An interview with Gábor Windt (Windt Technologies)
Gábor Windt, the company’s CEO, joined the family business after spending his early life dedicated to karate and subsequent years developing his personal and professional background. We caught up with him to find out more about the company’s cutting-edge products and how his unique perspective has helped shape Windt into the business it is today.
Windt Technologies has been awarded Global Insulation Technology Company of the Year by the Corporate LiveWire Innovation and Excellence Awards 2021. The judging panel were blown away by the company’s advances in sustainable technology and widespread global success. They commended the business for their successful bid to insulate the stadiums that are being built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, thereby assisting the country in its carbon neutrality goals for the project.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?
My formal education is in business and economics, but my professional development started much earlier in life. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, so unlike most of my peers, I did not grow up seeing my parents work nine to five. Instead, they were investing all their time and energy into the family business. From an early age, I learned how starting your own company could require a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but I also saw the deep satisfaction that it could bring. Importantly, I learned from their failures, but also their successes. By the time I finished college, I had already started multiple businesses. I owe much of my current success to wisdom gained in my private life. The moment I got my personal life in order, my professional success came.
How has your early life as a former blackbelt and European champion of karate helped you overcome challenges in your professional career?
Those who have a background in karate know how deeply you apply important features from the sport into your daily life, such as discipline and taking full responsibility for your own actions. My actions are the only factors I can control that will always directly influence the result, so if I change my perspective, the result will change as well. The mindset that I needed to achieve success in karate has instilled in me a general mindset focused on continuous personal development.
I have no issue standing up for myself or those around me, and I have no problems ‘fighting’ for what I believe in. This mentality, when coupled with my strong ability to concentrate, gives me a presence that is crucial when making deals. Importantly, karate also taught me how to see someone’s weak points, which never hurts.
The most important difference between karate and business is that in karate, only one side can win. In business, the key to long-term success is creating win-win situations. I have seen this play out repeatedly; by treating our partners and clients like collaborators and not opponents, we have established connections that generate far more business in the long run.
Who, or what, is your biggest inspiration?
I know it may be cliché, but both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have influenced me greatly. I have a very strong sense of morals and ethics; some even say I am too strict in this way. But I firmly believe in supporting others, both directly and indirectly. In business, I always wanted to engage in activities that create real value for the world; I do not want my time on Earth spent doing something that contributes little towards the common good. In my personal life, I have always sought to be trustworthy, approachable, dependable, and aware of what is affecting those around me.
What made you decide to move away from your individual achievements and begin investing more time in Windt Technologies?
I took over the position as CEO of Windt Technologies after I concluded that I could achieve all my goals, personal and professional, in one company. The potential of Windt Technologies to bring about positive change to this world is enormous. Our products all focus on making the world a more energy-efficient place. We want to make each industry more cost-effective and resource-effective, and that means developing technology that saves time, energy, and raw material. Achieving these savings does not only lead to reduced costs, but it is also better for our planet. Our products genuinely have the potential to revolutionise industries globally. I could not pass this opportunity up!
What were the primary changes and growth strategies you implemented after becoming CEO?
I immediately initiated an extensive organisational development project with an internationally renowned consulting firm, Mentors & Partners Group. This project included a corporate restructuring, rebranding, redesign, and communication campaign; in short, professional development at every level of the company, myself included. I sought to turn this family-run company into a solid organisation.
At the same time, I started to work with a mentor who helps to develop successful international business owners, CEOs, head coaches, university presidents, etc. For me, it was critically important that I could be better in my work, and in my role as CEO. I put a lot of energy into that.
Because our products are so unique, we also had to develop entirely new testing and certification methods to assess the efficacy of our technology. Additionally, we are going through ISO certifications, acquiring certifications from organisations like TÜV, and developing new and improved products. Suffice to say, we have been busy.
What is Tarrasch07 and how is it helping to revolutionise the construction sector?
Tarrach07 is a paint-like, liquid thermal insulation material with extraordinary properties. Traditional insulation is typically 10cm of thick material. Tarrasch07, on the other hand, has the look and feel of a thick layer of paint (1mm). Its base material was originally developed in Russia during the Space Race. It was used to protect items that came into contact with extreme cold (Siberia) or extreme heat (rocket ignition).
We have developed the product to make it ideal for the construction sector. One team of three people can effectively insulate 400-600m2 of a building in one day, which saves both time and money. And because it is applied like paint using a standard sprayer, it is incredibly easy to apply to even the most difficult areas that were once almost impossible to insulate. While traditional insulation must be installed at the construction phase, Tarrasch07 can be applied retroactively, even years after completion (which is critical for preserving historic structures).When applied externally, Tarrasch07 can seal any structure and minimise solar heat gain, all while guarding against encroaching moisture and allowing entrapped moisture to escape.Once applied, it does not add significant weight to the structure, yet immediately starts generating energy consumption savings.
Are there any other industries that could benefit from its unique properties?
