Today we’re interviewing our colleague Francisco Cortés, who started working 40 years ago at the warehouse of ASTRAL Sociedad Anónima de Construcciones Metálicas, now known as Fluidra Comercial España. Having worked in a number of different departments, over the past few years he has been the head of the technical assistance service. Just a few months away from retirement, we chatted to him to find out about his experiences and future plans.
Good morning Francisco. Your workmates have highlighted your dedication, professionalism and companionship. What direction has your career path taken?
Thank you for saying so! I started in the warehouse assembling parts and preparing orders. Over the years, I have worked in almost every department – warehouse stock taking, purchases, assembly and sales; in fact, every department except the accounts department. As time went by, I occupied posts with more responsibility, such as the management of the sales and logistics teams. Latterly, I have been responsible for managing the technical assistance and after-sales departments.
I have worked in various companies in the group (Astral, Plasteral, Maprival, Eumawel, AstralPool and Fluidra España). I guess I can’t have fared too badly in any of them, but it’s not been plain sailing either.
There’s been a bit of everything in these past 40 years, especially in a group like this one. Once, one of our bosses told me that “we are like bikes, if you stop pedalling you fall off”. So I would get back on my bike.
It’s been 40 years since you joined the company, what have been the most significant changes you have experienced?
You’re not going to believe your ears! Personally. I can remember when there were no pallet jacks or forklift trucks in the warehouse. We did everything by hand, and now we have Trace! To give you another example, when we first set up the sales department we had to buy phone tokens or carry coins around to call the office and now we hardly ever leave the house without our mobiles.
On a company level, a similar thing has happened. We started out making pool materials and broom handles, and now we’ve become a multinational. We’re a listed company and we have come out of the crisis by managing our own resources. We should dwell on that and feel proud about it.
What will you miss?
I still haven’t thought about that. I thoroughly enjoy a routine and when the time comes I’ll have to change it. I guess the most radical change will be losing daily contact with my workmates. I will miss that a lot.
What are your future plans?
I find it hard to think about the future. With all of the changes I have gone through, I find it easier to take things as they come rather than seeking them out. What I can tell you is that I have never been bored, so if I do ever feel like that I’ll find something to do. I have also planned to write a book about my experiences.
What advice would you give to your workmates?
Giving advice is generally hard because situations are very personal. However, there are two things I consider very important: to laugh as much as you can, which isn’t the same as taking things lightly, and learning that when faced with problems solutions must come first, rather than putting the blame on who caused the problem.
A place for getting away from it all:
A book or film:
A Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting
I couldn’t live without:
My wife, I wouldn’t be what I am without her
Your best memory of Fluidra Comercial España:
I couldn’t choose a particular memory. It’s more about a whole lifetime and having been involved in a successful company like this one.
Having had the opportunity and honour to have met people who have marked me in my career as a professional and, what is much more important, as a person.