On March 21, a sizeable group of HTEC team members had the pleasure of gathering in North Macedonia’s capital of Skopje. The formal cause for the get-together was the opening of HTEC’s office space in Skopje, but the gathering itself was long overdue. In fact, it was the first opportunity for all Skopje team members to meet in person, despite calling themselves colleagues for some time.
The new reality in which we have found ourselves over the past couple of years has continued to prevent us from sharing the same space, yet the imposed delay had somehow made the ultimate gathering all the more substantial and heart-warming.
But first, some context.
Building from the ground up
Without much fanfare, but with plenty of research and preparation behind the scenes, HTEC had initiated its operations in North Macedonia in the late-late summer of 2021. We didn’t acquire or partner up with any of the local companies, instead choosing to carefully build the team from the ground up with a solid foundation.
In the brief time since its inception, HTEC’s Skopje team has grown close to 70 people. This in itself is a huge accomplishment, and we have the immense effort of our Talent Acquisition team to thank for it, especially its members in North Macedonia. What’s even more impressive is the professional make-up of our growing team. HTEC’s Skopje engineering center has been built on senior talent and expertise, with the vast majority of our engineers possessing a wealth of experience and know-how to deliver incredible value to the company even in such a short amount of time.
In short, a little over half a year has been more than enough to consider our expansion into North Macedonia an overwhelming success in every conceivable aspect. The official opening of our Skopje office space has provided the opportunity to complete that one last piece of the puzzle and finally meet everybody in person.
From the start of the pandemic, HTEC has made the health and safety of its employees its top priority. We’ve swiftly transitioned to remote work while continuing to grow and expand our engineering capacities. From a business standpoint, we hadn’t missed a beat. In fact, the proverbial beat kept getting faster and faster, and we were right on top of it.
However, as anyone who has ever experienced working in a stimulating environment with team members who are at the top of their game will tell you, there is no true substitute for the professional camaraderie, spontaneous knowledge sharing, and collective growth that takes shape in a shared physical workspace. We can work around it and make it work in a virtual setting, but we can’t replicate it.
This sentiment was on full display at the Skopje office opening. There was a tangible sense of excitement and joy at the opportunity to meet the team members face to face, to share the physical workspace and look forward to making the office space a hive of creativity.
A large delegation of HTEC leadership, including our president and co-founder Dušan Kosić, was on hand to both mark the occasion and meet the growing team that has seamlessly blended into the HTEC culture and hit the ground running. Everyone was in a bit of an awe at how smoothly and successfully the entire process of establishing operations in Skopje had gone.
Members of our Engineering & Delivery management team Marko Zdravkovski and Vasko Drenoski have helped grow the Skopje office. They have watched it grow to its current size and they are delighted with the results of the endeavor, albeit with their eyes firmly fixed on the future.
Back when I met some of the HTEC leaders in Skopje when they first approached me about establishing a team here, they told me that they were planning to hire 100 people within the first year. I just laughed and told them “Good luck with that,” because I know how difficult it is to find the right people. They assured me that they understood the degree of difficulty and that they were preparing to do it properly, but I was still not convinced that it could be done, since we are a small country with a comparably small number of skilled engineers. Right now, the Skopje team has almost 70 members and we are on pace to reach 100 within a year. And it will only get better going forward. Good news travels fast, and people who are coming in now will bring in new people, and the company will grow. – Vasko Drenoski, Engineering & Delivery Manager
And while everyone is pleasantly surprised at the early success of HTEC in North Macedonia, HTEC’s Chief Operating Officer David Schoch states that there was a method behind it and that this was the plan all along – even if it is the best-case scenario.
What we’re seeing here in North Macedonia is our first attempt at being systematic about how we expand, rather than just opportunistic. We’ve already identified North Macedonia as a market with a great talent base, and we saw it as an opportunity to harness the previous experiences and build a playbook on how we expand onto new territories – how we enter a new market, how we attract top tier talent, develop it and integrate it into the organization. – David Schoch, Chief Operating Officer at HTEC
Into the future
The opening of HTEC’s Skopje office represented a celebration: of establishing a new team and watching it grow, of entering a new country and forming a professional partnership that already feels like a long-established familiarity and like-mindedness, of cherishing the opportunity to share our professional everyday with those who are equally passionate about our shared work, of new beginnings and new relationships.
It was also a celebration of what’s to come. HTEC will continue to grow in North Macedonia, and we plan to increase our team multifold over the next few years. We are proud of our Skopje team and how far they’ve come so quickly, and excited about what they will achieve in the days to come. We are looking forward to continuing to shape the future together and we can’t wait to meet those of you who will join us on this journey.