Business Development Director Greta Krumina
How did you come to Aerones and how long have you been with the company?
It all started in 2018. At the time, it seemed like I had everything I could wish for! I lived in London and worked in the hospitality industry. My company was an internationally renowned hotel chain, where I saw growth and prospects.
However… I guess I had been away from Latvia for too long. Three years of studies away from home and three years in London, albeit in the heart of the metropolis, as a sales manager of a prestigious hotel, in a place where the cultural life is buzzing and the world’s best concerts are taking place – the distance made me yearn for change more and more.
I arrived in Latvia in September, motivated to start my career in my home country. Back then, nobody could have imagined in their wildest dreams that pandemics and Covid nightmares would shock the whole business industry after New Years. The hospitality industry was one of the first to stop.
And my career at Radisson Hotel Latvia was frozen. I took some time off and reflected on my aspirations and opportunities. Working from home, I set up my business on the internet, but it was a temporary patch in a dramatic situation in an industry I knew.
Early in 2021, I found a job vacancy for a Sales Specialist in the US region at Aerones. Customer relations and sales process management are the things that I wanted to pursue, but I was not familiar with the wind industry, or robots at all. It was like climbing the Himalayas for the first time.
In the job interview, a very experienced Aerones department manager encouraged me and I am very grateful to her that I took the plunge and jumped into the unknown! I dared to change my field completely and now I can say that I have been part of the Aerones team for almost two years. I still say out loud, very often: ‘I’m having fun’. I’m excited by the challenge and the “drive”!
Why did you choose to work for Aerones?
I was attracted to the American market because I have a special relationship with it. When I was little, my parents used to send me to summer camps for children, which were set up by Latvians abroad during the “Atmoda” years in Latvia. Later, in high school, I worked in children’s camps in the US as a teacher, teaching the language and traditions to expatriate Latvians, and later some of my family moved there. At university, I took a US business course with fascinating lecturers who had experienced unique situations in the business environment and gave invaluable advice.
At Aerones, I combine this experience in the US with my talent for sales. I can say that I know the market, I enjoy communicating with people from all over the world, and now I feel comfortable even with the technical part of the robots. I don’t get surprised by technical questions anymore.
What are your main responsibilities?
The main task is to provide jobs for the robots we manufacture. I attract new customers; I maintain relationships with existing customers and on every project I make sure that the relationship is sustainable, and that we see growth in the market. When I first came to Aerones, I’ll be honest: the US market was almost untouched, and I was focused on identifying new customers and organising demo projects. After a year and a half, I can confidently say that Aerones is already known in this market, so my work has changed, I am thinking more about increasing the volume of business and less about attracting new clients.
How is your daily routine?
I communicate with potential clients via LinkedIn; we organise online calls, and presentations and about 20% of my time is spent at exhibitions, meeting clients in person and organising demonstrations at wind farms. The US market is challenging in that there are 10-15 large companies with 60% of the market. Any failure with a customer can have long-term consequences, but if the project is successful, there is a good chance of receiving large orders in the future.
What gives you satisfaction in your work, and what motivates you to achieve results?
The greatest satisfaction is when an initially reluctant, disinterested client has placed an order and at the end of the project gives feedback that they enjoyed the collaboration and will definitely do other projects in the future. This is exactly what happened in the autumn and with persistent work, we got one of the top 10 companies in the USA to sign 4 contracts with us. Achievements like this give us the motivation to keep going.
Please share your most memorable day or event at Aerones?
I can answer right away: because of long and dedicated work, we received the largest order in Aerones’ history from the largest manufacturer in the wind industry – it was a day that will stay with me for a long time! The project involves the development of a completely new and special robot for their turbines, which is a major and unprecedented challenge for Aerones in terms of content. The order took long hours in the evenings with the management and the customer, but it has the potential to bring tens of millions of dollars in the future. Following the success of this project, they have already indicated that there are more projects in mind that might be granted to Aerones and this would be one of our success stories for a long time.
At Aerones the dynamics are very impressive. When I started, there were two robotics teams in the US, and this September there are already fifteen teams. In one year we have grown significantly in terms of numbers and added new services, we have proven that we can solve a variety of problems in the field. This motivates us to go further, as we are the No.1 company for robotics solutions in the wind industry.
Tell us about yourself, where do you come from? What do you do in your free time?
I am a native of Ventspils, born and raised near the sea, so I would often travel where there is water. After high school, I studied, did internships and started my working career abroad. I have been in Latvia for the last 3 years and Aerones is my second workplace here. My favourite activity is travelling, so I am happy to travel for work. I am inspired by new places and the opportunity to meet different people. Nature is my source of energy, so in the summer I travel to the sea and the sun, and in the winter it’s the mountains that tempt me.
When I lived in Latvia, I did equestrian sports and fell in love with horses. Even when I lived abroad, I had one horse in Latvia, which in a way kept me coming back. Now I have two horses and I often enjoy forest walks with them. Even on the worst days, being with horses in nature is a guaranteed way to feel good. I don’t know what is so magical about the process, but it is my unique way of restarting quickly.
I have a big list of books to read and movies I want to watch, but for the time being, I only have time for that on flights, because with the time zone differences with the US, I often spend evenings communicating with clients.
What do you dream about?
I’ve been to many places, but there are definitely places that entice me. One of them is our new market – Australia. Although I have a phobia of reptiles and snakes, I really hope I don’t see them there. There are also various mountains for skiing and snowboarding. In the mountains, I realise how small we are in the face of nature’s omnipotence. In winter, I get a thrill from snow and speed.
But my biggest dream and goal is to return to competitive equestrian sport – showjumping – where the adrenaline is running high!
Biggest life achievement?
Few people can get up in the morning and go to a job they really like. I’ve been there when the alarm goes off and I want to scream.
I am now fortunate to have a job that I love and enjoy, a helpful and close-knit team with a great sense of humour. Positive interactions with colleagues and a stimulating working environment are very important to me, as I am a passionate, ambitious careerist by nature, but deep down, a romantic, of course!
But I came back to my homeland with no idea of what I was going to do here. I am lucky because our CEO Dainis, the man I have worked side by side with, in both successes and problems, is also my mentor in many areas, giving me valuable advice. I really see a lot of potential in Aerones! The road here did not stop at one door, but beyond it, I see another and another.
Your future outlook for the whole Aerones company?
Aerones’ success is attributed to its talented and motivated employees who work together and take responsibility for the company’s growth!
I would like to end this interview with a saying by Winston Churchill that is very true for Aerones:
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
I wish us all success and a prosperous new year!