We continue the series of publications about people working at the project designing organization SkyWay Technologies Co. Last time, we introduced to you the IT-support Department. Today we will tell about those who are engaged in one of the most important areas, pre-project study.
We present to you Kiryl Badulin, Head of the Business Projects Division until recently, and now - the Head of the Business Development Department.
- Good afternoon, Kiryl! You are heading the Business Projects Division, please explain the meaning of its name and tell what your division is doing?
- Good day! First, we had structural changes, and from October 1, a new Business Development Department was created, in which I was appointed as the Director. This means that the Business Projects Division now has another Chief - Svetlana Voloshina.
In the new Department, in addition to the Business Projects Division, there will be two more directions - a group of strategic development and a group of promising trends.
The strategic development team will be engaged in developing the Company’s strategy. The second group will become a kind of business incubator, where additional areas of SkyWay technology will be worked out: unimobile, intelligent fencing, linear cities, eco-houses, humus and others.
The name “business projects” came from the SkyWay community. Our negotiating partners do not always understand it correctly, but business projects are projects of SkyWay transport and infrastructure complexes in various regions of the world.
- Right, and now, please, more details about what they particularly do in the Business Projects Division?
- The division is primarily engaged with the preliminary assessment of potential projects. That is, we are on the “leading edge” of interaction with potential customers. A letter arrives, an incoming application, with a proposal or inquiry - this letter goes to be processed to our division, where we conduct a preliminary assessment of the project cost.
What is a preliminary assessment? Depending on the passenger traffic, geolocation, type of route, income level of the country, cost of alternative investments and many other parameters, we choose a suitable track structure, rolling stock and do a preliminary calculation.
So, for example, there was a request from one of the CIS countries to build a 300 km long cargo line. In the course of the work it turned out that the cargo traffic in this region is very small. Yes, it was possible to count on the passengers from villages, and think in the direction of a cargo-and-passenger solution. But today the delivery of goods that are needed by the customer costs him $ 20 million. According to preliminary calculations our route will cost $ 1.5 billion. Not cost-efficient, neither for the customer nor for us. And if we find the offer to be profitable, then we let it proceed into further work, after prior agreement with the customer.
That is, we carry out the very first stages of work on projects. Next up will be the project designing Administration, chief designers, rolling stock Administration, etc. It is important to note that not all projects reach these stages. And when they do, then a more detailed study by other units begins on the basis of our initial data.
- If you simplify it greatly, are you doing commercial offers?
- Partially, but a little differently, since commercial proposals are usually typical. And we are doing not only this, it is just one of the functions of the department.
The second function is that we give the customer an understanding of how much it will cost. As we have a specific product, we sell not trains, not tracks, but transport systems and complex transport services.
As in any system, ours also has components: transport overpasses, along which vehicles will run, rolling stock, i.e. the vehicles themselves and infrastructure - stations, power plants, turnouts. Also, the cost of the project depends on the number of stations. For example, a city needs a stop every kilometer or 500 meters, and in this case, the share of the cost of stations in the cost of the project will be higher. If stations are rarely planned, the cost of stations in the cost of the project will be negligible.
Such a pre-project study is the main task of the Business Projects Division.
- How many people are working in the Business Projects Division?
- Today, the division employs 8 people, together with the new leader Svetlana Voloshina.
- What else do employees do every day?
Preparation of various presentations, on current projects and other areas of SkyWay technology. Sometimes for customers, sometimes for our internal services. We work closely with the Information and Press Department and with the Administration of Design and Architecture. In order to make presentations at the highest quality level.
We also deliver reports, presentations and work at exhibitions. For example, in September 2018, we actively worked at the exhibition InnoTrans 2018 in Berlin. After the exhibition, I gave a presentation “Comparing SkyWay with other modes of transport” at the SkyWay Capital conference in Berlin. Right before the flight back to Minsk.
- What specialists work in the Business Projects Division?
- Most of them are analysts. Since the proposals and applications are mostly in English, we have our own translator for proposals, presentations, contracts and other technical documents. And a designer who makes the documents of our Division presentable.
- Tell us about the atmosphere in the team. How long have employees worked?
- The atmosphere is wonderful with us! Throughout my work, since 2015, there have been different situations with personnel, but now we can say that the “backbone” of strong specialists has been formed. In September-October, we accepted two more new analysts. The girls immediately became actively involved in the work, which makes me happy.
- So, you have practically a female team?
- It turns out so. Except the translator and me. SkyWay General designer and Chairman of the Board Anatoly Yunitskiy asks us periodically the same question. Men also came to the interviews, but from the professional point of view they turned out to be weaker than the girls we accepted. I would love to “dilute” the team, but from the candidates that we had, we have selected the best ones.
- Maybe you know about the hobbies of your employees?
