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16.08.2021 Our people

Vice-Chairman of the VUJE Board of Directors, Alexander Kšiňan: We are experts in transformers and in-depth diagnostics

In the past he worked in Iceland and Greenland, managed projects in Sweden and Finland. His current position is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of VUJE, a. s., and he manages a segment different from the historically original core business - nuclear energy. His division is focused on the area of transmission and distribution of electric energy, he is in charge of customers operating transmission and distribution systems. What is the position of the division of director ALEXANDER KŠIŇAN, what makes the division special and what are its biggest projects?

Vice-Chairman of the VUJE Board of Directors, Alexander Kšiňan: We are experts in transformers and in-depth diagnostics

You come from a family working in the energy industry. Your direction in the working area was apparently clear.

That´s true. I got to energy industry through my grandfather and my father. My father was a long-term employee of Slovenské elektrárne, and later of Slovenská elektrizačná prenosová sústava (Slovak Electricity and Transmission System).

You worked as a top manager in the area of energy industry for a different company in the past. Why have you finally decided to become a member of the top management of VUJE, a. s.?

An important factor was the stable ownership environment, which enables development, but also targeted investment in development and other activities. This is a huge difference from, let´s say, corporate private equity structures where spending is minimized in this area. VUJE is a company with rich tradition and culture, it has been on the market for 45 years and has therefore been proven over time. In addition, the company is more diversified in terms of operations in multiple industries and business segments.

You are talking about the Electric Grid Control and Operation Support Division which you have been managing since 2016.

Yes. I am in charge of the Electric Grid Control and Operation Support Division; we deal with a segment of customers who are operators of transmission and distribution systems. This mostly concerns the Slovak and Czech market, but also other foreign countries. Our division consists of 150 people, including the construction implementation teams.This is approximately a quarter of the current number of employees in the entire VUJE company.

What makes your division unique within the company?

All other divisions are mainly focused on nuclear energy and individual nuclear life cycles. We represent a different segment. However, last year, the performance of our division contributed to the company's turnover with a substantial part, so we have a steady position in this area, and we are the next stable pillar outside the nuclear sector.

Which key projects did you implement?

We implemented many. As the consortium leader we recently completed two large transmission line construction projects when considering the Slovak investment parameters. The first line is located in the cadaster of Rimavská Sobota and ends at the state border with Hungary. It is therefore the key link of this southern profile between Hungary and Slovakia. The line was handed over earlier this year. At the end of last year, we handed over the national power line from Križovany to Bystričany, which was almost 80 kilometers long and it is one of the key elements of the local transmission system. It was the last project funded with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

You mentioned foreign countries, you do have successful projects there as well.

We recently implemented one of our successful foreign projects in Norway, directly behind the Arctic Circle. We worked on the construction of the new power line for three years. The project was demanding in terms of organization and logistics, mainly because our people were for a long time away from the parent company's headquarters, but also because of the specific extreme conditions in regard to the location. This also required special techniques and special approaches to work procedures. It was in the wilderness, far from home, plus the corona crisis came in the last year and we had to deal with local restrictions as part of the COVID measures. There is no company from our European region that would complete this kind of work without running business in the Scandinavian market. It really was one of the key projects that tested our skills. And they were greatly appreciated by the Client.

What are the work plans of the division for the following period?

There are always several plans in our portfolio. In Slovakia, there is currently a slowdown in investment construction, especially for large customers, so most of the work effort is concentrated in the Czech Republic. We are implementing a major reconstruction of the 110 kV substation in Uničov for the company ČEZ Distribuce, the local operator of the distribution system. Currently, one of the largest projects in Slovakia is the construction of a new substation Borský Svätý Jur for the company Západoslovenská distribučná. We are also active abroad; in Slovenia we are building a 400 kV line of Cirkovce - Pince.

A significant shift in other activities of VUJE, a. s., is also a development of revolutionary technologies and aerial diagnostics, which is basically a novelty.

At VUJE, we really do everything to be a good and complex company. We own several specialities that our competitors do not own. We are experts in transformers as well as in-depth diagnostics. A completely new product is aerial diagnostics. Our helicopter is equipped with the most modern sensors, we have an aviation laboratory, i.e. equipment that is the European leader in the diagnostic-scanning segment. These components allow us to perform any kind of operations from border monitoring through the examination of aerial visual inspections to various spectral analyzes from the air. Thanks to them we implement aerial visual diagnostics of power lines throughout Slovakia for our clients.

Managing a team of 150 people and being a Vice-Chairman of the company's Board of Directors are huge challenges and require an equally strong commitment. What is your personal motivation?

Working in the VUJE team, where we have very good and friendly relationships within the top management, as well as with my colleagues in the division. I am also used to a high-level commitment from the professional sport. I have dedicated almost all my free time to basketball, either as a player or a member of the executive committee of the Slovak Basketball Association. I have several hobbies, I enjoy music, I play guitar and drums and I was also active in the music scene for a short time. I gain energy by spending time with my family in nature or by climbing the hills with friends. And, of course, I always have to have a book on my night table.

Alexander Kšiňan, ml., Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director of Electric Grid Control and Operation Support Division of VUJE, a. s.