Anatoly Sedykh Interview for OMK Corporate Magazine

On the eve of the United Metallurgical Company's 25-th anniversary, we sat down with Anatoly Sedykh, Chair of the OMK Board of Directors, for an exclusive interview for the OMK Team Magazine. The conversation did not center exclusively on the company's accomplishments and strategy but also had to do with psychology, culture, happiness, and values, both corporate and personal.

OMK has been around for 25 years. During this period of time, which events do you believe to be of the most significance?

This is a complex philosophical question. If I were to draw a book analogy, I would say that it is not possible to select a favorite book from a thousand books you have read. Tastes and preferences change over the years. Different books talk to you at different times in life. The same is true of events in the life of a company.

But there are events and projects that have a strong emotional coloring and stay with you for decades...

All our investment projects are my favorites and the most important milestones in company history, as far as I am concerned. And I remember all of them well. But the scale of a project is not always in direct proportion to the associated emotional intensity and the size of the footprint they leave behind. For example, in 2004, VSW commissioned a ladle furnace/degasser for wheel steel secondary refining and a shot peening installation for train wheels. The amount invested there was only $15 million but it was a huge amount for us at the time. The ten-year contract with RZD could not have been possible without this equipment, however. Thus, the economic import of this project is difficult to overestimate. And it was the RZD contract that enabled us to undertake the construction of two metal facilities (the Integrated Casting and Rolling Facility and Wide Plate Mill 5000) and, of course, Russia's first line to make single-seam longitudinally welded pipes 1,420 mm in diameter that we commissioned in April 2005 at ERW Shop 4. It was a truly grand event, not just for the industry but for the entire country.

And in the summer, on June 11, 2005, we gave the green light to proceed with Casting and Rolling Facility construction. These projects were truly and heavily emotionally charged. The fact is, we broke ground for the Casting and Rolling Facility in a green field with waist-high grass. Gennady Fadeev, Sergey Kirienko, and other guests of honor erected a memorial mile stone at the time. Few people believed then that a new plant would be commissioned in that same field three years later. But when we did commission the Integrated Casting and Rolling Facility in 2008 (a very tight schedule even by global standards), I experienced an extraordinary feeling.

After all, it was the first steel mill built in Russia's recent history. And today, this is the most efficient facility in the national metal sector, which is very symbolic. I believe that the bronze medal awarded the company by Toyota this year is another major event in company history. Because in reality, there are two very important processes. The first is developing the company's industrial potential. The fact is that the fixed assets that Vyksa and the other facilities had when joining OMK required a major upgrade. This was the reason for our investment activities in the decade starting 2004. On the other hand, there is the process of building a team that is capable of using the state-of-the-art equipment effectively. It is a different process that is at least as complex. What is very important is that the company was implementing both the processes simultaneously. I believe they were both successful. This is what is enabling our current high degree of efficiency.

Mr. Sedykh, and where did the name OMK come from? Who came up with it?

I did. We discussed the matter with Evgeny Shevelev, and OMK seemed like a good name to us. There was nothing to unite at the time, of course. There is the famous quote from a Russian children's book that runs like this, "A ship is only as good as its name”. It has some truth to it. Back in 1992, the name had nothing to do with reality. Over the years, though, it began to ring true... Chusovoy, Vyksa, Almetyevsk, Chelyabinsk, Blagoveshchensk.

What about changes in the people's psyche and behavior? What are the more significant ones?
Vyksa has always had a strong engineering tradition. People knew very well how to make pipe. They knew very well how to do that even back in Soviet times. And I believe that not only have we managed to preserve that skill but also to develop it continuously over the years. I believe, moreover, that it was by marrying that excellent engineering tradition to the entrepreneurial spirit that managers from Moscow have always had, that we were able to do this well.

As far as people's attitudes are concerned, they have become much more responsible and care much more about their job.

Why is that? Is it because they see changes and understand that they are also needed? Or is it for some entirely different reason?

I think those are two of the reasons. People's attitudes have changed significantly. These days, they demonstrate greater initiative and independence. I do not think you could function any other way at a manufacturing facility. Very demanding customers, heavy competition in the markets, these are factors that naturally result in greater accountability. Also, people understand that they cannot be irresponsible or formalistic in their jobs. These are the company's values today. Those that are not prepared to accept these conditions just leave.

And if in addition, you lack appropriate professional training, then...

