In 2013, Manuel Perez Almeria moved from STIHL Spain to the Colombian town of Rionegro. The new surroundings have given Manuel many exciting experiences and a brand new outlook. STIHL’s manufacturing network with production companies in Germany, USA, Brazil, China, Austria and Switzerland as well as over 30 subsidiaries around the world, offers more than enough opportunities.
Manuel Perez Almeria tells us the reasons behind his decision and explains how he has been getting on in Colombia.
New prospects, more responsibility
Before I start talking about my experiences in Colombia, I would like to explain why I left Spain and decided to move to South America. It all began in 2012, when Spain was in the middle of a severe recession. Back then, I had already spent five years as a sales promoter and I was sure that I wanted to assume more responsibility within the STIHL Group.
So I went to speak to the CEO of STIHL Spain Dr. Bernhard Iber and soon enough I was offered the chance to go to Colombia. I am extremely grateful for his support, as this change of scenery opened up a whole manner of opportunities that I later took advantage of…
Different country, great team
The next chapter in my professional career began at STIHL Colombia in September 2013. Of course, moving to a new country was accompanied by a great deal of uncertainty. I wasn’t familiar with the country, nor with my colleagues. What’s more, the company was still being established; even the offices in Rionegro had yet to be completed. Initially, we worked in a modest office complex in Medellín. This is where I met my colleagues and I was very grateful to become a part of such a young and motivated team. They welcomed me to their country with open arms.
There were some teething problems. After all, it was a brand new cultural environment for me with completely different customs. Even the language was different, as Colombian Spanish has a lot of expressions that don’t exist in European Spanish. Looking back, I think that it was this uncertainty and new ground that made my move to Colombia so incredibly interesting and absorbing.
New challenges, valuable experiences
When we moved into our new building in Rionegro in December 2013, I was also given the opportunity to assume responsibility for managing technical services and market development. I gladly took on these new challenges and I was subsequently rewarded with important and valuable experiences.
I believe that travelling and meeting new people play a key part in our personal development. In my own case, I was able to experience what a wonderful country Colombia is and see with my own eyes that it’s a lot safer than people in Europe think.