Skating with Adrián Ortiz, CEO OF XTRAICE
Adrián Ortiz is the face of Xtraice. An entrepreneur from birth, Ortiz has under his belt the creation of more than 15 companies. He has a degree in Business Administration and Management, with an MBA to his credit, and speaks 3 languages at negotiation level. Today he successfully manages the company Xtraice, with a presence in more than 95 countries and a multidisciplinary team of more than 30 workers.
You run the world’s leading company in the synthetic ice rink sector. What are the new challenges you face?
There are millions of challenges. Right now I am quite excited about the R&D advancements that we are carrying out thanks to our colleagues from our technical department, CDTI and CTA. It is about continuing to revolutionize synthetic ice rinks.
Years ago we radically changed the paradigm of ice rinks by being pioneers in self-lubricating panels. These panels are perfect for the world of leisure, since they don´t require any extra expense in lubricant, and gliding levels are very similar to frozen water. Currently our challenge for R&D is to be able to change professional rinks for Xtraice tracks.
At a commercial level we want to continue growing in the current lines of business that we have:
- Home: Global confinement has helped ice hockey fans think about and discover that installing rinks in their homes is very beneficial in improving their hockey skills.
- Rentals: we are undisputed leaders both globally and in some specific markets. We have to gain market share in countries where we are not leaders and continue to create a market.
- Sales: we must continue growing in this line creating new markets as there are still many people who are unaware of the existence of ecological ice.
At the marketing level we have to continue as before at the forefront of communication techniques.
The great challenge for me is making sure that the entire company is aligned with each of the challenges and that they are achieved in accordance with our company values .
Is it difficult to find motivation when you are several steps ahead of your immediate competitor?
Without a doubt, it’s easier to have an adversary to imitate the things that go well and discard the ideas that go wrong. It is a strategy that is usually cheaper and easier to implement.
To be a market leader you need certain characteristics such as innovation, perseverance, honesty … and also, it allows you to go where others cannot and do things that competitors do not even consider.
In our case, the motivation comes mainly from two sources:
- On the one hand (and for me the most important), motivation has to “come from within”. The people who make up the team have to show with the work we do, that we are the best and that our work is worth something.
- On the other hand, we have the motivation to meet the objectives and challenges that we have set for ourselves.
World leaders. Panels with the best glide on the market. Largest market share in the sector … Where does this success come from?
In truth, the secret is the combination of many factors. The most important of all lies in the people and the involvement they have with the company. Thanks to this, we transmit great confidence in the sector that allows us to obtain financing to grow, make sales of hundreds of thousands of euros all over the world without needing to have a face-to-face meeting….
What is the Xtraice CEO looking for in your team? What are the common elements that are required and take precedence to be part of the human team behind Xtraice?
I look for good people, who believe in the project and want to be part of the “Xtraice” family. In most cases, attitude takes precedence over training or experience. Someone eager to do something is able to learn quickly and catch up with someone who has been working for many years, with 3 masters but has lost the illusion and drive.
How do you see Xtraice in 10 years? What are the future prospects?
In 10 years there will be no more synthetic ice or ecological ice, there will be Xtraice ice. Most professional hockey rinks will use our ice and I hope the NHL changes its name to Xtraice League.
We are experiencing an unprecedented situation, with a health crisis that has shaken previously untouchable sectors. How has it affected Xtraice and the ice rink sector?
This moment is of great uncertainty for almost all markets. For Xtraice, in the short term it has served to awaken the domestic market. In the medium term (this Christmas) I am convinced that economically we will be doing quite well due to several factors: municipalities and town halls will need to spend their annual events budget to keep their cooped up citizens happy as well as invest money to grow the economy…. in some markets they have banned frozen ice because it emits vapors that are unknown whether or not they contribute to extend COVID-19.
Xtraice was prepared for teleworking almost from birth, since the average age of the staff is very low and we are all used to new technologies. Furthermore, we all had technology (laptops, cloud programs …) to be able to work from anywhere, whenever we wanted.
On the negative side, culture, values, synergies…. are fundamental elements in the life of the company and are the most difficult to share electronically. For this reason, I hope that we return to the office in September without any impediment.
What is the daily life of the CEO of Xtraice?
I am a person with many defects and a few virtues. Among them, I try to be as organized as possible because otherwise I would go crazy and forget more than half of the things I have to do. Even so, almost every day something interrupts my plans and I have to restructure my agenda.
I usually wake up early (many would say “very early”) to do some sports and start the day “with the batteries on.” Later in the office (now at home) I continue with the weekly plan that I usually establish on Sunday night. Among the activities of this plan there is everything and it can be summarized in 5 points:
– Plan team objectives
– Coordinate the different departments
– Lead the people in my closest team
– Control activities and results
– Relationship with banks and investors