20 ožujka 2019, Srijeda 9:13

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INTERVJU : MARK PIPUNIC

Gospodin Mark Pipunic iz Melbourna u Australiji je uspješan manager u automobilskoj kompaniji Metalsa Australia. On je Australac hrvatskog podrijetla koji je uzor kako Hrvati po cijelom svijetu uspijevaju zbog svog rada i talenta doći do najviših pozicija u najvećim tvrtkama svijeta. U nastavku donosimo vam Intervju s gospodinom Mark Pipunicem u orginalnom obliku na engleskom jeziku.

Mr. Mark Pipunic from Melbourne, Australia, is a successful manager in the automotive company of Metalsa Australia. He is an Australian of Croatian origin who is a role model for Croatians all over the world how to succeed with hard work and talent to reach the highest positions in the largest companies in the world. Below we bring you an Interview with Mr. Mark Pipunic in the original form in English language.

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Mr.Pipunic, at the beginning of the Interview, would you please present yourself, and your life and career path?

Thanks Luka, I was born in Melbourne, Australia to parents who had migrated to Australia from both Greece and Croatia after World War 2. My father’s family in Croatia had been murdered by the fascist communist regime at the time and left him orphaned at the age of 7 and my mother was seeking a better life from post war Europe in Australia. I went to school in Melbourne; I played soccer for a local team of Australian born Croatian background youth (Hajduk) and left school to learn a trade as a motor mechanic. Following that I had various positions ranging from Security to running my own business in the rapidly emerging mobile phone technology boom. Changes in technology found me going back to being employed by a company where I started in the sales and customer service area in manufacturing and progressed to being a Senior Commercial Manager for Metalsa in Australia.

You are a Manager in a well-known automotive company Metalsa Australia, a subsidiary of the well-known automotive company Metalsa from Mexico. Please tell us something about your company and the automotive industry in Australia?

Metalsa acquired the business in Australia from Dana Automotive in 2010 and at the time the business was struggling to make a return. However Metalsa soon changed the status quo by introducing its cultural and operational systems/methods into the Australian Plants with outstanding success allowing the business to grow and flourish. The Auto industry was comprised of three major players being Ford, Holden (GM) and Toyota with Toyota comprising 80% of our business. We became a top performing tier 1 supplier in the Metal pressing and robotic welding/assembly space.

By 2014 we were the supplier of choice and were receiving enquiries from all over the globe for our expertise in manufacturing. Sadly, Ford Australia announced it would cease its operations in Australia and at around the same time, the Government at the time withdrew support to the Automotive industry which eventually led to its total collapse by the end of 2017 with all Automotive manufacturers then announcing their departure from Australia leading to corresponding suppliers also having to close their businesses. Sadly my last function for Metalsa went from quoting and generating business to selling off all of the assets and land and the closure of the business.

I must say though, the Metalsa family company is probably one of the best examples of a people who genuinely share a love for their homeland and can function in other countries and replicate their desire for respect and humility to all people in all countries and from all cultures. I expect them to grow even further and I have learned so much from them, that I am eternally grateful.

What is life in Australia like, what is the economic situation in Australia like, in which economic sectors does Australia build its economy?

Australia has a relatively high standard of living where people tend to work hard but also they like to enjoy their leisure time and activities outside of work. Employment opportunities are available in most industries and areas with a focus on skills & education. Australia has a diverse economic footprint that is heavily weighted towards the services industries, then agriculture/primary production and mining. China is our largest trading partner with nearly a quarter of our trade going to China and close to 50% in the Asian region in general. We do have a vibrant manufacturing sector and our education services are some of our largest growth areas.

In your opinion, what can Croatia learn from Australia, especially in the economy?

Geographically, being a continent surrounded by oceans, Australia is isolated from many mainland continents with no land connections. The economic landscape as of late has been to pursue free and open (as possible) trading agreements with many progressive countries and focusing on our neighbours in the region to stimulate trade and investments.

In my opinion, given Croatias proximity to her neighbours and good infrastructures such as roads, sea ports and airports, there should be nothing stopping Croatia from becoming a key player in Europe and indeed the global market place.

Also, given that Croatia has progressed into the EU and is on the required path to the Schengen area, there should be maximum effort focussed on building strong relations that lead to trade and investment with Croatia.

Australia has done very well in attracting new and emerging /start up businesses by become the 14th easiest place in the world to set up and start a business. Croatia was ranked 51. Interestingly, Macedonia did better than both coming in at number 11th best place in the world.

New Zealand was the winner and came in first place with nearly the same population of Croatia! Proving it can be done.

Personally, I would like to see this number to be a measure of policy in the political parties in Croatia that people could vote for.

In my opinion Croatia should focus on a number of industries and services that she can earn export currency from and focus on being the best in the world at them. Croatia should also engage vigorously well beyond the “traditional” trading partners to open up opportunities for further growth that leads to – further investment and of course – employment

What Croatia personally means to you? Do you follow the political and economic situation in Croatia, do you follow Croatian athletes?