Professionalism, responsibility, and motivation are the be all and end all. I believe that it is very difficult for those that lack even a single one of those qualities to stay in our company. And they do leave. And the best people remain. Changes in people's attitudes are also brought about by their inner growth. On the other hand, it is a requirement of the times. Nothing else would work these days. We could not be competitive otherwise.

Mr. Sedykh, I believe the environment at our manufacturing facilities has changed drastically. There is more mutual respect and interest in change. The executives' response to workers' initiatives and requests has become quite different.

I have already said that previously: there were two separate cultures that co-existed at our facilities. The culture that we believed to be corporation-wide only went down as far as the shop foreperson or deputy foreperson at best. While down below, there existed a different culture. Unfortunately, the executives were directly to blame for that. It was ignorance of the people's everyday needs, a lack of respect, and even improper conduct on occasion that affected the way workers performed their job duties. However strange it may seem, we started building a manufacturing system from components other than those of a manufacturing system. I will not list all the components. There are over 20 of those, and they are well-known. We began by catering to the needs of our employees. These needs included manufacturing areas, workstations, working conditions, food quality, safety, social matters.

Before anyone else in the Russian metal industry, OMK started building a safe manufacturing culture and implemented global best practices related to tracking work-related and household injuries. These metrics enable us objectively to assess our facilities' industrial safety status. The important thing is that managers at all levels, including the president, are directly responsible for these metrics. Unlike other Russian metal producers, OMK is developing its industrial safety culture alongside the safety of our production processes. Thereby, we are assuring safe equipment operation which in turn enables us to make our employees "doubly" safe.

We deliberately started by looking for solutions to these problems first because we wanted to demonstrate by our actions that people were at the center of everything as far as we were concerned. And I believe that what we have been able to accomplish today is the people's response to our care. After all, a production system is a two-way street. Company management is meeting employees half-way, and the employees are becoming closer to the company. It is only through this collaboration that we are able to accomplish the high performance which the company is demonstrating today.

In 2005, your vision of OMK's objectives for the following several decades was to build the most efficient steel producer in the industry by achieving industry best performance in productivity and competitiveness. What have you been able to get done in the time elapsed and to what degree?

The amount we have invested since 2005 is over $5 billion. We have built the world's two most advanced steel making facilities (the Integrated Casting and Rolling Facility and Wide Plate Mill 5000) and a unique suite to produce large diameter pipe. Over these 12 years, our financial performance has been stable whatever the market situation or the condition of the economy in general. This is a great accomplishment. Last year, we managed to cut management costs considerably. From the productivity standpoint, we have long been an industry leader. In 2016, for instance, the Integrated Casting and Rolling Facility was rated first in productivity among all the manufacturers in Russia's metal sector. The Facility's productivity is over 4 times the industry average and stands at over RUB 26 million per person. In addition, thanks to a collaboration between the various manufacturing functions, the VSW Engineering and Design Center, and the manufacturing and technical expert evaluation function, the Line Pipe Business Unit was able to achieve a level of production at the Integrated Casting and Rolling Facility that was greater than the performances stated in the equipment delivery contract.
I can also say that the operational performance of business units within VSW that seemed unattainable in 2013 has already been reached.

We have made a great stride forward in developing the production system. And the fact that we were awarded the Toyota Bronze Medal is the best evidence of that as well.

The quality of our product has increased substantially. Awards in major international tenders are an indication that we are successfully competing against world leaders. OMK has the best “offshore resume” in the world. Our customers know that today, OMK makes quality product and is a reliable and responsible supplier. The high level of satisfaction on the part of our customers is evidenced by the fact that we have been named Russia’s best supplier to the energy industry and the best supplier to international projects more than once over the past few years.

By expanding Wide Plate Mill 5000, efficiently managing our long-term supply contracts and the supply chain, we have been able to build the fastest and the most reliable order fulfillment system for large-diameter pipe which is confirmed by our strategic customers, such as Gazprom and Transneft.

Mr. Sedykh, are there any other factors, in addition to the ones you have already listed, that help the company be a leader?

I believe that it is our desire to develop continuously and to use effective tools and technologies in all areas, including the corporate management system. In 2013 for instance, we proceeded to introducing a new goal setting and performance management system.

