Taking the opportunity
Ervis Naci from Albania did the step from worker to team leader and ist responsible for chunky products.
“They opened the door for and I felt at home right away. I wanted to take the opportunity to build a new life for myself here in South Tyrol.” When Ervis Naci says that, he has a certain emotion in his voice. Yet it was 22 years ago that he first entered the site of VOG Products with his heart racing. At that time, he could communicate more or less in Italian, he was a simple worker. Today, he is responsible for the largest production area, "chunky products", and thus bears a lot of responsibility within the company.
As a child, Ervis Naci never dared to dream that he would have such a professional career. Born in 1982, Ervis saw his homeland in upheaval from the moment he was born. He lived with his parents and his brother Armand, who was seven years older, in the Albanian capital of Tirana. Albania, which at that time was communist, was considered a “blank spot” in Europe because it had completely isolated itself. When Ervis was 8 years old, democratisation began, but under very difficult conditions that resulted in corruption and even civil war in 1997. "Everyone had weapons at home," he recalls today.
His brother was the first of the family to leave the country after the fall of communism. In 1992, he had taken part in a competition organised by a school in Bozen for young people from abroad. "He won it and was therefore allowed to live here and attend school for free," Ervis recounts. Seven years later, as part of a family reunion, Armand brought his younger brother, who had just finished high school, to join him.
The first few months were not easy for the newcomer: "Everything was strange, I missed my parents, my friends." Ervis, then barely 18, had to grow up quickly in South Tyrol. He battled his way through, learned Italian, earned a basic living in a fruit warehouse in Laives and a few months later, thanks to a employee of VOG Products, he discovered that the cooperative was looking for a worker.
On 9 October 2000, Ervis Naci joined the company for a trial period. Apparently, his skills and motivation were convincing. His supervisors also recognised the young employee's ability to manage and lead people. Just a few months later, on 1 April 2000, Ervis was given a permanent contract and became a shift supervisor. "I supervised the individual work steps in production and was also responsible for the employees," he says. The next step up the career ladder followed in 2016: Ervis rose to shift leader, and a year later he took over the largest production area (chunks area).
In 2021, Ervis Naci was awarded the honour of having 20 years of service. He is proud of it, but also grateful. "I have always been treated well at VOG Products. I am very appreciative to everyone for that. The fact that he has worked his way up from worker to head of department is thanks to himself, but also to the management: "They gave me the chance to develop myself. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity."
What personal qualities are important for the now 40-year-old to manage a department well? For Ervis Naci, responsibility is the basis: "Whether it's product safety or employee motivation - in my department, I'm the first point of contact for everything and the one who ultimately decides." Team spirit is also essential. Last but not least, you have to enjoy your work. And that is the case for Ervis, who is now married to a compatriot and is father to three sons aged 9, 7 and 4. His motivation also gives him the energy he needs after work, because his evenings with his active children are rarely quiet.
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Picture: ©Südtiroler Apfelkonsortium
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