One of the things that make me passionate about Aquaculture is seeing so many people engage in this industry in such a genuine and heartfelt way. We have been able to share stories of growth and success all around the world, and recently I got to interview Antonio Coli. Antonio Coli is from Greece and he recently landed a great job opportunity with Planktonik AS in Norway, as their Global Sales Director. Antonio Engaged with Selonda/Avramar for over 16 years and is ready to keep growing with the global Aquaculture Industry. Today, I want to share his story of change and Aquaculture with you. So, Let’s dive in!
How Antonio Coli got into Aquaculture
Antonio says that initially, he did not put deep thoughts into joining Aquaculture. Growing up, he was never surrounded by anyone involved in the industry or anything marine sciences-related. Aquaculture and fisheries were unknown fields for him. And that was sort of the main reason, the unknown. “I wasn’t very much aware of the sector. But when I had to go into university, Greece was receiving a lot of private investment for the Aquaculture industry”. This meant a lot of companies were starting their activities within the Greek Aquaculture Sector, with a kick from the State as well as the European Union. So, Antonio thought that it would probably be a good idea to get involved. Soon after starting his studies, he realized that it was a sector that could offer him the excitement he was looking for in a career.
One of the reasons Antonio knew this was an industry he wanted to be a part of is because it covers a wide spectrum of activities. “You can do and work with many things at the same time. It is never boring. There is always a new challenge or a new opportunity. You get to work with biology, nutrition, project management, environment, HR, finances, planning, sales, business. Everything. Within the Aquaculture industry, you can develop in many areas locally and internationally, and that is exciting”.
Selonda and Avramar
Selonda was founded in 1981 in southern Greece, the company became one of the largest Sea Bream and Sea Bass producers in the world. Later acquired by Amerra, and merged with Nireus and Andromeda. In 2021 this merge was officially named Avramar, which is now the largest producer of Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Corvina, and Pagrus in the world. The organization’s core is their people, and are focused on nurturing creativity to be able to deliver the best product to their consumers. The company currently reports around 2,300 employees. Their culture is based on Teamwork, passion, and enthusiasm, and it is thanks to these they have become the Mediterranean’s nexus of aquaculture excellence, with a sustainability pledge.
Antonio Coli’s Life at Selonda/Avramar
Antonio joined Selonda in 2003. After a few years abroad, he wanted to come back to Greece and work with a company with strong know-how. At the time, Selonda was among the leaders from the know-how point of view, says Antonio. This made them a great place where he felt he could develop his career. “I could see and plan a career path. I started as a manager. Always doing my best efforts because I wanted to develop my career and I wanted to exploit this opportunity. And I got this at Selonda. There were difficult times, of course. But what I always was is a strong professional with a good relationship with other people. We faced a lot of challenges, the group was expanding and developing very rapidly. With creativity and efforts, I contributed to the growth of the organization”.
Eventually, after many changes within the organization, and a lot of growth, Antonio became part of the top management of the company as Director of Group, Hatcheries’ Division. The experiences at Selonda, not only taught him a lot about Aquaculture but also business and management. Even in the most difficult times, where resources were limited, Antonio was always able to find the right motivation to keep pushing for great results. This made him become a good leader, providing and nurturing a good and healthy environment among his colleagues and employees. “You know, usually in life, there are periods when things get rough. But, if you go through them with a good team, good people, and a good environment, you can overcome anything. And this was my case at Selonda.”
Planktonik and Antonio Coli
Antonio grew with and made Selonda and Avramar grow throughout the years. But he felt like his cycle at the organization, after 16 years, needed to come to an end. “I generally believe that cycles should get completed at some point. During my time at Selonda/Avramar I offered and gained a lot and thought I needed to get out of my comfort zone and start developing in other areas. Sales were never my main field of activity. Although throughout the years I gained experience in the area. Here at Planktonic, apart from being in the management team, my role is mainly in sales. Which has given me a new arena in which I can develop new skills and competencies. The ultimate goal is to contribute to converting a medium-size company to a large-scale one. My prior experience in company development and expansion is important to reach that target”.
And Antonio’s goal with the organization is to build new strategies, tactics, contribute to the organization’s vision and mission, investment plans, and look for future synergies and developments. This is in his management role along with the CEO, CTO, and CFO. On the other hand, as a Global Sales Director, he is looking to build a strong product portfolio, perform market analysis, design marketing, and sales strategies, and materialize the company’s vision and mission.
The Deserted Island Dilemma
So, if Antonio had to choose one thing from the Aquaculture industry to take to other sectors, what would that be? “Teamwork. It is necessary. Aquaculture is an activity that is related and dependent on many activities and disciplines. It relies on the work of many people with different skills, talents, knowledge, and personalities. And all of them together are necessary to achieve the proper results. Teamwork is one of the strongest aspects of the industry. It is one that I have been able to develop throughout my career and that should be equally important also for other sectors”.