- I know that one of the employees is keen in mountaineering and other tourist activities. Almost everyone loves to travel, which is logical, as it is associated with our work.
- Аnd what about you?
- It will be written about me in the book by the Belarusian writer Anatoly Borovsky “Sky Ways”. He writes the history of SkyWay from a clear, simple-minded point of view.
I will open the “curtain” a little. It occurred so that I was born on World Tourism Day, on September 27, and it left an imprint on my entire life. For example, this year I had an interesting and intense vacation: in two weeks I visited Greece, Malta, Spain and Portugal.
In general, if we talk about Europe, sometimes it becomes difficult to choose countries and places where I have not been yet. In addition, it gives a huge amount of information for work – I see what transport problems exist and how they are solved.
- Do you travel often on business trips?
- I think yes, compared with others. Now I have 1-2 business trips per month in average.
- One can say that you have traveled around half of the world. Do you mark it on the map?
- In one hotel in Spain I saw a map of the world on the wall, and there were marked points in Norilsk, in Moscow, in Kiev, but Belarus was empty. I took a small flag from Europe and moved it to Minsk. Why not? Let them know our city! And as for a map, yes, I have one, the staff members presented, but so far, there was no time to fill it up because of business trips and work [laughs].
I will tell you about the experience of my work and study, and you will understand everything about traveling.
I worked 9 years in the banking system. I have passed from a leading specialist to the chief adviser, including that in the system of the National Bank. Then I worked in the company Atlant-M, when it was at the stage of active development. It was very exciting and interesting. And in 2008 I went to work at the “oil industry”. I have been working in a company that has been exporting petroleum products for about 3 years, I have developed in it a risk hedging system with the help of “swaps” and “futures”. No one did it in Belarus, and this innovation has brought a good profit to the company. After that, I worked in the position of the deputy director for the development at the company A-100 AZS, and the number of gas stations in the network increased by 50% over a period of 1.5 years. Not all thanks to me, but including me, too.
In addition to our Belarusian education, I had two trips abroad to study. The first one was to the Applied Economic Policy Course, a concise Master of Public Administration course at the Joint Vienna Institute, where they have compressed a one-year program to a three-month course. It was not only an excellent training program, but also an opportunity to travel around Europe. After all, a train could get from Vienna to Paris or Rome for a night, and it was wonderful!
And for the second time I studied under the program of the US State Department at the University of Alabama. During 4 months, it was a research program on financial markets.
- Great! How did you get to SkyWay?
- I came here by an ad, I haven’t heard about the Company before. It was in the middle of 2015. I have passed through all the stages of interviews and started to work already in two weeks.
- What did you like in the Company?
A really cool idea to change the world. The decision to apply my knowledge and experience for the benefit of such a wonderful project came to me immediately. The Company had about a hundred people in 2015, and today, if you count all the departments, there will be more than 700 people.
So that our designers are not distracted by communication with external customers, there is a Division for business projects. For example, when you need to develop a new type of vehicle. If a new inquiry comes from the market for a transport version undeveloped by us, then we go with it to designers. Say, it is necessary to make the transport system less-costly or to accommodate more passengers. Thus, a new rolling stock could be developed. By the way, that was how there appeared a product, which did not exist before, in the cargo direction.
Initially, Anatoly Yunitskiy had an idea of two types of cargo systems: first, a mounted one, a belt-rail continuous conveyor, unitrans, and the second, a suspended one, unitruck. Now they are both implemented at EcoTechnoPark.
There came inquiries from the Asian market for transportation of sea containers. The inquiry came once, we tried to offer a solution from the available ones, then ― a second time. But after we began to interact more with seaports, such inquiries began to appear more and more often. So, a new vehicle under the new name unicont came for development. It is at the designing stage now.
Also, an employee of our Department has coined the name unibike. Previously, this vehicle was called a velounibus, but our translator considered it inappropriate and suggested a new name. When it was displayed for the first time at the exhibition in Berlin in 2016 with cycling pedals, we explained visitors how it is great, eco-friendly and sporty.
We have a lot of different ideas in development. For example, the idea of the “last mile”. This is when you need to get to a hotel from the end station, and it is +30 and 100% humidity on the street. Most people prefer to drive these 10 minutes by taxi. Here is a station, a taxi pulls up to it, it doesn’t even need to be called, it runs back and forth on an ongoing basis. Yes, it seems similar to our route taxi (shuttle share taxi). The idea is to implement our transport system as such a transfer between certain points. Driving from metro to the factory, institute, museum or a large store. In this case, SkyWay can offer a multimodal solution, that is, to unite with other transport systems already created in one place or another.
In general, SkyWay strives to look at the tasks comprehensively and not to remain within the framework of what was invented once. We are developing, studying various cultures to offer the right thing at the market. And for me personally, this work is to my liking!
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