Every industry can benefit because it solves a challenging problem that affects every sector: heat transfer. Take, for example, air-conditioning your home. If your house is not well insulated, you have to run the air-conditioning constantly to keep your house cool on a hot day. Conversely, if your house is insulated well, your energy bill will be lower because of it. When heating and cooling a home, just one millimetre of Tarrasch07 is 10% more energy efficient than 10cm of standard insulation. Considering 10% of all global electricity consumption comes from air-conditioning, 10% energy savings is massive.
Do you have any high-profile clients or projects you could tell us about?
We currently have projects on four continents, and I do not want to pick only one that is high-profile, but I can say the one that is most well-known. Q Green Trading & Contracting, who is our exclusive partner in the Middle East, is performing the insulation work on several of the stadiums in Qatar for the FIFA World Cup. But even after 2022, Q Green will be one of our firm’s most important strategic partners because of the relationship we have formed.
The stadium’s carbon neutrality was key to Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup. The weather in Qatar is brutal for athletes and spectators. More than 3.5 billion people watched the last World Cup, so the world will be watching to see if Qatar can meet its obligations. The country has the finances to use any insulation product in the world, but they chose ours because nothing else can compete. Because our product can be applied like a paint using a simple sprayer, we are able to effectively insulate surfaces and areas where traditional materials cannot even be applied.
In the long run, Tarrasch07 will generate hundreds of millions in energy savings because of the material’s superior capabilities. Moreover, the fan experience will be improved for the entire lifetime of the stadium, which is critical during Doha’s 42°C/108°F summers.
How could the innovative technology be applied globally to tackle climate change and improve sustainability?
When experts talk about climate change, they talk about constant, incremental improvement in energy efficiency. So, they are typically talking about improvements of one per cent or less. With Tarrasch07, you can easily and effectively achieve energy savings of 10%. When experts see our figures, they are often in disbelief, but we have the experimentation data approved by the world’s best authorities to prove just how superior our product is. The word ‘innovative’ is thrown around a lot these days, but this product truly takes insulation and makes a giant leap forward. Importantly, because Tarrasch07 can be transported in buckets, enough material to insulate 18,000m2 can fit in one shipping container.
But we are not finished yet; we are constantly making improvements to our products. First and foremost, although they are already sustainable, we are trying to make the entire process more eco-friendly in terms of ingredients and equipment used. That is why we are building a new plant that adheres to the highest environmental standards. Our new products will also be specialised for certain purposes. For example, we have developed a product that is extremely fire-resistant. Another is extremely flexible, meaning it can be applied to surfaces, such as canvas tents, that would have been impossible to insulate even a few years ago.
What do you see in store for the future of Windt Technologies?
We are currently working with manufacturers to develop wind energy systems that can start generating energy at lower wind speeds, making them more viable for industrial and residential use. In tandem, we are developing technology that allows for a more streamlined integration into any power grid, even down to the residential level, that is also quite affordable.
Overall, I want to follow my way. That means spending my time on this planet creating useful things that can provide real value. Besides that, I want to become a better businessman, also by following my own path. Business-wise, we will continue our product development and research work, and I will continue my personal mentoring.
Winners in the Corporate LiveWire Innovation and Excellence Awards 2021 for
Global Insulation Technology Company of the Year – Hungary
Windt Technologies is taking great strides for sustainability in the construction sector. The Budapest-based company manufactures and supplies innovative insulation material to the trade. The primary product supplied by the family-run business is Tarrasch07 (also known as GWR Nano in some markets).
Tarrasch07 is a paint-like, liquid thermal insulation material with extraordinary properties that is used in exterior and interior commercial, residential, and industrial settings. The revolutionary product drastically reduces material demands, energy consumption, and human resource costs while directly increasing customer profit. This is because just one millimetre of the insulation material (which can be applied easily and retroactively where required) is more effective than 10cm of traditional material.
Disrupting markets worldwide with this and other cutting-edge eco-friendly products, Windt Technologies currently has projects in Europe, Qatar, and South Africa, with plans to move throughout the Middle East and expand further into the United States in the coming year. The company is looking towards moving into the residential, oil and gas, and hospitality sectors while also leveraging contracts with global governments. GáborWindt, the company’s CEO, is committed to stressing the importance of switching to more sustainable insulation techniques, in order to combat rising temperatures and the increased use of air conditioning.
The judging panel were blown away by the company’s incredible advances in sustainable technology and the continued dedication to research and development of new, environmentally friendly products for the construction market. A testament to its widespread success, Windt Technologies has been selected to help create one of the world’s most effective insulation systems for the Lusail Stadium ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosted in Qatar.
With this incredible environmental breakthrough and the growing trend towards more cost effective labour following the COVID-19 pandemic (Tarrasch07 can shorten construction times by up to several days depending on the size of the building), Windt Technologies has experienced unprecedented growth in the past year, with a 73% revenue increase recorded in 2020. Existing orders mean that the company is already on track to continue to grow substantially in 2021, with revenue predicted to triple over the course of the year.
“Windt Technologies has been selected to help create one of the world’s most effective insulation systems for the Lusail Stadium ahead of the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup hosted in Qatar.”