In a nutshell, our performance management system is designed to look for and utilize reserves in the company’s core businesses. I would like to point out that the system’s key principles include an emphasis on achieving measurable outcomes not just completing actions; continuous improvement: we strive to rise above our past selves even though we may have exceeded industry levels; transparency for employees.  We measure operational performance improvements in terms of money such that managers are able to focus their management solutions on areas with the most reserves and that each employee is able to evaluate his or her contribution to achieving the company’s key financial performance indicators.

Three-year roadmaps have been developed for all business units. The plan is to update the functional strategies in key areas (sales, purchasing, supply chain management, new product development, finance, information technology, etc.) by the end of 2017. We are also fine-tuning the objective monitoring system by developing and implementing reporting formats which enable us to identify deviations from the parameters defined by objectives and measures prescribed by the roadmaps, to analyze the causes of deviations and introduce corrections.

Our goal setting system today is completely aligned with the OMK corporate culture and core values: result focus, desire for continuous improvement, and professionalism.
I would like to point out that it is the performance and the result management culture as well as continuous development of management tools that enable us to take our place among the best and to see prospects for the future.

Which problems and objective appear to you to be the first order of business for the next few years?

Up until now, improving operational performance has been our primary resource. There are two principal areas here as well. On the one hand, there are our investment processes, new projects. And on the other, there is increased productivity and general efficiency, what we refer to as performance indicators. We have recently launched a major project with a RUB 40 billion price tag. We have virtually broken ground on ERW Shop 1 at VSW. I believe that it is a very interesting and promising project. There are other ideas as well. But they are not yet ready to be made public. I believe that the company’s investment plans are rather extensive. They may be less grand today than they were 5 to 7 years ago. But that is only natural since today's markets are rather well served, and it is much more difficult to find niches. We are successful, however. Witness the construction of the new pipe mill and a finishing facility for casing.  Investment projects are also under way at other company facilities. We are proceeding with upgrades at our vehicle spring facility in Chusovoy whereas in Chelyabinsk, we have broken ground on the construction of the Urals Special Valve Plant which will make the manufacture of special-purpose ball valves 100% local by 2021.

From the standpoint of operational performance, I believe that first and foremost we must continue developing both the production and the goal setting systems. Any time we stop, we will be taking a step backwards. We must press on. Vyksa is the only place that has a Toyota bronze medal, and all the other facilities should set themselves goals that are equally ambitious. I am sure they have what it takes to do it. And Vyksa should be making the next step, striving for 4 points and a silver medal. Why not?

Mr. Sedykh, here is something you said three years ago: “Effective management is mostly about the ability to foresee a problem”. You have already mentioned today that the pipe market is saturated. We have to look for new niches and ways, introduce new products. How are we doing that?

We are one of the few companies in Russia’s metal industry that has a real functioning research and development facility with state-of the-art equipment and skilled personnel capable of solving even the most complex problems. To have that, we established a Research Lab Center in 2011. The Research Lab Center enables us to do technology research and development related for the production of steel, rolled goods, and pipe, including coatings. Where prior to establishing the lab, we were able to undertake 4 to 5 R&D projects a year, right now, we are able to do 10 times as many.

To get ready for new challenges, OMK has built an efficient system for all the functions to interface (engineering and technology center, strategy and marketing directorate, business units) designed to generate ideas, to enable new product development, roll-out, and delivery to end users. I believe that a unique result has been achieved: profit from the sale of new product accounts for 50% of the total.

The process for developing and rolling out new products is designed to maximize the return on investment.
The development of a supply chain management system should be noted as a separate success. Optimized routing, a drastic reduction in feedstock and product inventories, quicker and more reliable deliveries which is of great value to our customers. On the subject of interfacing to our key suppliers and customers, we operate based on long-term contracts and use pricing formulas with some customers. This helps increase the transparency of our processes and get the required synergies from all the market players’ joining forces.

Based on your views and thoughts, how is OMK exceptional? How are we different from other companies? How is OMK unique?

I think that every company is unique in its own way. But uniqueness is not the real issue here. Sometimes, uniqueness is made up of features that are not always attractive. I believe that it would be better to talk about our strong suits. I think that uniqueness is part of our corporate culture which I believe to be very humane. It is designed to make life interesting and rewarding for OMK employees, to make the conditions in which they create meet the highest standards. We care for our people, and our people respond in kind. That is why OMK has such a strong team spirit. In this Company, people support, respect, and value each other. The employee engagement metric has been increasing steadily over the years. We are ahead of other metal majors in certain engagement components such as brand satisfaction, rewards and recognition, and communication.

