TerraWatt Group, https://terawatt-group.com/ is an engineering group of companies that performs complex turnkey projects in the field of technological engineering. The group includes several divisions that perform work on technological design, development and implementation of control systems, civil engineering, and commissioning. The company is a member of APPAU since the beginning of our association. As the company is originally from Mariupol, the APPAU Executive Direction has been in close contact with the group’s management since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. The company successfully takes the challenges of the war, and moreover, is one of the most active in APPAU in supporting the course of joining the American CSIA. From June 27 to July 1, the group’s top managers will attend the annual CSIA conference in Denver, USA, and are the only ones who will represent the entire Ukrainian community of automation system integrators.
How the company met the war, how it takes the challenges – our questions about the current state of the company to the director of business development Anton Krotyuk.
How has the TeraWatt Group developed in recent years? What are your achievements?
For the last 3 years, the TeraWatt group has been developing and looking confidently into the future. There were a number of big plans for the development of new activities and the implementation of ambitious projects. The active demand for TeraWatt Group products and services has led to active staff growth and at the beginning of February 2022 our team consisted of more than 50 electrical designers, more than 20 software engineers, more than 150 process and civil engineers. At the beginning of the year, TeraWatt Group’s project portfolio included several really large projects with engineering, supply of equipment, commissioning works in Ukraine, CIS countries, such as blast furnace loading system, air protection system, etc. It should be noted that in recent years TeraWatt Group has been actively involved in the implementation of environmental projects at metallurgical enterprises, which helped reduce dust and significantly reduce the technological burden on the environment.
In 2021, TeraWatt Group Camp was opened on the basis of our companies, and the Engineering: Smart Start 4.0 initiative was launched for high school and university students because we have always thought about the future and sought to increase our human resources. The creation of such a series of educational seminars by the TeraWatt Group was aimed at enhancing the prestige of engineering profession in the region and giving students and schoolchildren the opportunity to improve their competencies and gain practical experience in working with modern digital technologies.
- What are your losses from the war today?
Until February 24, 2022, TeraWatt Group had a network of offices in Ukraine and in Düsseldorf (Germany). The main office and own production were located in Mariupol, and representative offices in Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipro, and Kryvyi Rih. With the beginning of the war and aggression by Russia, our office and production facilities in Mariupol were completely destroyed, and are currently located in a territory not controlled by Ukraine. When building an office in Mariupol, we put our souls into every corner of the room, each of our employees created their own comfort in the office and this room was not just a workplace for each of us, but a home where it is nice to return. Therefore, the destruction of these buildings is tragical for us not only in terms of business, but also psychologically, in terms of the destruction of fond memories and a place where our team was happy.
Along with the loss of buildings, many technical means and equipment, and vehicles stored in the offices were lost. There were control cabinets in the production shop, which we should have handed over to the customer and which were already ready for shipment. The office in Kharkiv is currently closed, and the offices in Zaporizhia, Dnipro, and Kryvyi Rih are operating normally. For TeraWatt Group, the safety of our employees has always been paramount, so the company has done everything possible to save employees from Mariupol and Kharkiv, and relocate employees and their families to safer cities and regions. Currently, most of the employees of our company work remotely and are located in the western regions of Ukraine and partly in the European Union. A big financial loss for us was the refusal to complete projects for end customers in Russia. This was our conscious decision even before the relevant sanctions were imposed. We are currently working on solutions for equipment that has not been shipped, partially completed by our contractors.
- How do you cope with all these problems today?
Today, all our employees are safe. The main task for us was to provide them with comfortable living and working conditions. It should be noted that we have almost completely preserved the staff we had before the war. In today’s conditions, most colleagues work remotely, but the quality of project implementation is not affected, because we already had experience with this mode of operation with the beginning of quarantine in the country and, as a practice has shown, our team coped well with the tasks. The pride of TeraWatt Group has always been our friendly team, which at any time was ready to come to the aid of colleagues and is ready now. At present, our colleagues perform many other functions in addition to their core business, so that the company recovers from the effects of the war as soon as possible. Now we are focused exclusively on engineering, which are activities that can be performed without significant risks to both the domestic market and exports. In total, at the beginning of the war, we completed about 10-15 projects of various sizes and levels of complexity. Finding new orders both in Ukraine and abroad is now a priority for our company. Most of our engineers have remained in Ukraine and most of them are men who are currently unable to leave Ukraine, but our successful experience working remotely during a pandemic has shown that remote work is a viable option. A certain number of our specialists are in the EU and we have opportunities to implement projects outside Ukraine even restricted.
- Do you see any perspectives in taking orders on the domestic market of Ukraine before the end of the war?
As the war has shown, commercial opportunities always exist but questions in their number and size. It is no secret that the war has become a challenge for Ukrainian end users, which now also need to restructure their production chains, to compensate for the destroyed production facilities in the East and the South. Our regular customers, who also got significant losses during the war, are adapting to the new conditions and are ready to continue to develop their activities. So far, we have already received small contracts for the performance of works for PJSC “AMKR” and PJSC “KAMET-STEEL”. We also actively cooperate with enterprises in the food, paper, and processing industries, enterprises for the production of consumer goods. In our opinion, even in times of war, businesses should work where possible, pay taxes and give the country the resources to continue defending.
Thank you very much, Anton for this conversation. On behalf of the whole community, we wish the entire TerraWatt Group team endurance and resilience in these difficult times. We also thank you for remaining an active member of our community and setting an example of internationalization that is now so necessary for all our members. “Everything will be Ukraine” – so good luck you in Denver, and our entire community.
Alexander Yurchak, Gen. Director of APPAU