Daniel Panadero: “At GH, the doors to professional advancement are always open”

Daniel Panadero started as a welder in Beasain and is now the Chief Sales Officer in Poland. Along the way, he helped open plants in Brazil and the US. He is a clear example of GH promoting internal talent. We’re interviewing him on our blog so he can tell us more about his journey and vision for GH.

Tell us how you came to GH.
I finished my Professional Training studies in Goierri and started working as a welder; first at CAF, then at Guria. Some time after, a friend told me that GH was hiring, so I signed up for the selection process. I remember Asier Etxeberria had me do a welding test. Then they called me back, and the rest is history. I’ve been with GH now for 17 years.

After so many years, do you remember your first few days at GH? 
I have wonderful memories of how I started. The entire team welcomed me in and showed me how everything worked. One of the things that is really striking when you start working at GH is the family atmosphere at the company. Senior management is always there if you need to talk, and the doors to professional advancement are always open.

Your case is a clear example. How many roles have you had since you started working at GH?
I’ve worn many hats: welder, production manager, product director, sales… I started in the Beasain plant, but then had the opportunity to develop professionally abroad in countries such as Brazil and the United States. There, I helped open those respective plants with truly great results. Now I’m in Poland working as the Chief Sales Officer. I’m a very grateful person, and each time GH passed an opportunity my way, I accepted.

“Each time GH passed an opportunity my way, I accepted”

Out of all your work experience at GH, what was the greatest challenge you’ve faced? Possibly coming to work in Poland. It’s a different country, with a different culture, and a very different language, so until you’re able to start stumbling through the language, you have to have a lot of patience, know how to listen, and pay attention to what’s being said.

How long did it take you to start getting a grasp of the language?
About a year and a half. I signed up for a gym and tried to connect with lots of people. I read in Polish a great deal as well, and the translator helped me understand it. Thanks to all of that, after a year and a half I started to understand and speak the language somewhat. Now I don’t have any issue selling in Polish.

What do your clients in Poland value the most?
Well, the same as everywhere else: sincerity. If there is a problem, or if the delivery will be delayed, the client needs to know that information as soon as possible. If you don’t do that for any reason, and then there are issues, you’ve lost a client.

“Sincerity is what clients everywhere value the most”

Which of your clients in Poland are of particular note?
After ten years, we continue to have better and more loyal clients. We increase sales each year, which is great news. For me, Stalma is a great client. We have developed major projects for them, and have two more pending projects for next year. I have a great relationship with them personally.

Do you intend to continue living in Poland? Do you enjoy your life there?
I came for six months and have been here now for ten years, so I think that says it all. It’s a country with lots of forested lands and nature, and I really like that. Also, I was offered the Southern Poland Chief of Sales Group position for next year. That’s a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow, and I’m very excited to do so.

“Working in such different positions has helped me have a wider point of view over all the work that GH does”

First of all, congratulations. And lastly, what have you learned after having held so many different job positions in so many countries?
I have a lot of energy, and I used to get angry easily. However, discovering different cultures has taught me to be patient, learn to listen, and be a better person. For its part, working in such different positions has helped me have a wider point of view over all the work that GH does. For example, when you’re in the workshop, you don’t tend to appreciate the work done in the office. But I know the importance and value of this and many other job positions.