Matthias Kasprowicz is the regional managing director of TROX Middle East since December 2013 and MD for East Africa since 2015, looking after 16 countries across the region, based in Dubai.
Starting off his career with Daimler Chrysler / Mercedes Benz in Germany, Matthias went on to work for Siemens Ltd in Saudi Arabia as department manager in the building technology field and more recently with Siemens Middle East as regional Manager for Corporate Strategy and Business Development based in Dubai.
Matthias has close to 20 years of commercial experience gained in Germany and across Middle East markets. He has an extensive background in numerous types of technologies including building technologies, security, automation & drives and automotive technologies and is based in the Middle East since more than 10 years. Having been active within the Middle East since the middle 70’s, TROX is the oldest of its kind in the region.
Some of TROX’s most prestigious projects include, supplying to the Burj Al Arab Hotel, the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, several major projects at Dubai Airport, the Mall of the Emirates, the Dubai mall, the ADIA HQ Abu Dhabi, the Conference Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi and the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi to name but just a few.
TROX leads in the development, manufacture and sale of components, devices and systems for the ventilation and air conditioning of rooms. With subsidiary companies in 28 countries in all five continents, 14 production facilities, and importers and representatives, TROX is present in over 70 countries. Founded in 1951, and with a staff of 3,700 employees, TROX generated sales around the globe of more than €500 million in 2014.
LEADERS Middle East talks to Mr. Matthias Kasprowicz on the future ahead for TROX in the region.
TROX stands for ‘the art of handling air’. What does this mean exactly in concrete terms?
Clean air is one of the most valuable goods in our lives. Whether outside in the open air or in an enclosed space, we only feel truly well in the fresh air. Air, the elixir of life, lets us breathe freely. It is invigorating, inspiring, and gives us the energy to live and work.
TROX is one of the oldest companies in its field and was from the very beginning only targeting to deliver the best quality products to its customers – the people. This aspiration has driven then company’s attitude and resulted in understanding air, in all its aspects of life, as its best.
The history of the company began with an innovation: the specialization in components for ventilation technology. In the air conditioning industry, which was still quite young in 1951, this was a revolutionary decision. Trailblazing inventions have ever since marked the rise of the company to a leading position in marketing and technology. Innovations themselves are tradition with TROX. The company holds over 240 patents and registered designs in ventilation and air conditioning technology.
TROX became truly an industrial trend setter and formed many standards of Indoor Air quality and thermal comfort and is recognized as a leader in its field. The company’s intellectual property became so sophisticated that it can be considered as the art how to understand and deal with all aspects of air in the right and best manner – “The art of handling air”.
In the UAE, due to the hot climate people spend most of their time indoors. How crucial is it to have the right room air conditioning system?
The right room air conditioning system is one in which a person breathes clean and healthy air that does not halter his productivity and comfort in anyway. Whether its work, living, shopping, wellness, sports, or entertainment, people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, breathing 20,000 litres of air every day.
But what does a good system mean? It is not only about setting the right temperature. Indoor Air Quality and thermal comfort must consider various aspects in the occupied zone - aspects like temperature, noise level, velocity and draft, cleanness of air, smell etc. Perfect air conditioning systems are those which you even don’t recognize but feel consistently comfortable and healthy in.
Please allow me to give you an example: Human beings are one of the biggest sources of humidity indoors. We lose half a litre of water into the environment each day through our skin alone. Too much humidity makes us feel unwell and minimizes our ability to work.
At room temperatures of 20 – 24°C, the body radiates about 20 – 35% of its excess heat by evaporating sweat on the skin’s surface. As the temperature rises, our sweat production increases as well, and our cardiac and circulatory problems worsen. At relative humidity levels of 60 – 70 % and temperatures above 25°C, we feel that the air is sticky and oppressive, and our ability to work well falls to a minimum. In a poorly ventilated room, the air is quickly used up. The concentration of carbon dioxide mounts rapidly. The results are fatigue and decreased performance.
With its systems and components, TROX can ensure a comfortable and clean indoor climate at all times, which allows us to think, operate, and live in perfect clarity. It also customizes indoor solutions that are designed to be as unique as life itself. Another very important aspect, it is also not only about being comfortable. About one third of all sick days are taken due to illnesses affecting the respiratory passages. Good indoor air quality, ensuring optimum good health, not only keeps employees fit but pays off for employers, too.
Comfort and good air quality keeps us healthy, we know the scenario very well in this region of people getting sick due to poor air conditioning practices.