I have an inseparable connection to Croatia by birth and I feel at home in the climate and of course with the cuisine! Whilst I do have some relatives left who still live there I haven’t visited for a long time. I dream of one day maybe being able to relocate and settle with my family but it may be a dream too far.

Although I dislike politics and politicians, I follow the political and economic situation almost daily with a sense of anxiety. I think the people of Croatia have for too long played into the fools game of succumbing to division on differences and ideologies which is in my opinion, always a manifestation of external forces and influences. The numbers of political parties currently active are a sign that democracy is taking shape in Croatia, however it could also be viewed as a worrying sign of further division. Every Croat should be focussed on advancing Croatia protecting her interests.

I strongly believe that Croatia requires strong and decisive leadership that can articulate and deliver a future vision for the country and its people and shake off the stigma of former communist corruption. I can’t see this happening for quite some time.

The challenges Croatia has faced since the 7th century should be a lesson to all about the dangers of division, but for some reason we often appear to be repeating our painful history.

There should be no mistaking that the forces that in the past have hurt Croatias future are still present and some are now well organised and funded. For this reason alone Croats everywhere should focus more on unity and strength for a common goal and the advancement of the nation instead of selfish interests.

We have seen throughout the history of the world that whilst you can conquer lands and countries for some time, no one has ever been successful in conquering or stopping the will of a people and I think that this is the very essence of what it means to have Croatian blood in your veins and it should be what unites every Croat.

Our recent success in soccer I believe gave most Croats a taste of what unity feels like.

It is estimated that more than 125,000 Croats live in Australia. Tell us something about Croatian communities in Australia and what needs to be done to connect the Croatian communities in Australia and the homeland of Croatia even more?

Australia has a large and vibrant Croatian community in every major state. Most communities and groups were founded by Croatian émigrés who came to Australia to leave the communist oppression and have brought with them the true spirit and cultural identity of Croatia. We have a very strong presence in the soccer community with many of the Croatian background players representing Australia at both the national and international level. These players are the children of these émigrés who set up communities and soccer clubs mostly from donations from fellow Croats and built sporting clubs and community centres that rivalled all other migrant communities in Australia. These people also played a large part in the struggle against the repressive communist regime and helped raise awareness internationally of the plight of the Croatian people, ultimately leading to generating awareness and international support for the battle against Serbian aggression in the 1990’s.

I believe if we could share the knowledge and wealth of the Diaspora communities and sporting clubs with the homeland Croatian people it would be the start of the equation on building connections to advance, improve and better the nation.

The standard of living in Australia is higher than in Croatia and many of the Croats who have settled here have established families and indeed now have grandchildren here. Being accustomed to the way of life in Australia, it would be a massive challenge to raise standards in Croatia to come close to living standards and wages in Australia. For the younger generations though, who are a lot more mobile and flexible, I think Croatia would need to create the environment of innovation, employment opportunity and support for business who can tap in to the huge available talent in the Croatian Diaspora, again for the betterment of the country, not any ideological party or system.

Giving inducements and support for the coming generations to return to their historical homeland and help grow the future vision of the country should be made a priority by all of the 123 registered political parties!

In your opinion, what are the chances of a greater return of Croatian emigrants from Australia to Croatia, what needs to be done to make it happen?

In my opinion, the current bureaucracy is the biggest barrier to an easy return for former emigrants or their children to return to their homeland. Time and time again we hear of experiences for simple processes taking months or years to have processed through the Croatian system/s and how in some areas, bribe money manages to make some officials finally take action.

The Diaspora have a perception that the old communist regime/s maintain the majority of public offices and make it nearly impossible to make any progress without bribery or other left over corrupt practices. There appears to be no accountability or measurement standards for processes involving approvals from public offices.

Interestingly, the international community also rates Croatia poorly for corruption which points to a major issue that needs to be addressed.

You can draw a parallel with this issue and the rating of 51 in the world in ease of doing business.

When this image/perception of dealing with public offices is changed to reflect modern standards in a modern digital age, along with real change, that is visible by both the Diaspora and the international community in general, the chance of people returning are improved, however, if left in the current state, the chances of people returning are extremely low and in fact, will further drain the nation of the talent is has left as they seek opportunity and employment in other countries like Germany, France etc.. and keep emigrating.

Mr.Pipunic, we would like to thank you for the Interview and finally ask you what are your next goals in the future?

Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you and your readers and I hope our generation can lay the foundation stones for a bigger and better Croatia and leave a positive mark on our history for future generations to come.

I hope to be able to retire at an age where I’m still able to be active and travel as well as pursue my hobbies and I dream of the day that I can still feel the Bura blowing on my face one day and then giving way to beautiful sunshine and clear waters of our Adriatic the next.

Thank you.

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Izvor : Voice From Croatia
Datum objave : 07.03.2019.