Among the European Union, Spain is the largest Aquaculture producer with a production of around 348.000 tones in 2018. And it is very diverse when it comes to technologies and species involved in the sector. Mussel takes 50% of the production, Sea Bass 5% and Sea Bram and Rainbow Trout 6%. At least 5.000 aquaculture organizations exist in the country, which includes marine and freshwater farms. According to the most recent data by FAO, about 19.000 Spaniards worked directly in the aquaculture sector in 2015.T
AquacultureTalent has fulfilled requisitions for different companies in Spain. Grupo Nueva Pescanova is one of them. They have over 10.000 employees spread in four continents and with aquaculture operations in Ecuador, Nicaragua, India and Guatemala. In January of 2020, AquacultureTalent had the opportunity to successfully place Guillermo Renancio as the Director of Technology, Expansion and Alliance. Today, exactly one year after this signing, we have the chance to talk with Guillermo and learn about what this past year has brought him.
Guillermo is 37 years old and was born in Zaragoza. He is a Telecommunications Engineer by the University of Zaragoza in Spain and complete his studies in the Swedish Lund University and got an MBA from IE Business School. Before we contacted Guillermo, he was working in digital innovation and the Internet of Things, developing projects for several industries in the Spanish market.
What caught your interest in Aquaculture?
“No doubt, within the food production sector, aquaculture is the industry that shows the most future in the next few years, and the key factor is its sustainability. Aquaculture is strategic and fundamental for my professional development and has allowed me to work on projects than link me to that sustainability of the marine environment and the environment in which we live. For me professionally and personally, working in aquaculture was an opportunity I could not let slide.”
How was it to come from sectors completely unrelated to Aquaculture, to being immerse in the industry? And how has technology played a role in all this? Technology and Aquaculture.
“Applying the technologies I work with -AI and big data- in other sectors like banking, agriculture and automotive, gave me a multisector scope. And aquaculture has allowed me to know and do things I could not have done any other way. But when it comes to the technologies there is not much difference.”
“This a company with digital innovation on its DNA and with great motivations to leap from 2.0 to 4.0. I was lucky to land here. A company that has allowed me to travel to places and work with people I would not have ever imagined. In this company and industry -characterized by adventure and enjoyment- I got to know the marine environment, which is fascinating. There is so much to learn and I think that is priceless.”
“Technological innovation has been a trend for about 20 years. But for the past 4 years we find that most companies have taken it seriously for company growth. As a matter of fact every day we find more digital CEOs. Digital CEOs understand and manage their own data, using analytical tools, applying technologies to their processes. Because not doing all these can translate to losing market competitivity and being left out.”
Technology and Aquaculture = Change
“Technology is a tool that we have and helps us change the world. But its us, the people, that need to change the world. Change our mindset, and the desire to transform things. We need to adopt and adapt to new technologies, to change the way we do things. Is the organization, processes, people, and company culture we need to transform. Technology will always work, but the key is understanding how it works and learn to use it in our favor.”
“I believe the aquaculture sector will transform in the next 2-3 years. And that will be thanks to the use we give to the different technologies we start adapting today.” Technology and Aquaculture.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced this past year? and what have you liked the most about your experience in the aquaculture sector?
“The biggest challenge in the industry is the lack of these technologies. Since our employees are not familiar with them, the adaptation period and learning curve take time and demand training and support. The things I have liked the most are the different species and the work environment, from the marine environment to the cultural climate.”
How was your experience with AquacultureTalent’s recruitment process?
“It started around September 2019, everyone in the company made me acknowledge that this would be a great personal and professional experience. AquacultureTalent accompanied me along the hiring process and through a very complex negotiation stage. And I understood how important and thrilling is to take a leap of faith at least once in our life with their help. They were key to me accepting Grupo Nueva Pescanova’s offer.”
What was it like to join the industry in the midst of a pandemic?
“We were confined for four months. So it was only after four months that I was able to actually go to my workplace. I was working mainly from home.”
“I have seen everything I was told. The aquaculture sector is very resilient and capable of bringing healthy and nutritious proteins to the table of millions of people around the world, despite the pandemic. And they have a mindset and a character that allows them to move on from any adversity, it has been a life lesson.”
What would you recommend to someone with the opportunity to join this industry?
“That they will be facing their life project. There is life beyond consulting and audit companies, beyond banking, insurance, and IT companies. And curiously this industry is a lot mot thrilling and has a bigger impact in our society than we actually think it does.”