Swapping numbers for people – the story of Mihály Kapás

09.07.2020

At the turn of the millennium Phil Collins sang his famous song “Son of Man” for Disney’s animated film “Tarzan”. There is a much-quoted verse in it: “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn. You’ll find your place beside the ones you love.” Although the world has changed considerably since this text was written, its message seems timeless: teaching and learning not only brings people together and promotes team spirit, but also creates an environment in which great ideas can be born and flourish. For Mihály Kapás, the new Senior Training & Licensing Manager in our Service Operations business unit, these lines are a constant inspiration and a kind of motto for his career.

The 37-year-old comes from Hungary, where he earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. After graduating, Mihály joined the Hungarian power transmission system operator (TSO) MAVIR and became a specialist in planning network operations. He stayed with the company for 14 years and gained important insights into the different departments and tasks of a TSO. Over time, Mihály realized that his true vocation in the energy world is not in numbers, but in working more closely with the people who form the backbone of the security of the European power grid. He decided to follow his passion and opened the door to the world of training, mentoring and coaching by completing an internationally recognized coaching programme and taking responsibility for internal training. Through his work he made contact with many colleagues from the energy world, including employees of TSCNET Services. Mihály states that this experience gave him the inspiration to move to our company from Budapest to Munich, as he felt that TSCNET and its employees were very much in line with his vision.

In his new role, Mihály will use the knowledge he has acquired over the years to support the different business units through customized training. “For me, TSCNET is a hub of people, ideas, and information,” states our most recent newcomer. “Whatever happens here, might have an effect on the whole system.” As someone who grew up in a multicultural family and already speaks English, Spanish and Russian apart from Hungarian, he is also looking forward to learning German in addition to his daily work tasks and to applying his diverse experience to his work with us. Since Mihály, like many of his new colleagues, loves motorcycling and likes to be in nature, this should be an exciting mixture. There are two popular quotes from Phil Collins that come to mind: “Deep inside us we’re not that different at all”, or, also from the “Tarzan” soundtrack, “Put your faith in what you most believe in”. Either way: Welcome to the team!

Mihály Kapás is the new Senior Training & Licensing Manager in our Service Operations business unit

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Difficult to procure – welcome, Marcela!

02.07.2020

“Procurement is not only about negotiating prices – it is about creating long-term partnerships beneficial for all involved parties,” says Marcela Ostafie, the new Procurement and Contract Manager in the Portfolio Management unit at TSCNET Services. Marcela, who chose the company because of its “fresh, international, young environment”, is looking forward to supporting all needs relating to all major purchasing processes and contractual arrangements and ensuring that business partnerships continue to flourish.

The 46-year old Romanian holds a diploma in business administration from the Munich University of Applied Sciences and has gained professional experience in a variety of areas during tenures with companies such as Airbus Group, Huawei Technologies and the Deutsche Bahn AG. In her functions as Category Manager and Strategic Buyer, Marcela contributed and expanded her knowledge on supply chains, project management as well as successful procurement. Thanks to her detailed insights into these important business operations, she comes to TSCNET equipped with great ideas and driven to make a lasting positive impact.

In her new position, Marcela will focus on implementing robust procurement processes and improving them together with her co-workers from Portfolio Management. Apart from her work responsibilities, Marcela is also taking care of her two lovely cats Luna and Lucky, who have been with her for three years. “Find out what your business partner loves and put your claws into it”, says the advice of financial market expert Clem Chambers in his article “Five Things Businesses Can Learn From Cats” in “Forbes”. We’re pretty sure that Marcela has some negotiating skills, but you don’t have to take this claw thing too literally. “Meow!”

Marcela Ostafie has joined TSCNET Services as the new Procurement and Contract Manager in the Portfolio Management unit

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A journey through the energy world – welcome, Abror!

01.07.2020

Maintaining the operational security of the European electricity system requires the highest level of expertise, ability to make the right decisions in stressful situations, and dedication – especially in our Service Operations business unit. Abror Shamsiev, our new Junior Operations Manager, should be well qualified for this and has already gained experience in ensuring that electricity processes run smoothly and efficiently.

