Published on May 27, 2019
Get to know our team: Piotr Skalij
Throughout his 11 years with the company, Piotr has worn many hats. Logistics, transportation, planning, sales, and finally, now in his current role as Director of Operations for Poland. With every experience, Piotr brings enthusiasm and passion for supporting the Polish turkey market and the growers he loves to collaborate with.
Can you tell me a little about how you got involved in the industry?
I started working at Grelavi in 2008 before it was later acquired by Hendrix Genetics. When I started, I was responsible for logistics, transportation, commercial planning, and purchasing. My educational background is in economics and finance, and before working for Hendrix Genetics, I worked for Michellin Tires, also in the supply chain and logistics department.
Over the years, my role shifted to tackling sales and then became the sales team manager. I became more and more involved in sales, and less involved in purchasing, but my key responsibilities still included commercial planning and transportation. In 2018, I became responsible for the production side as well.
In February 2019, I became the Director of Operations for Poland, focusing on sales, production,. logistics, and finance. This gradual progression through the company has been helpful since it’s given me the opportunity to learn about each moving part in the company. I’ve also been able to get to know the people on my team very well over the years.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about working in the industry?
We work in such an interesting industry where we are at the start of the food production chain. I feel we play a very important role in feeding everyone in the world.
Poland is an interesting market to work in since turkey is, on one hand, very niche compared to other animal proteins, but it is growing very quickly here. Within the last couple of years, the market has increased very rapidly and this has been very exciting to be a part of. We as Hybrid, Grelavi, and Hendrix Genetics have made a big contribution to developing turkey growth in Poland by providing a very good product, but also by providing the information, skills and training. I enjoy working with our customers, who are not just great in business, they are great people.
I enjoy working with people from all over: Europe, the United States, and Canada. These technicians have supported the Polish industry, and this contribution to the growing market in Poland is very important. I’m very proud of this and that we are well known for this level of support in the Polish market.
What is also important for me is the company itself. I appreciate working for Hendrix Genetics because we have very high environmental and welfare standards, while also being fair and honest to its workers. We are the leading genetics company in the world, and this is something I can be very satisfied and proud to be a part of.
As Director of Operations, what are some of the processes we keep in place that help turkey growers in Poland?
Grelavi, from the beginning, not just offered a great product, but also offered technical support. I remember when we started to talk to our customers about looking at the details of water quality, environmental conditions, and controlling gases, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. We were the first company to bring this to the attention of Polish growers. It was a true revolution in the market.
We always want to develop our sales through good performance. If you have good performance in your barn, in turn, you will buy more from us. We try to support growers with a number of different tools. We share technical information through many organized conferences, guides, and posters. Technical articles are also available from our experts in Indyk Polski on topics related to biosecurity, environment, water, etc. Another valuable opportunity we have provided is the chance for key customers to visit the USA, the largest turkey producing country in the world. During this visit, they have been able to observe ABF (antibiotic free) production practices that they can then apply at home.
Piotr with Polish growers on a recent visit to the USA
Finally, we are the originators of the Young Growers Club. We started this club five years ago to support the next generation of turkey growers by giving them access to information on turkey production. So if you are a turkey grower and need support, there are many different ways you can access information for better performance.
With the new European pedigree facility opening in the next year, what are some of the benefits for the growers you work with?
The new pedigree facility in Europe will make us even stronger than we are now. By breeding and selecting turkeys that are raised in a European environment, using local diets, management practices, and housing systems, we will be even better equipped to provide products for the market. This investment is an example of our commitment to the European market. Growers will see the benefits in products that have been specially selected for their market, now and in the future.
Outside of work, what could we find you doing, listening to, reading, watching?
Besides my work, I really enjoy spending time with my family. I have two sons who are 11 and 5 years old, and they keep me very busy with their different activities in sports. When we're not with the kids, my wife and I love music and enjoy going to the theatre or philharmonic symphony together.