Interview – Mirko Grošić
MEET MIRKO GROŠIĆ
When did your love towards civil engineering start?
My love towards engineering and technical science started when I was young, but I started to like civil engineering on my 3rd year of faculty when I got the true impression of what civil engineering is through lectures and after visiting a construction site. After visiting a construction site in Rijeka (building pit for „Zagrad“garage) with professor Željko Arbanas, I was completely fascinated with geotechnical engineering and when I came home I said: this is it.
Why did you choose geotechnical engineering?
First of all, I was fascinated by the building pit „Zagrad“. After that, I started studying geotechnical engineering and I realized that it was a largely unexplored field, extremely complex and demanding. Very few people decided to go into that branch of civil engineering. It was really challenging for me so I started.
When did you decide to start your own company?
Many times I talked with friends and colleagues „we should “, „it would be good “, „we will“and I believe that idea of starting our own company was present at most of us. It was one beer in Australia, which was crucial and after that, I started :). That was craziness because I left a good job and I was going into something unknown. I can’t say that there is any particular moment. You just decide, and suddenly you find yourself “out there”, and you depend only on yourself.
Describe the challenges you encountered when you were starting your own business
It was the beginning of 2008, I already quit my job and submit a request for opening my own company and then they rejected my request. I founded a company in a flat in which I just moved in, it didn’t have any doors nor Internet (I went to my parents to connect to Internet and to check emails), I had black &white printer (I printed cover of the design in the photocopier for 5 kuna per page and the rest of on my black & white printer), I borrowed my parent’s car to go to a meeting. One of the key jobs I was counting on and which was supposed to secure my income in the first few months of my business was lost so I did not have any contracted deal. When I look at it now, I laugh at it, but back then it wasn’t funny at all.
How would you describe yourself privately and professionally?
Privately: family-oriented, I like spending time with family, especially now while the children are still young. I consider myself joyful, positive, full of energy
On business: cautious, pragmatic, organized, focused on goals …
A lot of work, challenges and a good atmosphere.
What do you consider to be your greatest business success?
I am proud when I look at Geotech today and when I see the path we’ve been through.
I am very happy, fulfilling and motivated by the atmosphere among colleagues, they often laugh and have fun. They all are full of energy, positive and proactive.
I’m surrounded by a great team at work and that’s the greatest value. I would not be here without them. over the last ten years, I have been focusing a lot of time and energy on devoting awareness of geotechnics among architects and engineers.
Geotechnical engineering is not and cannot be a privilege only for large infrastructure projects or other large investments. And I think we have succeeded because on a daily basis, we receive a request for quotation or we are asked for advice for smaller and simpler jobs – like family houses.
What are key things that differ Geotech from the competition?
Passion for addressing the challenges and problematic situations, and I think, I managed to convey that to employees. I think that the real engineer is the one who successfully tackles the problems that are happening for the first time: access to the problem, research into unknown topics, determines of the correct methodology and final solution and application with the satisfaction of all the participants.
This requires enormous investments in development, education, and it is difficult to charge in terms of spent time and energy. But, in my opinion, this is the right way. You cannot say you are a good engineer if you are constantly doing the same and/or similar projects.
In addition – innovation. We actively keep track of and apply new technologies which are still in the beginning. e.g., we started using drones and point clouds on projects in Dubrovnik in 2012. This year we started with BIM 3D technology and we are the first among geotechnical engineers in Croatia who uses that software. And we continue to invest.
How do you manage to reconcile managing your own business with your teaching career?
It’s hard. This is a big challenge at the moment. I became a manager because I’m a specialist in my profession and I do not want to leave that part and ignore it.
In addition to running the company, a lot of my time is concerned with this profession, especially by developing and introducing new technologies and ideas. The day has 24 hours and always find a time, mostly at night or early in the morning to be improved.
How do you motivate students to participate in class?
I try to present as much as possible projects from practice- so they can see what is the real situation which they see in the books. Often with lots of photos and videos. It’s hard to motivate people if they have not motivated themselves, but I’m doing my best to make their lectures interesting.
What is the biggest challenge of a lecture at the faculty, and what is the biggest challenge of running your business?
It is difficult to reconcile private life with business and to find the right mix between profession, teaching, and science. The most important thing is a balance, and the balance is difficult to find because it’s constantly changing.
Your most demanding project in Geotech?
Rockfall protection in Omiš, building pit for commercial center in Rijeka, the new railway Križevci – Koprivnica – state border, railroad in Macedonia and we are currently working on one interesting touristic project
How do you like to spend your spare time?
Well, there is not much spare time with little children and private business, but I try to get the best I can out of that half an hour a day: reading, hanging out with friends, a little bit of sport.
Plans for Geotech for the future?
Focusing on investors and projects, going out on foreign markets, boosting quality and investing in education and development.