The 29-year-old Abror comes from Uzbekistan, where he completed his basic studies in Electrical Engineering at the Tashkent State Technical University and also started his professional career. His journey in the energy sector began in 2010, the last year of his undergraduate studies, when Abror joined the Coordinating Dispatch Centre “Energy” in Tashkent, which acts as Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) similar to TSCNET in Central Asia. He worked there for a total of five years. During this time, he was also involved in a fellowship programme in Brussels at the Energy Charter Secretariat, which focused on electricity transit pricing in transition countries. Inspired by his time in Brussels, he decided to pursue a European graduate education and in March 2019 obtained a Master’s degree from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany. Thanks to his experience both in Central Asia and in the EU, Abror has gained valuable insights into the field of energy security and has been able to build up an impressive range of skills.

Abror will now use his rich experience and qualifications to help further improve our services to our customers. He is particularly excited about the opportunity to focus more on energy security issues in Europe at the highest level. Doing this with equally ambitious colleagues “is the cherry on top”, says Abror. The team spirit at TSCNET embodies a working culture that can be described very well with an Uzbek proverb: One head is good, two are better. Fortunately, with Abror we have gained what appears to be a rather clever additional head.

TSCNET welcomes Abror Shamsiev, new Junior Operations Manager in the Service Operations unit

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Chilean with electrifying mission – welcome, Claudio!

30.06.2020

The European power transmission grid supplies an entire continent with energy and ensures that its citizens have constant access to energy. As it is the largest synchronous network in the world, it is of the utmost importance to correctly simulate electricity movements so that secure transmission can be guaranteed now and in the future. It is this fascinating task that Claudio López, the newest member of our Service Development Unit, has brought to us. Claudio has recently joined TSCNET Services as a Business Analyst and wants to contribute all the knowledge the 35-year-old Chilean has already acquired in his career.

Claudio holds an M.Sc. degree in Energy Technology from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Southwest Germany and the Uppsala University in Sweden. Before joining TSCNET, Claudio worked as Research Assistant in the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (Fraunhofer IEE) in Kassel and did research as part of his PhD program at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. There he was part of the Intelligent Electrical Power Grids group for four years. He was dedicated to the search for a method to accelerate the communication between geographically distributed dynamic energy system simulators. The basic idea of this project was to integrate models from different places without exchanging them. At each new location, Claudio was able to gain detailed insights into the continent’s complex power system and understand its many facets. A Chilean proverb fits this perfectly: “The dog that doesn’t walk doesn’t find a bone.”

At TSCNET, Claudio’s focus will be assisting the Service Development team in their work on the Common Grid Model Specification Standard. We are sure that the sometimes bumpy road ahead will be no barrier for Claudio, who has been a mountain biker since his youth and knows exactly how to overcome obstacles to reach his goal successfully. And if the challenges in his job are not big enough for him, 53 mountain peaks of more than 2000 metres height are waiting for him and his bike in the administrative district of Upper Bavaria in the south of Munich alone, and that’s only where the Alps begin …

Claudio López has joined TSCNET Services as the new Business Analyst in the Service Development Unit 

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A globetrotter worth the circus – welcome, Gen!

26.06.2020

At TSCNET Services we support Europe’s transmission system operators (TSOs) as both service providers and groundbreakers on a partnership basis. To master this tough task, we need experts from very different fields to work hand in hand. The Human Resources department plays a key role in identifying the right people with the right skills for our growing company and bringing them together to form a powerful team. US expert Trisha McFarlane once said that HR is “fun, risky, mesmerizing, captivating, and unique – the closest comparison I could make is that it is like a circus”. So, the ideal candidate would have to be someone with years of circus experience, especially at one of the best and best known circuses in the world. Well, here she is: Geneviève Retzlaff, called Gen, the new HR & Development Manager in our Corporate Services business unit.

Gen is originally from the French-speaking part of Canada and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Human Resources from the Université du Québec en Outaouais. She gained professional experience as a Head of HR at a visual effects studio, worked for seven years for the world famous Cirque du Soleil as HR business partner and recently started to work as a coach and HR consultant. Many pieces of a mosaic, which together create optimal conditions to form a team of individuals from different cultural backgrounds and contribute to maximizing the efficiency of all HR-related processes.