I am very proud of the fact that many of our executives have been with the company for over 20 years. Strong individuals are not leaving the company but growing with it. This is very important for me. However, different situations may arise. There are many instances when an individual develops at a faster pace than a company and leaves. There are others when a company develops at a faster pace than individuals in which case it is the first to want to part company with such individuals. We at OMK, on the other hand, are able to listen to and hear each other. We are willing to learn and improve. Therefore, our executives always have balance and a mutual interest.

Mr. Sedykh, over the 25 years of Company history, which individuals had the most important parts to play in your life?

My life was great influenced by Gennady Fadeev, Serafim Afonin, Zhanna Tsapina, Boris Antipov.  They are a model for me, both personally and professionally. Zhanna and Boris always inspired me by their work and people ethics, responsible attitude, loyalty to the facility, the company, and the country.  They came to work at VSW till their last day. And they were full of energy and ideas even at 80. I am very thankful that fate brought me together with Gennady Fadeev and Serafim Afonin. They are managers of incredible talent, real statesmen, brave, full of initiative, energetic, and positive.  Each of them left behind a brilliant impression both on the company and in my life. We are still in touch with Gennady Fadeev. I find his ideas, counsel, and observations to be very valuable even now.

I am also thankful to my colleagues that I have been working with for over 20 years. Vladimir Markin, Natalya Eremina, Eduard Stepantsov... It is not possible, of course, to list all the mentors and friends. But I am truly thankful to everyone without exception.

As far back as ten years ago, you said that a worker's life is not end to the when he or she leaves the premises. We have always believed that the environment an individual is in once out of the plant gate is of basic importance. That is the reason our company has a multitude social and cultural projects that help shape that new environment wherever we operate. Are you going to be supportive of the same ideal going forward?

There is no other country in the world that has as many monocities as Russia where a single employer defines the life of an entire community. And it is natural that we, as responsible citizens of this country, cannot but feel responsible for those communities that are hosts to our facilities. It follows, primarily, from the fact that the executives of many of these towns are former employees of our facilities. They are very worthy individuals with which the company was loath to part. Therefore, we have a very strong cadre leading the communities where we operate. I believe that this is the first important contribution.

The second component of our contribution is our involvement in the various municipal and regional programs and the programs that we are implementing on our own. These include OMK Partnership and the Start Your Own Business Competition. Among the various cultural projects, I would name Vyksa's Art-Ovrag Festival as special. This festival has acquired national prominence. And Vyksa can be justifiably proud of the many art objects created in the town over the seven years the festival has been around. I have been a participant in the festival many times and I believe that Vyksa has acquired a new look. A patriarchal Russian town has been taken over by contemporary art, and Vyksa has become known both as a center of industry and one of the nation’s festival and cultural centers.

Several days ago, I returned from a trip to the towns of Myshkin and Uglich. I was pleasantly surprised by the care shown by people there towards the history of these towns and by the fact that they are promoting this historical heritage to attract tourists to festivals, celebrations, and fairs. I believe that our towns have the same exact potential. Both Vyksa and Chusovoy. Chusovoy, for instance, is a good location to develop ecotourism. The Chusovaya River is one of the prettiest rivers both in Russia and globally. I am able to make this definitive statement because I am a traveler of experience and have sailed down the Chusovaya more than once. Of course, local authorities have to invest a little effort and to demonstrate some out-of-the-box thinking to increase the number of tourists coming in. This will create a win all around: for small and medium-sized businesses, the town infrastructure, and the residents.

You brought up our OMK Partnership competition for grants that we have been holding for 3 years already. Being a caring individual is not just fashion. An individual of this type is, in fact, in demand in the community at large. On the one hand, we have a production system which helps people propose initiatives and changes. The changes are implemented and affect production itself as well as working conditions. On the other hand, the OMK Uchastiye Foundation and the OMK Partnership competition are out there working with the general public, and that means hundreds and hundreds of volunteers that effect a change in the living conditions and the quality of life in the communities where we operate.

Charity and volunteerism are very important for building character. It is not all about the amount that you are willing to spread around or the number of hours that you may have spent in a hospice, for instance, but about the sincere and selfless desire to help people. And we are proud that OMK employees get involved in charity and help people in need. Events like Donate a Christmas Tree, Generous Tuesday, Join Us for Going Back to School, Boon from the Vegetable Garden, and others have always been able to find a response from our employees. And that is a reflection of the employees' active outlook. We have always supported and will continue to support this choice they have made.

