Energic Plus is a brand that continues to grow. That is why, to ensure an individual approach for our customers, we would like to familiarise you with the people behind the brand. As of now, we will include an individual profile of one Energic Plus employee in each newsletter and place this on the news segment of our website.
The lucky one who gets to go first is Didier Bougarel, who is responsible for external sales for Energic Plus in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkan area and France. He has been active in the battery maintenance and regeneration industry for over 12 years and joined the Energic Plus team in 2012.
Didier, tell us something about yourself. Who are you and how did you get here?
Well, a long time ago I graduated from a French business school. I proceeded to graduate with an MBA in finance and International Marketing from Berkeley. I then continued my academic journey and was able to graduate from UIBE (University of International Business and Economics in Beijing). Finally I decided to attend IMUA (International Management University of Asia in Tokyo). However, I should praise my parents here as I got my real life education from them as they taught me all about respect, tolerance and gratitude. They emphasised the importance of absorbing all life can teach and give me, and they infused me with a never-ending curiosity towards life.
As I used to be a pilot, I dedicate a lot of my free time to flying and everything related to that. Because of my extensive curiosity, I have gained a strong passion for flying. In my spare time, I restore old airplanes which are then displayed at air shows. During these air shows, I often participate in aerobatics; either solo or in formation. In addition to aviation, I have a huge fascination for the wondrous surprise that is life and the people in it. It never ceases to amaze me how people and life in general can still surprise me. This amazement inspired one of my hobbies: skiing. I particularly enjoy it as I experience severe humility when facing the mountains. A big plus to this sport is the fact that I get to feel free and really feel the speed when I’m going down a mountain. Other activities I enjoy are running and hiking as these make me feel free, as well as motorcycling, where I get to explore my wild side.
How would you describe your own position within the Energic Plus team?
I am a part of the Energic Plus dream team, which is led by the young, tall and talented Lode Baert. We promote battery maintenance and regeneration (battery chargers, jump starters, battery reconditioning,...) all over the world. We do our best to constantly improve our products, the customer’s knowledge on batteries through training sessions and expand our market from material handling equipment to telecom companies, power plants, solar farms, and basically anywhere batteries are used. Even though I consider myself a world citizen, my playground is "limited" to the entire continent of Africa, the Middle East, the Balkan area and France.
Was there any particular reason why you chose Energic Plus?
There are actually several reasons why I chose Energic Plus. I believe energy is a key development field, for the entire world. Energy storage is very important for the future and battery maintenance and offering support to clients, is a very challenging sector. Considering Lode Baert (the Energic Plus team leader, whom I met at Cemat in 2012) and myself are both fully involved and strongly believe in the battery maintenance sector, I believe we can really generate interest in our products and develop a great label fully supported by TVH. The Energic Plus team is truly remarkable, we all share the same spirit and are all fully empowered people. We enjoy sharing our knowledge worldwide and so far, we already helped numerous customers across the world to set up their own battery maintenance workshop. This is largely thanks to the support we receive from TVH. Because we work as a whole, what sometimes seems impossible, becomes possible.
What makes your job so much fun according to you?
What I personally passionately like about the job is the curiosity it requires from me. As I have been diagnosed with an insatiable curiosity since young age, this is a perfect match! Additionally the post requires full commitment from me, which I am glad to dedicate to the job, as I fully believe in the importance of the development within the energy industry.
Not to mention actually being able to adequately train our customers, teaching them how to efficiently and properly use our machines. Our clients are active all over the world, meaning we often have to travel to other countries and get to experience other cultures and are often faced with different languages. A nice side note to this is that we always get to try local foods, which is of course a huge plus!
Are there any particular accomplishments you’re especially proud of?
We were able to set up 80 battery reconditioners for Kiloutou all over France. I wouldn’t have been able to pull this one off by myself, it was mainly made possible with the help of the entire French team. For 2018, we hope to continue this collaboration and help the company expand their branches in Spain, Germany, Italy and Poland where the first regeneration unit was installed at the end of February 2018.
As you’re often abroad for your job, do you have any amusing stories for us?
This is a very hard question! Each trip is so different and each experience has its pros and cons. I do love Africa, where it seems as though time doesn't have the same meaning as in Europe. I adore some parts of the Middle East for the extreme hospitality of the natives. The Balkan area appeals to me because of its history and the warm heart of the people, and I love France, not because it is where I’m originally from, but to paraphrase Forrest Gump: France is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get!
I could tell you many stories about my trips abroad for Energic Plus. But if I have to limit my stories, I’ll tell you one funny story and one scary story.
Let’s start with the funny story which took place at the Intersolar exhibition in Germany. As I’m quite familiar with the people from my assigned regions, I find it quite easy to target potential customers at exhibitions. Now, this one time I saw two guys passing by our beautifully crafted stand and they didn’t even bother to look at it! I took offence and came out of the stand and approached them and this is 100% the truth: I looked at them and said "Hi, I saw you just passed our stand, would you mind me asking where are you from?”. They told me they were from Zambia! I replied: “Wow Zambia! You know what… I don’t know why you are at Intersolar or what problem you are trying to solve, but I know we do have a solution for you!". Two days later, those two people ordered a regeneration machine for their solar operation in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The funny thing is, ever since, we stayed in touch as one of the guys is MP in Lusaka and manages the budget for energy savings.
As for the scary story, to tell you the truth, I have been traveling all over the world for 27 years but I experienced my scariest trip in 2016. Some foreign potential clients within the telecom sector had expressed interest in battery solutions and me doing my job, promoting Energic Plus technology, I was able to convince them of our product range. As I noticed they were quite hesitant about the product, I promised I would personally come over to their plant and train their technicians. After that promise, they quickly bought their first machine. Little did I know they were based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mind you, the Belgian Foreign Affairs department strongly discourages people from travelling to this region as it remains very unstable and there is a lot of aggression towards Westerners. However, I did promise I would personally visit them and train their technicians and a promise is a promise.
Overall it was a great experience, even though I was scared about the risks involved. Anyhow, the client was very impressed, so much so that they gave me a nickname! They now call me ‘The Man’ because I was the only one who conquered his fear to follow up a battery regeneration set-up in Kabul. Since then, the people of Crean have developed businesses not only in Kabul but also in Pakistan, which I have also visited. Currently, this client has more than 12 regenerators in use.
And one last question; what does 2018 have in store for Energic Plus according to you?
For 2018, we have a couple of projects moving forward but I can’t say too much about that for now. The main plan is to keep broadening the horizon with Energic Plus. The aim is always to expand the Energic Plus brand and further establish it as a respectable brand. In 2018 we will do our very best to continue to do better and to exceed any limits.
If, after reading this article, you are interested in working for Energic Plus, we encourage you to contact us by sending your resume and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.