Gen’s experiences and expertise will also play a decisive role at TSCNET to master the challenges of the future with talented and motivated employees. During her time with Cirque du Soleil she travelled no less than 42 countries and worked in 182 cities. Always on the road with a huge cast of very different people and tons of luggage, constantly faced with new adversities, and yet the perfect show must be put on night after night. In power supply, the safety net and protective measures are more important than the breathtaking jump from the trapeze, but we are still looking forward to the one or other successful feat with Gen. “Bienvenue chez TSCNET!”

TSCNET Services welcomes Geneviève Retzlaff, called Gen, the new HR & Development Manager

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Habib Shafik: “Speaking up for a project”

08.06.2020

Project management is above all the art of making things happen and finding ways that reliably lead to the goal. This requires an understanding of the respective environment, being a good team player as well as smart and visionary, and having the courage to take responsibility in difficult situations. This is also the claim of Habib Shafik, who has now committed himself even more firmly to TSCNET Services: At the beginning of 2019, Habib joined us for 18 months as a seconded employee of our shareholder TenneT Germany, and now he has joined TSCNET Services directly as Senior Project Manager in the Portfolio Management Business Unit. For us, this is a welcome opportunity for an in-depth talk.

How did you first hear about TSCNET when you were still at TenneT?

In different ways. On the one hand, through discussions with colleagues, on the other hand, in the company’s internal communication. At a meeting with my former manager, I had discussed the future role of the European Regional Security Coordinators. For him, the influence of the RSC was supposed to increase over time and at some point TSOs would even completely hand over system operation to one coordinated service provider. I took this fascinating vision with me from the conversation. At that time, I already knew that if you work for a transmission system operator like TenneT, you can go to TSCNET for a year and a half. However, as it seemed to focus on technicians and grid specialists, I at first did not really think about a secondment at all. My decision came much later when it became clear that TSCNET was also hiring project managers.

When you started at TSCNET in 2019: Which expectation turned out to be true and which not?

The vision of the immense importance of an RSC has already been fulfilled. And our work is steadily growing in importance, as recent political developments regarding future mandatory RSC services show. Fortunately, my original vision of this company as a place specifically designed for engineers has not proved true. In reality, the employees bring with them vastly different backgrounds and also various personalities, and everyone contributes to doing great work in a variety of areas.

When you look back on your time at TSCNET so far, which project are you particularly proud of?

To answer this question, let me first define successful project management. In my opinion, success does not mean that every originally planned milestone must be reached, nor that the intended schedule must always be meticulously adhered to. Ultimately, a successful project is defined by the satisfaction – first and foremost of the customer and the stakeholder, but also of the project management team. If the result is satisfactory and proves itself in practice, the project has been successful. In this sense, if I may say so, I am particularly proud of a project that was not completed. This probably sounds a bit weird, so let me explain it briefly. The development of the project was accompanied by a number of unforeseen, external factors, which led to high monthly project costs without satisfactory results. To prevent further damage to all parties involved, a courageous step was taken, and it was decided by mutual agreement to terminate the project. Today it is clear that this decision saved us all a lot of time and money and was more beneficial to the company and our customers than to complete the project by hook or by crook. This would not have been possible without a great team and a management that takes transparency and integrity seriously.

What do you think about TSO employees working at TSCNET today?

It is a great idea as it will allow each programme participant to broaden their skills, horizons and understanding of energy infrastructure in Europe. However, I believe that this exchange needs to be promoted and facilitated much more. As a TSO staff member, you have to be very proactive to get information about it. This is not only about potential vacancies, but also about the various administrative steps involved in the process of filling a vacancy, such as travel costs or bureaucratic issues. It would be nice if this knowledge were more widely available and promoted in a transparent way, so that standardised processes make it easier for all parties involved in the posting and everyone knows what they are getting into.

What does it take to work at TSCNET Services?

In my opinion these three factors are the most important: Intercultural competence, initiative, and motivation. This also fits in with the question about my motives for signing directly with TSCNET now that the 18 months are over. The more personal environment here allows a much greater commitment than a large organization. Here you can really help shape and make a difference. This freedom also means more responsibility for each of us. I personally enjoy this very much, especially the fact that colleagues back each other up to realize new ideas together. I also want to emphasize the corporate culture. Colleagues are very supportive, cooperative, and motivated to create opportunities where others might see a dead end. In addition, the enormous diversity and internationality are a great source of inspiration and enrich everyday work enormously.

