Meet the team - Felipe Fabrega, Southern Europe Sales Manager

Our latest ‘Meet the Team’ is our New Sales Manager for Southern Europe, Felipe Fabrega. Join us in welcoming him and in following his journey for a third time with Starrett, moving continents and to exploring and learning of new countries and cultures.

For those who have not had a chance to meet you, please can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Brazil and lived there until I transferred here in December 2020. I am married to Carolina and we have 2 amazing boys, Pedro and Gabriel.

We love traveling to the beach, to the mountains, finding new places to explore and having adventures.

With lockdown travel restrictions only recently being relaxed, we have visited many places locally, Floors Castle and Mellerstain are near to where we live and are very impressive, we also have enjoyed walking many of the local Tweed paths.

We visited Edinburgh recently. To see the Ancient buildings, Castle and Architecture in the old Town with the mix of the young multicultural people was fascinating. People walking from one place to another singing a Queen song and everyone joining in, amazing! We feel safe to explore.

I love sports! Football, in Brazil I support Santos, here in the UK I follow the Premier League and have adopted Liverpool as my Team as they have many Brazilian players. I look forward to watching the matches live at the Stadiums, maybe Newcastle one week and then Liverpool another and maybe Manchester another. My wife likes to travel and I like sports so we could combine both.

Tennis, Roger Federer, he is my favourite, I don’t think I can go to Wimbledon this year but would like to go next year.

Rugby is popular here in the Scottish Borders, I attended a Jed team game with Ivor Hughes once and got to enjoy the hospitality, watching the men on the field being quite aggressive towards each other but then after the game, seeing both teams talking and laughing together was surprising. I do not understand the rules as yet but am looking forward to learning and watching the games.

Formula 1, my all time favourite driver was Ayton Senna, there is not a Brazilian driver at the moment so I am just enjoying the racing this season, to be at Silverstone this year or the next would be amazing.

I also love watching movies and spending time with my family and friends preparing a barbecue.

Tell us about your background and your career path to Starrett?

This is my ‘third’ time at the Starrett company. Twice in Brazil, the first time from 1998 to 2004 and the second from 2006 to 2020. Now I am starting my third journey at Starrett here in the UK.

At Starrett Brazil I worked in different areas: Metrology Laboratory, Technical of Hi End equipment, After Sales Technical, Marketing and Commercial areas.

My last position there, was International Product Manager for Bandsaws, Machines and Food Division. I was Direct Sales Manager, responsible for the direct sales for key accounts like big companies of cutting steel and big abattoirs. And After Sales Manager, responsible for the technician team in Brazil and South America.

Regarding my background, I studied to be a Mechanical Engineering Technician and received an MBA in Marketing.

With Starrett I had amazing opportunities to visits customers worldwide. A highlight was introducing the food division to the Asian market. I visited many Starrett distributors, end users and attended many international trade shows along with visiting our facilities in the USA, UK & China.

What is your role at Starrett and what does it involve?

AsSales Manager – Europe, I am responsible for the sales for South Europe. I am the link between Starrett and our European customers, my aim is to improve our sales and offer customers a whole solution. Bringing back to Starrett the customers feed back and the news from the market.

The biggest selling Starrett product in Southern Europe at the moment are Bi-Metal Bandsaw Blades and hole saws. I am looking forward to introducing new products to the European Market and our Food Division products are a priority – we are launching here in the UK first and then the plan is for Europe 2022.

How did you progress to your current role?

Wow, maybe this is the best question.

When I was a teenager, my professional dream was to be an engineer and work on many projects… My mum was my inspiration here, I used to go to school in the mornings and then play football with my friends on the street all afternoon. There were many clubs I wanted to join and my mum said if you want to join the clubs you need to study more, so I attended a technical class as I was good at Math, this lead to me enjoying it and progressing to be an Engineer.

When I was in my first position at Starrett Brazil, I had an opportunity to visit a customer in his facility. There, I saw how exciting it was to help the customer to fix his problem. This was probably where I first experienced that technical and commercial work together when you put the customer in the centre of the business.

This led to me studying marketing, so I could understand and offer the customer a whole solution. After many years I still believe that we need to support our customers with a whole solution. A mixture of technical knowledge as well as the commercial approach. Only technical or only sales is not the best solution for customers. To understand a product, we need to show the features and benefits, combining the technical information with a good commercial offer is the best solution for the customer.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

I love to keep in contact with the market: end users, distributors, trade shows, viewing the news and bring it all back to Starrett to keep improving the products and the relations with our customers.

I believe the “real” business is out of the office, the business is where our customer and products are.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

In this moment, I have new challenges along with the old.

Moving my family from Brazil to Scotland during lockdown was hard, the language barrier has been the most difficult, but things you will find simple we have found difficult, things like central heating… we do not have this in Brazil just air conditioning, so understanding how it worked and even turning a radiator on was a challenge. Driving on the left is scary! Finding a family home, the boys starting a new school, they have recently joined a football club and this is helping them make friends. All this is different here to Brazil so has been hard and amazing on the same time.

We are now settled and have everything sorted so are looking forward to adapting to life here in the UK, as well as working with new countries and learning of their culture and languages.

With work, keeping Starrett as a relevant brand in the customers mind, introducing new products and opening Starrett to new markets.

Europe is so huge and there are so many opportunities. We are pursuing our plans for each product and customer, so the greatest challenge is to execute all of them quicker and better.

What changes have you seen at the company since joining?

Many changes! In different areas and different moments. I see a company always focused on leading the way in new developments and ideas, investing in marketing; buying new machines to keep producing with high quality; investing in R&D and in training for employees to keep the brand new.

And more than equipment and investments I am seeing the company looking at the future and changing fast to follow this new world that is coming.

What are your future goals?

For now, is to achieve all our goals for Europe for the next 3 years. Then, I’d like to study more, maybe an MBA course in the UK. Adapt and enjoy this amazing country and continent.