I'm an architect for my clients"

An interview with Ali Usta - Project Manager for Event and Sports Hospitality

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After Ali Usta completed the entrance qualification to technical college, he started working for Losberger De Boer on 01.09.1989 as an apprentice industrial clerk. After successfully completing his studies, he stayed with the company and switched to the sales department. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Losberger De Boer, we talked to Mr Usta who told why, even after 30 years, he enjoys his daily work and what motivates him in his role to perform at his best.

 

Editorial office

The development and deployment of temporary space solutions is a rather specific line of work. How did you end up at Losberger De Boer?

 

Ali Usta

To be honest, I've always had an incredible interest in architecture, and I've always been really enthusiastic about the subject. However, I could not have imagined studying it at that time. I was and still am more of a pragmatist than a theorist. When I heard about the possibility of training in temporary architecture from a friend I was immediately hooked. And so I started my professional life back then, together with Marion Guter, who still works for Losberger De Boer today.

 

Editorial office

30 Years is a long time to work at one company. What is the main reason you still work at Losberger De Boer, what motivates you?

 

Ali Usta

I'm a team player. Football, table tennis and badminton: I love to get something going together as a team. When you arrive at work every morning you don't always know what to expect that day, but you know that you can help people to achieve and often exceed their goals with an individual solution. For my clients I am, so to speak, the architect who works with his team to find a solution for even the most difficult challenges. I just love to work with and for people. It's this spirit that drives me.

 

Editorial office

The company has 1.100 employees and 21 locations all over the world. How does that affect your day-to-day work?

 

Ali Usta

Well, I grew up with a partly Turkish and partly German mentality, having two cultures in me so to speak. This has shaped me and still continues to shape me. For me, international projects in particular have a very special charm - especially today, in a global world.

 

Editorial office

Having been at the company for 30 years, you must have some exciting stories for us.

 

Ali Usta

Well, actually, I've been on the job for 25 years. I took a five-year break in 1995, I just wanted to try myself in another area.

 

Editorial office

Why did you leave then and what made you return?

 

Ali Usta

Back then I was in my mid-20s, I wanted to see the world and get to know other cultures. Through a friend I had the opportunity to enter the tourism industry to plan and implement both individual and package tours as an international tour guide. That was an incredibly important step for me, which personally enriched me and also helped me professionally.

 

Then in 2000, my telephone suddenly rang and Losberger De Boer was looking for people who wanted to help promote the internationalisation of the company. I still had many friends here and to a certain extent, Losberger De Boer was also my professional nursery. So I returned home to my nest, one of the best decisions of my life. And so I will celebrate my professional silver wedding anniversary with my employer on 01.07.2019.

 

Editorial office

What are your personal highlights?

 

Ali Usta

Oh, I could write a whole book about them. But I'll narrow it down to two projects. At the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, while we were taking seven truckloads of material to Russia for the Austrian House, truck no. 2 suddenly disappeared. The truck reappeared during the course of the project, which I would like to mention at this point, and of course we completed the project as planned. But there you are in a completely different world, far away from home and responsible for an international project of such quality. I can tell you that even as an experienced employee, you can get into a sweat at temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees when an entire truck disappears.

 

Another event occurred some time ago. It was in 2002 when we first implemented a project for a well-known sporting goods manufacturer. A temporary space solution with corresponding space capacities for the annual General Marketing Meeting (GMM) was to be created at the company‘s location. Unfortunately, the parking space for the mobile hall construction had very unfavourable ground conditions. Before we knew it, our team had an area of 1,000 m² asphalted to ensure that we could set up the hall construction exactly at the planned location. "That's what I call solution-oriented thinking and acting", I said to my client and asked him what he wanted to do with the asphalted surface after the event? "I'll set up parking meters after that. This is how we’ll respond to the shortage of parking spaces in the city," he replied and we both had to laugh. It was at this moment that a friendship began that has grown over the years and continues to this day.

 

Editorial office

In 2017, Losberger and De Boer merged. What has changed for you and your customers, both for you personally and for your customers?

 

Ali Usta

For me personally, the merger was fate. We have always treated each other with mutual respect in the market, even in joint projects such as the Farnborough Air Show or the Olympic Games in London. This may also be due to the fact that the two former competitor companies established in the same period, underwent a similar development and held the same values in many areas. As a passionate salesman, however, I am much more interested in what has changed for my customers. And now they have a greater variety of products and even more know-how available for the successful implementation of their projects.

 

Editorial office

Have you had to accept drawbacks in your career so far that have turned out to be lessons for you personally?

 

Ali Usta

No, there haven’t been any personal drawbacks so far. But the global economic crisis in 2009 was certainly a drawback for the entire industry. Friedrich Losberger impressed me very much. He stood in front of his staff and said, "There won't be any layoffs here." In this gesture of unity, he set a mark of respect and for a team player like myself, it not only touched me then but has had a lasting impact.  

 

Editorial office

A position in sales is often dynamic and can sometimes be demanding. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

 

Ali Usta

There are a lot of things I can balance out. I do a lot of sports, for example I go jogging regularly and train in the gym. I also do yoga. During lunch breaks, I'm offline, even on my cell phone. I like to go outside, even if it is only for 10 minutes between two appointments. I meet with friends and love long conversations with good food. I love to read and go to concerts.

 

Editorial office

In three decades, there will certainly be many personal stories to tell. What comes to mind spontaneously?

 

Ali Usta

A story that continues to make people smile to this day happened at a rest stop. At the time, we went skiing with a group of friends of Friedrich Losberger and some colleagues. When we took a short break at a motorway service area, I used the time to make some phone calls. There were no cell phones at the time so I went into a phone booth, if anyone remembers these? While I was on the phone, the bus with the whole staff drove past me and onto the motorway again. I waved my arms wildly to draw attention to myself. A lady on the bus saw this and waved back to me in a friendly way. The bus left - without me. Only after a while, one of my colleagues asked: "Where is Ali?" The bus turned round and picked me up after an hour of despair. But to this day, every bus ride is like, "Where's Ali?"