The average a person works in a year is approximately 250 days and taking 3 days off due to bad air conditioning equals 1.2% of the total days taken off. The GDP of the UAE is approximately AED 420Billion and this accounts for a loss of AED 5.2 Billion yearly plus cost of healthcare and getting people well again. A great impact if we can reduce those sick days with just implementing a high quality air conditioning system.
TROX is a global leader in manufacturing ventilation and air conditioning systems. How does the company ensure that its consumers live and work in clean, fresh and comfortably conditioned air?
The late Mr. Heinz TROX always said that “The human being is the yardstick and his well-being is our goal” Since the company was founded in 1951, this has been the motto for company decisions. Before he passed away last month, he was deeply involved with every aspect of the company ensuring that anything and everything related to TROX was of the highest quality standards, from the food in the canteen to the material used in the manufacturing of our products. We ensure and carry on his legacy by not accepting anything other than the highest of quality. If you have ambitious aims, you need to work with the best.
We have 10 R&D centers around the globe, 10 test and demo laboratories that are continuously in the process of refining, innovating and developing better products. There are also 28 test laboratories equipped with the latest computerized sensing equipment which measures air velocities temperatures humidity and sound levels down to the smallest deviations.
To develop and test new concepts TROX employ over 70 people purely in the R&D area with over a 100 design engineers. We also participate and partner up with universities to develop and research new concepts. Our highly skilled and knowledgeable team of experts locally are involved on projects from the design phase and they work closely with architects and engineers so that we can ensure that quality products are used.
This and the drive to ensure that our products are used to the optimum level of their capability is how we make sure that our consumers live and work in the healthiest and most comfortable environment possible.
TROX Middle East won the prestigious Climate Control Award 2015, How has TROX grown in the region since its first appearance 40 years ago?
TROX Middle East is on a very exciting journey and I must say we are on a great way. Being involved in the most prestigious projects in the region we are continuously growing and expanding. Regional expansion and portfolio expansion. TROX will continue to grow, primarily through organic growth, but also through the acquisition of other companies. The company›s goal is to expand its international market position in a sustainable manner. With an equity ratio of approximately 50 per cent, the company possesses equity resources that are far above the average and is built on a very solid financial structure.
In terms of portfolio, last year we introduced a ‹one-stop shop› strategy: TROX offers now all types of ventilation, fire safety and air-conditioning technology from a single source: components, devices and system technology, which are perfectly matched.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid set Air quality into his plan for 2021 as one of his key performance indicators. This is fantastic news for all of us. Clean air is a priceless legacy that must be maintained for future generations. TROX supports the UAE Indoor Air Quality network with its knowledge and all capacities we have and thus, we created a regional initiative called ‘Xsmart Air’. TROX achieves the optimum indoor air quality with a system of technology that, through exceptionally low emissions and high-energy savings, already represents awareness of environmental responsibility for a future life worth living. Clean air is a responsibility of all of us. Our challenge now is to raise the awareness what air quality means and make people demand this quality and let them not be satisfied with the status quo. Working in a great team that challenges the boundaries every day is phenomenal. The passion for top performance is our driving force.
Mr. Kasprowicz as the managing director of TROX Middle East, what is your biggest challenge?
This market is price driven and often-high quality products are used only in places, which can be seen or felt. But behind the scene a lot of cost saving is done. This is often prioritized even though the quality of the overall structure suffers because of it.
HVAC is a holistic system and if one of the components used does not match the quality standards of the total package it crumbles upon itself. This starts from the engineering design phase where the design sets the standard of the later outcome.
Comfort needs to be created and if the quality standards are not of the highest quality the level of comfort will not be reached. It is really sad to see 5 star establishments that do not have the air quality that is 5 star. What is needed is quality awareness, appreciation and making investors and owners, developers, architects, consultants and contractors, become self-conscious about comfort quality is our biggest challenge. We must stop ‘value-engineering’ which means in this region often nothing else than replacing high quality engineering with cheap materials.
What is the company’s vision for the UAE’s growing economy?
Where do you see the future for TROX in the Middle East? The vision of TROX Middle East is set, to be the One and Only choice when somebody needs superior quality and when they want nothing but the best. We have to translate this into the region by being the pacemaker in helping to raise the indoor air quality standards. For people to want the best they need to know what is the best. You cannot want people to aspire to buy a Rolls Royce if they do not even know that such quality exists. But once they know about quality, no one shall be satisfied with low standards.
How we plan to achieve this is through our Xsmart Air Initiative that is targeting the key players in the local market to help us raise the indoor air quality requirements, to ensure that we receive the best comfort and air quality possible