Mr. Sedykh, what would you wish company employees?

Professionalism is the most important thing, of course. You have to improve continuously on a professional level. But that is something you can acquire and develop. I believe that a caring and motivated attitude is just as important. If a person cares and is motivated, he or she will be able to achieve any goal. This, I am absolutely convinced of.

Is the nature of motivation important to you?

In reality, it is the outcome that is important. It is not that important what your motivation is. You could dream about changing the world and humanity all the time and do nothing. On the other hand, I can relate if a person takes care of simple things that are extremely critical for his or her family. First, you have to buy a washer, then a car, then get your child an education... But in reality, after a while, pecuniary incentives are no longer effective. And that is when spiritual incentives must kick in for a person to continue to develop. As stated in the hierarchy of needs theory developed by famous US psychologist Maslow, a person's needs develop from the most basic to the more advanced, and a person must first meet fundamental needs for higher needs to emerge.

What are these higher needs? Recognition, first and foremost?

According to Maslow, the need for self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid. As for recognition, a person needs recognition from those around him or her, of course, to feel happy because recognition boosts self-esteem. Therefore, what people around you think of you is a very important high-level need.

You could ask yourself what your team appreciates you for. A healthy team produces a healthy individual. An unwell team produces ailing individuals. I believe that OMK's team is very healthy in this regard. And its health stems from the fact that, in reality, an individual's interests are aligned with those of the company and society at large.

Why does a company need values at all? Is it not enough to know that an employee possesses the necessary skills and meets the principal requirements of his or her job?

According to psychologists, the number of people that we can stay socially connected to on a continuous basis is at most 200 individuals. Thanks to a team of like-minded people, values exist and evolve. Whether targets are achieved is also assessed based on the same values. Hence, our task is to make the OMK corporate culture serve as foundation for all our teams and to align all values for each team and the company as a whole.
Here is an example. We are involved in the Nord Stream-2 project at this time. We have recently been awarded a prize for best pipe geometry. Our pipe turned out to have the best roundness. But it was not just a single joint that turned out very round but rather, thousands of joints. And that is a great outcome for the team, an outcome that was produced through a coordinated and skilled effort of a large number of people. And what was it that enabled us to get this outcome? The fact that product quality and product compliance with strict requirements became the most important common objective for all those that were involved in making the pipe.
This enabled our customer to save huge amounts of money since it has to rent enormous pipe-laying vessels whose time is monstrously expensive. And this means in turn, that in a future tender, our company will have an advantage in the final evaluation given positive past history and will be able to get a new order leaving competition behind. So, it is a win-win all around. We get a large order, and everyone has a job. If everyone has a job, everyone gets paid. If everyone gets paid, people will pay taxes helping the company, the town, and the country move forward. That is to say, if a person goes about doing a specific task in a responsible manner, the specific task being performing an individual operation well, this creates great value, in fact. Both for the individual, and everyone around him or her. That is what a good system is. That is also the core of my response to your question why a company would need values at all. A good system of values is the backbone of every corporation. Everything else derives from it: a team with values is primary while plant and equipment are secondary.

Mr. Sedykh, the things you have said sound elegant and rather inspiring. But it is human nature that it is not always possible to achieve the desired outcome without being demanding and without supervision.

No one is arguing that point. Indeed, we will not be unable to get significant outcomes without being demanding or without supervision. But a manager must first be demanding of him or herself. And of his or her subordinates also. Except that demands should be fair and without a double standard. People will never do their utmost or perform even the most important tasks for a leader who is not fair. If your words do not align with your actions, people will not believe you. And one more thing, you should never confuse being demanding and being cruel or rude. I can state with certainty that at this stage in OMK's development, we consider trust and fairness to be our core values alongside professionalism and teamwork.

What is the management philosophy you believe in? Which type of manager do you find appeals to you the most?

I think that the best manager is the manager that embraces partnership, that is capable of relating not only to his or her peers but also to subordinates as equals. That is why it is not the administrative but the partnership culture that is practiced by this company.

Mr. Sedykh, do you believe yourself to be a perfectionist? From the outside, it appears that you are a 100% perfectionist. That is to say that if you do a thing it is worth doing with abandon, understanding the detail, and achieving absolute perfection.

