Story // 02.11.2022

Taking opportunities: Interview with Adnan Zec

Creating something new is always exciting. Setting up a new production line as well. This unique opportunity was given to Adnan Zac, process operator at SEKISUI S-LEC. And this was not the only opportunity given to him. Read about his working experience at SEKISUI and his moving past.

How long have you been with SEKISUI now? How did you hear about the company?
I started working for SEKISUI in May 2019. I had heard about the company through some friends and did some research. I liked the fact the SEKISUI S-LEC is a young company that is progressing rapidly and applied for a job at the production in Geleen, the Netherlands.

Why should customers choose SEKISUI?
SEKISUI is a company that has a clear vision and stands for safety, innovation, quality, and durability. These are important factors to stay ahead of times and succeed. SEKISUI puts its customers in the focus and aims to fulfil their wishes and needs.

What does a typical working day look like for you? What are your responsibilities and tasks?  
We as a team are responsible to run the production safely and to prevent any errors or downtimes – while continuously following quality standards. We are in close contact with other departments like the technical, maintenance and logistic department. And of course, we always have efficiency and improvement in our mind.

When I arrive at work, I always have a chat with the previous shift to learn about the current status, and things to be done. Having a good communication and knowing when to do what are the most important requirements for the job. Teamwork is another important factor – we are only good as a team.

I enjoy the variety of tasks in my job. On the one hand, I am following the production process in the control room – keeping up the production with the help of more than 20 computer screens and close communication with other departments. On the other hand, I am working with the product itself by taking samples and testing its quality with different parameters such as density, heat stability and particle size. And of course, it is also important to check all the equipment to make sure that the production runs smoothly and to prevent any safety issues. I like all three areas and it is nice to have different tasks and responsibilities throughout the working day.

Adnan likes his job at the SEKISUI S-LEC production in Geleen

If you had to choose the most memorable working experience at SEKISUI, what would that be?  
Last year, I belonged to the team that checked the new production facility in Geleen, the Netherlands, and made sure that everything runs on time. For eight months, we had to control every part of the factory to make it ready for mass production. The time was challenging and intense but also very instructive.

SEKISUI is a global company. What do you like about it?
Being a global company gives you space to manage your business worldwide. The global network enables you to keep up with trends and come up with new visions and ideas. And even though SEKISUI is a global company, it still feels like one big SEKISUI family. I like that – as well as the good combination of Japanese mindset and European standards we have here.  

SEKISUI announced its long-term vision, “Vision 2030”, in 2019.  
How do you contribute to its realisation? 

I heard about “Vision 2030” in our annual personal information meeting. The focus on safety in production caught my attention immediately. I think this is essential and part of my daily work. Safety is always on our minds, and we are working on even higher awareness amongst all employees. On top, I think that efficiency and continuous improvement through working on Kaizen projects is another key aspect of the vision and another connection to my daily tasks.

To be a bit more personal: What do you do in your free time?
I am very close to my family and like spending time with them, especially with my two daughters Adna (12) and Amina (17). I enjoy meeting new people and exploring new countries and cultures. And I like food. I am curious to taste different dishes and try new recipes. I am a very open and social person. When not working I like to help others and initiate help when necessary. 

You were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. How come you are living in the Netherlands now?
That’s a long story. On April 16th, 1993, when the war exceeded in my home village Ahmici, our house was burnt down. Both of my parents and my sister were shot.
My leg was injured but, somehow, I managed to escape and could hide in one of the houses. I was hiding for eight days, before UN peacekeepers found and rescued me. I was in a  hospital for several weeks, and then moved to my grandparents nearby. By then, I was thirteen years old – a refugee, growing up without my parents and sister and with war all around me.

This is a moving story. What happened then?
When I was 18, I decided to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina to live safely. I moved to the United Kingdom, where I lived for three years. I learned English, studied ICT (Information Computer Technology) and worked as a cashier.

In 2001, I moved to the Netherlands where I studied for operators and technicians in the process industry. I was working in hotels and restaurants, making their equipment ready for opening – before joining a production site for several years and finally applying at SEKISUI.

I was given many opportunities after I left my home country, and I am grateful for this.
And I met my wife Emira in the Netherlands. We got married in 2004.

Do you speak any Dutch?
My English skills enabled me to communicate easily in the Netherlands, but I wanted to learn the language anyway. I went to school after work and can both speak and write Dutch today. I am speaking Dutch with most of my colleagues, while my English skills are very helpful for communicating with the Japanese colleagues.  

Adnan with some of his colleagues

Do you still have any connections to the county you were born in?
I am still very close to my home village. For me, Ahmici is the place where my life changed from one day to the other. It is the place where 116 people were killed while sleeping – and the place I lost my family and my childhood. I had to be an adult when I lost everything back then.
Each year on April 16th, there is a commemoration to the innocent victims, and each year we think about something new to remember the dead. War is never good, and the victims should never be forgotten.

And I put my survival story in a book. The book is named Ahmici: The eight days of the 13-years old Adnan. This book is a heritage to those who deceased. The link for the website about the book, including some more detail, is:

What do you wish for the future?
I wish to have a quiet and secure life. I want to help my children grow up as decent people that understand life and the importance of mutual respect and understanding. I want to give them the childhood that I missed and would like to teach them to be good persons, to be positive in life and to keep going to reach their goals.

I hope that war will never reach us again and that there will be more peace in the world.

Adnan is happy in the Netherlands