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About lasting lessons – a word from our CEO
Dear colleagues and friends,
I clearly remember we mood most of us had at the end of 2019: we were discussing ‘uncertain times’ the world is entering at our annual Christmas soiree, the geopolitical and economical tensions and Lithuania’s risk of being caught in a middle-income trap. Then, I was wishing the courage to create and experiment, as well as the determination to work hard. At the end of the day, Lady Luck loves ones who think and do.
Undeniably, no one expected this kind of 2020 a year ago. We were debating a different kind of ‘uncertainty’, and yet this notion materialized to the fullest extent in a matter of weeks, if not days. Consequently, the ‘cure’ of hard work, courage, thinking, determination and innovation became an urgent matter as opposed to a ‘high-level Christmas wish’.
Today though, we already see numerous good signals, promising a return to the more usual pulse of business and daily lives. I deliberately avoid the notion of a ‘comfort zone’ – perhaps it is still too early to speak of it, and yet it is evident that a significant part of the world wants and expects it. Undeniably, we all have moments when is good to relax a little, especially when everything is ‘fine’ or at least ‘stable’. However, even if someone had a magic wand that could ‘cancel out’ 2020, we would simply return to a position we had a year ago – a truly competitive and dynamic world full of tensions where Lithuania risks to become sluggish and where our relative comfort may appear to be just a mere illusion.
We had truly turbulent times a decade ago, and I know that some lessons from those times (yet not all of them!) have prevailed to this date among people and businesses. So first I’d like to view this year as a source of extraordinary lessons, ideas, discoveries and inspiration. And for the year ahead, I’d like to wish you to maintain the passion, determination, assertiveness and values that were all so visible within our community this year. Clearly, on top of other wishes that I believe are already deemed to come to fruition soon.
The first words that come into my mind about this year in Klaipeda are unity, togetherness and cooperation. It would be impossible to mention every single example, but stories worth at least a quick mention are Klaipeda’s united business, public and academic organizations that spread the word about our city in Lithuania and beyond, develop Klaipeda’s ‘blue course’ or build ‘green corridor for investors’. These are all beautiful examples of being united in an important pursuit of value. Our companies have also been seeking unity, openness partnerships: for instance, Baltijos Eukutecas sought Lithuanian partners on top of its large German customers, RETAL Baltic Films launched a new lab that is open for third parties, while NEO GROUP successfully partnered local engineering students. The stories from the first wave of the pandemic are worth a separate mention: then, no one asked ‘why’. We all had a common goal that we sought to achieve without counting time and resources. I thank you so much for that experience.
Another beautiful direction that was evident at Klaipeda FEZ was the courage to innovate. It’s remarkable how the circumstances of 2020 have not derailed previous investment plans. What is more, this year was full of further investment and pursuit for innovation, including, but not limited to, all achievements by the makers of Dancer bus, NEO GROUP’s patent, Glassbel’s and Mestilla’s search and implementation of technological novelties. Our territory also launched quite a few innovative solutions, such as a 3D model and a 5G network. Clearly, many innovations, both technological and related to processes, have been lately focusing on sustainability. I believe the sustainability agenda is important and meaningful, while new investors are increasingly interested in it, and so I’m really proud to have Klaipeda FEZ internationally recognized in this area. Finally, innovation is more than hardware or processes, it is often related to mentality, creativity and courage. Here, REHAU’s case comes into my mind this year as a beautiful example of finding a custom solution under unusual circumstances together with a passionate team of our colleagues and external partners. Also, investment and expansion developments by Baltic Comri Technologies, Autoverslas, Lavango and others are also proofs of courage and energy that will inevitably pay off.
Was I surprised by all this? Probably not – we’ve been working together for numerous years with many of you. Recently, we received the results of our very first professional customer survey – its results are fantastic and inspiring to raise the bar even higher. We shall soon share more details about that. Most importantly though, the things we experienced this year are beyond numbers. I feel great not because I can sense and count something. I feel fascinated to be able to personally experience the kindness and the greatness of our community in difficult moments. This year has shown us that we are true friends, full of great ideas, motivation and determination. This is a true gift.
So I thank you for your unity, kindness and openness this year. I wish you a safe holiday, a bright new year, but most importantly – to maintain the spirit of 2020 that was pushing us forward.