest technologies are often first introduced in the production here. A worldwide IT hub has been established in the country recently, serving the entire group and all countries in it. This is further evidence the group trusts the professionalism of its Bulgarian colleagues.
I am happy to be a part of the Bulgarian team. It is no accident that such a large investment of over
330 million BGN was made to build one of the most modern cement and clinker plants in Europe. This is an additional incentive for me to meet the high expectations of both the group and the local team.
Of course, Bulgaria is a small country compared to Germany and the USA, for example. In this regard,
we cannot compare production volumes to larger countries because the cement business is directly dependent on the needs of the domestic market. However, the country is in a dynamic period. The potential is great. Of course, the country's policies must be taken into consideration here, but I see that infrastructure projects in particular are the focus of the state.
The CompanyDevnya Cement is the largest cement and clinker producer in the country. In 1998, the company became part of Italian Italcementi, which was acquired by Heidelberg Cement in mid-2016. Since then, the German group took control of the Devnya plant.
Meanwhile in 2015, an investment of nearly 330 million BGN was made, making the company one of the most high-tech cement plants in all of Europe, along with significantly increased production capacity.
The HeidelbergCement Group is one of the largest cement and aggregate producers worldwide with over 60,000 employees.
What are the company's main business goals for the product portfolio?
Naturally, the company’s main business goal is to continue to deliver the same uncompromising quality to our customers. Each product is tested in our own specialized laboratory according to different criteria, therefore nothing is released from our production without first receiving quality approval. Furthermore, we have a mobile lab that performs site tests and is available to all of our customers.
There are many innovative products in our portfolio that we would like to establish as an indispensable alternative to costly and less efficient conventional solutions. One of our well-known lines on the market is called CONTACT and is an innovative binder that can turn even the most inappropriate soils into solid grounds for construction. The entire range of products is specially designed to facilitate the construction of infrastructure projects, reducing preparation time and reducing costs.
How do you personally determine the advantages of the plant compared to other countries in which you have worked?
Each country and each plant is different. No direct comparison can be made. The advantages of Devnya Cement that I can point out are the location with a highway exit and close to the biggest industrial port in the country, good traditions and name, built with a lot of work and perseverance, as well as the great professionalism of the Bulgarian team. And these are just some honorable mentions. I could continue counting.
I am happy to accept the position of General Manager at a time when the relationship between the local authorities and communities is very positive and strong. There is a direction of fruitful social activity and teamwork. I can mention a project for supporting and developing professional classes at the school in the city, together with our industrial neighbors "Solvay Sodi" and "Agropolychim" in partnership with the Municipality of Devnya. Our main goal is to constantly develop in all aspects - technology, products, but also raise our social media profile/visibility.