Frankly, that is a character flaw of mine.

Surely, this is a character trait that is not to be judged so harshly, is it?

Everything within reason. On occasion polishing something may go too far to an extent at which point the effort expended is not worth the result.

We started this interview with you saying that it was not possible to name a favorite book. I would like to revisit that statement. Could you expand on your relationship with books. I know that you read a lot and that for you, a book is not only a source of knowledge but also a source of inspiration and new ideas. When did you develop a taste for reading? Back in high school?

Yes, I did read a lot in school. I gulped books down all the way through graduation. Later, I also read a lot but I did not have as much leisure, of course.

And these days, are they mostly books related to management, philosophy, and psychology?

Yes, I suppose so. I may not read as much fiction now as I used to, unfortunately. I read magazines about travel and research expeditions, nature, the environment. I like books on human history very much. I recently read "Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind". I would simply recommend it to everyone. It was written by Dr. Yuval Harari. I am currently reading a second book on the subject. Its title is Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Who wrote it?

It was authored by American researcher Jared Diamond. This book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 in the non-fiction category.

Why are these books of interest to you?

They give insight into the place that humans occupy in the scheme of things. This is a view of human development from a point that is practically out in space. The scale and the depth of the observations made by these writers are impressive. I also enjoy books on astronomy and psychology. And on management and general philosophy, of course. For example, I recently read two books by Nassim Taleb: Black Swan and Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. Very interesting books.

Mr. Sedykh, if I may ask, what changes have taken place over the 25 years in your personal world of values?

I do not feel like I have changed in any significant way. I have acquired more experience, tranquility, inner confidence. As for values, they are created during one's childhood and rarely change drastically. My parents taught me to be industrious and to keep my word once given. My father has always set a great example for me. He worked as senior foreman at the Pechenganickel Combine in the Murmansk Region. It involved a lot of hard work and a lot of responsibility. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and many medals.

Did your father have a motto?

One of the greats said that "a son does not do what his father says but what his father does". The lives of your parents are your best reference. Words can never be a substitute for deeds or actions. We frequently hear lofty words that are empty. But when you see people live right on a daily basis with the right attitudes to work and other people, it tends to stay with you.

How did you become a metallurgist?

I was born in the Town of Zapoliarny in the Murmansk Region. This is where I graduated high school enrolling at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys afterwards. However, there is an element of happenstance to my becoming a metallurgist. Initially, I thought to make astronomy my life's work. Seeing the Milky Way, the Northern Lights made me want to become an astronomer. But in the end, I took the entrance examinations at the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute and was fairly successful.

Then, at the request of my parents, I went to MISiS and decided to enroll there under Vladimir A. Romenets. I talked it over with my father who was working in non-ferrous metallurgy, and he told me: "Ferrous metals have always been and will remain a large industry. There is more opportunity there. This is where you should enroll." And seeing as how my mother had a background in economics and was employed as an economist, I enrolled at the Chair of Economics and Production Management.

As far as I understand, you parents arrived in Zapoliarny fresh out of college?

Indeed. Zapoliarny was one of the national construction projects that young people went to. My parents went there out of conviction, they were true enthusiasts, romantics, and innovators. That is where they met and married, where I was born. The period when I was going to school was the time when the Baikal-Amur Railway, KAMAZ, and other youth projects were being constructed. We did, in fact, believe in the social order we were living in. It enabled people to get a reasonably good education and offered one of the best health care systems in the world.

What motivates and inspires you today? New horizons? Or is it something else?

My motivation is anything that has to do with the responsibility for the people working for the company. Because I know and I feel these people need me and I can be useful to them. This makes a lot of sense to me. And I still find work very interesting. Our team has a lot of large-scale and interesting jobs, and it also has a healthy ambition to do something else that is important.

Something exceptional?

Many things, do them better and in a more interesting fashion. I derive a lot of pleasure from all this. I am caught up in the process. I like my job. I like interacting with people. You get tired on occasion, of course, and take off on vacation. And after a while you realize that you want to go back and be in the thick of things. I cannot imagine what I would do if I did not work.

Every life comprises three components: work, family, and friends. The balance of those three is what makes a person happy.
And as far as that goes, there is no doubt that I am a very happy person because I have a job I love, a family I love, and friends I love. And I pray to God that this continues for as long as possible.

Thank you for an open and interesting discussion.

Interviewed by Alexander Kastravets.