Smaraglay Gábor has been managing director of KÖZTI for more than six months, but it is no exaggeration to say that he knows KÖZTI very well inside and out, for he had been managing its legal affairs as a lawyer for many years. It’s also easy for him to get advice, as he replaced his father as director. Evaluating introductory talk.
You got to know the company from an exceptional position, you practically grew up at KÖZTI.
My father started to work at KÖZTI in 1979, the year I was born, and he retired last year. Besides our family, the company played a very important role in his life, so KÖZTI, his first and only workplace, has become a kind of model for me, too. As a child, I attended company events with my parents and I came back here as an adult. I started to cooperate with KÖZTI as a lawyer 10 years ago. I got to know the company, its projects and its special culture as well.
How was the first half year? How do you see KÖZTI now, from the inside?
I have very positive experience after the first six months, both in the professional and the human respect; KÖZTI has an excellent team which is recognized even by visitors. I have known many of the collegues for years, but the more time I spend here, the better I get to know everybody and the team is really good. Though KÖZTI had been a part of my days even when I was a lawyer working at an ’outside’ office, working from the ’inside’ is different. I think, my collegues love their work, they are happy to work on our projects, they look forward to challenges and the possibility to create, they have creative ideas. They are very good at adapting to changes as well, and this attitude is a great value, this is what takes us forward. However, we are also very lucky, because we can work on fantastic projects and this is a great motivation for all of us.
One of my aims as a new arrival is to increase our effectiveness by adapting to the workflow of our time, while preserving our special character established in the past 70 years and also to keep our position as a market leader by being a professional workshop of the highest possible quality. Besides our business interests and professional challenges, it is also vitally important that our collegues have a livable, friendly workplace, they should feel themselves well in the place they spend the largest part of their days.
Did your father give you advice?
Of course. He has always emphasized the value of our collegues and the importance of the commmunication with them, the attention paid to them. A community is functioning through its members, so human relationships and the people themselves also have to be addressed. I have personal experience of the uplifting feeling and support that belonging to a meaningful community can give to its members.
One of the cornerstones of professional life at KÖZTI has been the legendary ’teacher and student’ relationship.
Yes, this is one of the most important values at KÖZTI. Our lead architects, recipients of important national and international prizes, have been sharing their professional knowledge with each other and the younger generation as well since the beginning. KÖZTI has always been a professional workshop of outstanding quality. The fresh graduates have always known and could be sure, that they would learn the know-how of the profession here and they could become important architects one day. In the course of time the old students usually became new teachers, who also dedicated their lives to sharing their knowledge and maintaining quality. The project lead architects of today have been students of those architects of my father’s generation, who had learnt the base of their trade from the best architects. To maintain this valuable tradition is our important aim for the future, we have to arm the youngest generation of architects with the best possible knowledge against the professional challenges. This is the essential key to maintaining quality and retaining our role as a market leader.
Your gates are open for the future ’students’.
Yes, we are waiting for the fresh graduates to come. They can learn the tricks of the profession from the best ’teachers’ here, they can work on prestigeous projects and can join a young team of architects, many of whom have also learnt their trade at KÖZTI. It is a constant strategic goal of the company to train our own young architects, so we know exactly what we can expect from them. We follow their progress and every condition is provided for them here to become good architects.
Besides the professional stimuli, recreation is also necessary for efficient work.
My work is usually not finished when I step out of my office, there are many things that occupy my thoughts continuously. Therefore only those activities can really relax me and recharge me that require actual presence and attention. Such activity is playing with my children or playing football with my friends, but I also like skiing or any other sports, hiking and travel. I prefer active recreation.
What are you most proud of in your private life?
My family. My wife and me have been together for more than 20 years, we married more than 15 years ago. We have two children, a 10 year old boy and a 6 year old girl. We are lucky, because owing to our large families, our children have many cousins. My wife has three sisters and I have three younger brothers, we have a rather intensive family life, so we have many programs together.
I come from a Roman Catholic family, I have attended a Catholic community since my childhood. Many of my friends come from there. Religion determines our way of thinking, our attitudes to family and other people. This is a basic value in our family and it provides a firm background to my professional attitude as well.