Paolo Cosenza’s Personal Life & Company Life

The Arabia Times: Explain your background and your Company’s in detail.

Paolo Cosenza: I am an Italian Civil and Hydraulic Engineer with a master degree (with maximum scores) from University of Palermo.

Being the first engineer of my family, I built my carrier without shortcuts. Gradually climbing the ladder of success and achieving my targets day by day, through the only way I know how: hard work completed with passion and dedication; nothing else!

I have worked in the technical sector for many years, covering both desk and site activities. This helped me to better understand all of the key aspects of the civil engineering consultancy business. I then moved into the business development sector and have played as the main driver of our firm for the last 10 years; identifying new opportunities, markets, and the best strategies related to our field.

To me, combining the technical skills with the ability to communicate with many people from different cultures is the best mix for testing the professional capabilities learnt during the academic period, alongside the lessons grasped on the field stepping on different countries. It is not only a professional development, but mainly a cultural growth that makes me what I am today.

VIA International is an Italian engineering company, which took the first step into the GCC in 2013, and 10 years later, has become one of the referent company for several Public Authorities and Ministries in Oman within the infrastructural sector. VIA covers all of the civil engineering sectors: transport (roads, harbors, railways, airports, etc.); water (networks, river management, dams, flood analysis); geotechnics (soil stabilization, high cuts, deep foundations) and many other fields.

Today the company is present in: Italy, UAE, Oman, Uganda, and India, whilst carrying out several projects in other European, Asian, and African countries.

Our goal is providing services to our client, adopting the latest technologies and methods, but at the same time maintaining an elevated level of style, typical of our Italian culture; VIA can do it, as many other firms can, but making it fascinating and attractive is a form of art that we have in our spirit.

The Arabia Times: Give us one word that describes you the best.

Paolo Cosenza: Self-made. I never give up; the answer is always inside us, we only need books to read and then analytical ability to process the info and find the needed solution.

Company’s Culture by Paolo Cosenza

The Arabia Times: Could you describe the company culture at “VIA INTERNATIONAL” and how it contributes to your team’s effectiveness and overall success?

Paolo Cosenza: In VIA International I am only the teamster, who takes the risks of the new initiatives and smell the markets to properly address the direction of the firm. However, the real heroes of the company are our experts who, on a daily basis, stress their capabilities to identify the best solutions meeting the Client’s requirements.

As per our name, we strongly believe in being International, learning different cultures – thanks to our international engineers and the different countries where we are present – and mixing the different aspects of all of us, for designing something unique, containing the best elements coming from every part of the world.

The company hierarchy is almost flat, and all the people working in the firm have the chance to reach the positions they aim and deserve. Every cultural growth from a company member is immediately transferred to the growth of the company, and for these reasons, we do not close the doors to new opportunities, but we keep them well opened for being crossed by every member who wishes to step out of their comfort zone and enter in a zone dense of new challenges.

VIA does not have timing, restrictions, and limits of any type; creating a dynamic and active environment in order to give the opportunity to all team members to express their attitudes for achieving the common project goal – the ultimate Client’s satisfaction.

Managing a real International company does not include only the normal aspects of the business, but we have to be able to understand the humor of our experts and support them whenever needed. Living in a new country can be difficult for many people, especially if they come from different environments. For this reason, we believe that it is our company mandate to create an atmosphere of trust and vicinity to make them comfortable and serene to live their daily life in the best way they can, so that they can be ready for every tough working day.

Our company calendar includes all the birthdays of our team, all the Hindus, Muslim, Christian holidays, and we like celebrating together such days to better widen our minds and to create a real multicultural group, at the least, inside the walls of our offices.

Challenges faced by Paolo Cosenza

The Arabia Times: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome during the journey of your leadership?

Paolo Cosenza: In more than 20 years in business, I have faced many challenges, some of them technical and most of them personal, which are the hardest ones.

The technical difficulties can be solved with: hard study, learning from previous similar experiences; interacting with partners and business friends, and then proceeding cautiously by always monitoring the risks of the on-going actions and making corrections whenever required. I know it is not simple, but sometimes taking actions is much better than waiting for the best and ideal solution to illuminate your mind.

The hardest challenges are the ones affecting your private and personal life, especially when (as in my case) your company becomes part of you.

It was not easy to leave my family for living abroad, and jumping from one continent to another in the first 13 years of my carrier. For sure, it is exciting, but you have to be ready to change your personal equilibrium every-day adapting yourself to the new environment, trying to fit in it and, at the same time, build your dream. Moreover, whenever you return back at home your persona has changed and contains new layers that sometime make you difficult to be recognized from your friends or family members.

After visiting several countries to cultivate the international attitude, it was very challenging to move my family from Italy to Oman, changing the lifestyle of all of my family members (the ones with me and the others remaining in the mother country). However, building a carrier and a firm together with the support of the people you love is the best way to do it, as you are always surrounded by affection and positivity, giving you the needed strength to succeed in your job.

Another challenging aspect of my work is transferring the messages that I have clear in my mind in foreign languages. Today, most of us speak two, three or more languages; however the lexical mastery of my Latin language, reflecting my typical cultural background, is quite difficult to translate in foreign words. With close partners and clients, very often I use simple Italian words just to transfer the feeling that with them I am as comfortable as at home. To me, inclusion means also giving a piece of yourself to the people living in the same context as you.

Achievements of Paolo Cosenza

The Arabia Times: Could you share some key milestones or achievements that “VIA INTERNATIONAL” has reached since its inception?

Paolo Cosenza: In an engineering business, especially if carried out in different nations, every-day you have progression. There are the typical business benefits, that all the sectors can reach with hard work and capabilities, but there are the specific ones of the civil infrastructural engineering which are the ones that I love the most.

The major milestones VIA International has attained in the last years are the smiles of thousands of people, that, in a short period, drastically changed their lifestyle thanks to the mere access of safe water. Very often we forget the pleasure of the simple but essential necessity, like the clean water. Fortunately, VIA had the opportunity to re-discover such great value when several communities became free from the slavery of daily water collection (sometime spending from 2 to 6 hours per day but no longer have to) thanks to a simple water supply system built in their community.

I had this opportunity, not only in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, etc. but also in remote zones of south Italy, where our company contributed to the development of the areas which are always celebrated with simple parties with glasses full of the new drinkable water.

Wherever you are, in Dokolo, in Sharqiya desert, in Kenema, in Namtumbo, it is always a touching emotion making numerous people happy just by doing your job.

There is no other major satisfaction than to watch the young generations using a new road to travel towards their dreams, or drink the clean water to refill their energies to be spent for their socio-cultural-economic progress.

For VIA International this is the very meaning of our mission, and the way we enjoy to provide our services.

Future of the Company

The Arabia Times: How do you see the company is changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?

Paolo Cosenza: We could decide to maintain the stable balance we reached after many years of challenges and hard work; however my colleagues and I believe that raising the growth level every year is the fuel that we need to run our engine.

Currently we have new experiments in exporting our know-how and above all, our philosophy, in new countries where our name is still unknown.

In two years we are going to have a couple of new offices, and I personally guess new managers and directors with high level of competence who can show us new points of view. At the end of the day a firm is just a juridical instrument, but the people working on it are the only real value that can make the difference between the default and the success.

I will be completely satisfied if I can lead VIA International in identifying these excellences, invite them to work with us (and not for us) so as to learn from them in how to keep our company young and modern, following the upcoming changes typical of our sector.

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