Ivan Uzunov is the Outsource Manager for Strypes/ICT, who is directly responsible for the relationship with our partner, ASML. He joined Strypes back in 2011 when one of our colleagues called to tell him that we’re hiring developers. He got the job and in time after proving his skills, he became a Scrum Master of multiple migration projects. Ivan worked in three different groups within Strypes. Naturally, the next step for him was to become a Project Lead.
The great thing about working for Strypes is that we are very flexible when it comes to career choices and we encourage our team members who want to grow, including also a relocation. Ivan found that out when he thought of moving from Bulgaria to the Netherlands. At the end of 2013, he went there to explore a new department at ASML starting with a small team in Strypes. This is how he got to grow in his role and become an Outsource Manager.
“I am proud to be a part of the front office. I can grow the business and help both the client and Strypes. Even though I am far from most of our team members in Bulgaria, I still see myself as one of them” shared Ivan. “I didn’t achieve success on my own. For me, teamwork is crucial. Together, we manage to create stable teams that do their job well. And the reward for doing our work well is more work.”
Ivan believes that the key to helping clients and creating the right solutions for them is to have thorough discussions to understand completely their problem, define the right approaches, and do the work. He is on every messenger app and social media platform, and regularly checks his multiple email addresses, as communication is key in his job.
“My work-life balance is leaning towards work right now, but what helps me is that my fiance (same one for the last 15 years) fully supports me. She stays at home and is dictated to our family and kids. I wake up in the morning, prepare breakfast for our two daughters and coffee for the real boss, then drive the younger daughter to school. After this, my workday begins. I have proposed to my fiance three times, and she said yes three times, but we haven’t organised our wedding yet.”
What is your biggest lesson so far?
Communication is the key. And when the client asks a question, you have to have the project overview at any time, so that you can give an adequate answer. It’s also essential to know the work and understand project concept–migration, application development, tool support, and so on. You have to know the stakeholders. Having an engineering background definitely helps.
Have you ever been in a situation when you didn’t know what to do?
Of course, we are all humans. This is why my colleagues from the front office and I help each other. Some colleagues are more experienced than others and we work as a team. Of course, Eric, Strypes’ Sales and Marketing Director, helps us a lot. He is my mentor and has been for the past six years. He is a very good listener who never solves your problem directly. Instead, he gives a direction, some clues, which you have to read between the lines and the rest is up to you.
How do you keep the team spirit high? Do you organise team building events?
Like our colleagues in Bulgaria, we also organise team building events, although once a year. We have a front office meeting every two weeks on Tuesday with food and drinks afterwards. We meet in Eric’s house for a BBQ once in a while every year. We’ve scuba dived as a team, which was interesting for me, as I can’t swim.
How many coffees do you drink per day?
I stopped counting them at some point.
What is the next step for you and your role?
The next step for me is to understand what I’ve done successfully for the past five years to be able to share it with our colleagues.
Tell us more about what you do in your free time?
I like to watch movies and read sci-fi/fantasy books–Terry Pratchet, Tolkien, and so on. My elder daughter is also a fan of the genre. In the evening, we have a family ritual to watch one or two series of Friends. We love to travel and go on road trips around Europe. This is our time as a family to be within the closed space of the car, talk and have fun together.