Since April of this year, Santiago Ángel has been the commercial manager of Quimicoplásticos, a company with a long history in the distribution of raw materials for the paint industry.
By Federico Duarte Garcés
At present, the Camino de Santiago Ángel Gallego travels between polymers and pedals. During the week, he pedals hand in hand with his team as commercial manager of Quimicoplásticos to promote the development of raw materials aimed among others at the paint industry. On weekends he gives free rein to the bicycle to reach new heights that surround his native Medellín until reaching new territories, which has been his professional roadmap for 15 years.
However, he took his first steps as a footballer. In those he remained both in the Salazar y Herrera school, located in the La América neighborhood, and around his grandparents' house in the Santa Monica neighborhood, both in the west of the city, together with his friends at the time. There he already proved his sporting passion that he overreached with some kick when he 'entered' with everything for the ball, which set fire to his rivals to the point of wanting to 'grind' him and that he should ask for the change in advance.
Change of perspective
This passion was transferred to the stands of the Atanasio Girardot stadium as a fervent follower of Atlético Nacional. This has been his other Sunday or Saturday plan, which was abruptly interrupted during the pandemic, a stage in which the prominence was played by the medical staff, a profession that for a while he dreamed of practicing.
Even sometimes when he goes to a hospital he wonders what it would be like if he had been a doctor, because all the clinical issues have always moved him. Not surprisingly, many of his previous partners have been doctors.
However, during the last year of high school, a professor to whom he was fond took him through the different faculties of chemical engineering of universities in the city, which changed his professional orientation. He studied Process Engineering at Eafit University, and from there he embarked on his journey through plastics, and with it paints.
Recently unpacked from the university classrooms, Santiago had a first foray into work at the Rioclaro Cement Argos Plant. However, camp life would not be very similar to him, and a few months later he would take the step to Sumicolor, a company recognized for the manufacture of masterbatch (color concentrates) for the plastic industry. There he would begin to permeate the world of paintings.
This would be his basis for his performance as commercial leader of the regional coffee company of Reciend, supplier and distributor of chemical products, where he would achieve an increase in the participation of key customers of the most profitable product lines for the company.
From this experience would come his passage of eight years and nine months in Essentia, a Colombian company of the Ecopetrol Group, dedicated to the production and commercialization of raw materials for the plastic industry such as polypropylene, and again masterbatch. From both segments it would achieve outstanding achievements in its LinkedIn profile such as the increase from 63% to 74% in the market share of the first and the increase of 75% in sales of the latter.
In this, the first exporting company of the Colombian petrochemical sector, it went through all the accounts of the country, in addition to serving during the last three years international markets such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. There he would check the path towards sustainability traced in parallel by companies such as Quimicoplásticos, which would attract him to finally arrive in this in April of this year.
"Here there is a passion for sustainability," says Santiago, who maintains that for at least 15 years, the same period of his professional career, the company has been a pioneer in the development of raw materials focused on environmental sustainability through a portfolio that includes a large number of solutions for water-based paint. which seek to displace those based on solvents.
"It's a strong technical challenge, but I think there is enough technology to make that transition in the world of paints," says Santiago.
"We know that they are long-term solutions, because obviously we have to accompany the legislations a lot," he says about the commitment to open markets with this type of solutions to which the company bets.
This, added to the high competition that results in his criteria for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a market dominated by Brazil, Mexico and Argentina from the presence of large conglomerates, constitutes one of the great challenges with which he instructs his work team.
A madman for the exigency
"I'm crazy about sports," confesses Santiago, who recognizes his excessive fondness for all kinds of sports: from football and cycling to baseball, tennis, motor racing, golf and American football itself. However, beyond the game, what he sees is a succession of scenes that represent strategy, discipline and sacrifice.
After a successful play of American football tactics, he never tires of explaining: "Look, what they did they have done 1,200 times, and that's why it is perfect." In football terms he could be considered a disciple of the school of Argentine coach Marcelo 'el Loco' Bielsa, characterized by a meticulous style to prepare matches, in which each player must adapt to fulfill several functions on the field.
Precisely, in recent weeks, on his own LinkedIn profile, Santiago shared a video with some images and phrases of the 'Loco' that account for his own vision: "Success and happiness do not work as synonyms. Human beings occasionally succeed, but they usually develop, fight, strive and win from time to time... very occasionally."
That same slogan is the one he maintains with the group he coordinates, with which he celebrates each triumph, and to which he recognizes every effort, but which also draws attention when things are not done well.
"It's a very demanding love for the team; to do better we have to recognize that we did not do well, "says Santiago, who is not afraid of difficult conversations, but neither of making mistakes.
"I'm afraid not to learn," he says, while declaring himself deeply optimistic, because he is confident that things can be okay, and questions what he can do to change and improve. Hence, at the end of the week he always proposes a new stop to reach on his bike.