What are your plans here?

In my view, the advantages of good project management are still far too little known. As a result, many resources are not used effectively. I see our business unit in the responsibility to change this. The success and efficiency of every project undertaken at TSCNET is the foundation for successful service provision. We want to create understanding for our work and make it clear where we can provide effective support. We have launched a small internal information campaign in 2019 for that purpose. In addition, we introduced the bimonthly “Meet the Business Unit Portfolio Management” offer at the beginning of this year. Our co-workers can ask us anything they want to know and get concrete help from us.

And when it comes to actual project management: what is the biggest challenge?

As someone who is not from the field of electrical engineering, I would say understanding technical terms and their implications. It is also important to keep abreast of the latest regulatory developments so that you can plan projects accordingly. In short, I work proactively to stay up to date and understand all changes in my field.

Our last question relates to what is happening around the world right now, Habib: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?

To ensure that we can also do our work well from home, we have further standardized our communication processes. This has worked extremely well so far. Although I am pleased that everything went great despite the difficult circumstances, I am very much looking forward to seeing my colleagues again in the office and to working with them again personally soon.

Habib Shafik, Senior Project Manager in the Portfolio Management Business Unit

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A polyglot with communicative power

28.04.2020

“You’ll never find one like that – you’ll have to bake one yourself first,” one of the team members interjected when we talked about the ideal candidate for the position of a working student for corporate communications and PR at TSCNET Services. And today? We seem to have found him! Marcos Moschovidis has been on board with us for a few weeks now and is demonstrating his potential in external and internal communications in a pretty impressive way.

Primarily, the 26-year-old is currently completing his master’s degree in politics and technology at the Technical University of Munich. So, the first special feature: While most people in the PR industry prefer lifestyle topics and are at best open to technical issues, our newcomer really understands them. Number two: He fits in one-to-one with the diversity in our company and the European spirit: Marcos grew up in Germany as the son of a Greek father – which is why the “s” in his first name is not pronounced – and a Croatian mother and has a deep personal passion for Europe.

Around the globe…
Let us take a look at a few details from Marcos’ CV. As part of his studies, he was a visiting researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and participated in an exchange programme with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for several months. He also completed a traineeship with a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels and worked for the non-profit consulting firm Bavarian Research Alliance in the Department of Environment, Energy, and Bioeconomy in Munich. During this time, he gained valuable experience in informing the public on a variety of EU-related topics via on- and offline tools. This explains why besides classical communication tools he also is skilled in social media. For instance, he very successfully launched his own information project “EU FOR YOU” on Instagram to encourage young citizens to participate in the European elections. Within three months, the project reached millions of people and was mentioned in various media such as the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” or the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation.

At TSCNET, Marcos will be active in all areas of communication from corporate design and presentations to website and social media channels. He is already very keen, Marcos says, “to persuade the audience of the importance of cooperation and coordination to maintain the world’s largest synchronous power grid”. He will not lack the energy and courage to do so. If so, his Croatian relatives might have the right proverb for him: “A person is worth as much as the number of languages he speaks”. And from Greece, too, there is an appropriate saying: “Here is Rhodes, jump here!” – now prove what you can do. No matter what Marcos will listen to: His new colleagues and the company’s so-called dialogue groups can already look forward to discovering even more special features of this multi-talented man.

Marcos Moschovidis has joined TSCNET Services as a working student for communications and PR

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Putting together Europe’s power puzzle

16.04.2020

“Electricity is really just organised lightning,” said George Carlin, the Grammy award winning American comedian. But this organising thing is bloody complex. To provide exceptional service in the electricity business, one needs to understand the many important pieces of this exciting industry, which form a powerful puzzle together. Ivana Duraković has recently joined TSCNET Services as an Operations Manager in the Business Unit Service Operations and is well experienced in looking at such details. She looks forward to contributing her knowledge to the company’s success together with her new colleagues.

Ivana is 35 years old and originally from Croatia, where she obtained her Master of Engineering degree at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Osijek, the economic and cultural centre of Croatia’s Slavonia region. Upon completion of her studies, she felt drawn to the capital city Zagreb and joined Croatia’s transmission system operator (TSO) HOPS. Ivana started her eleven-year long tenure with the company by working in various subsidiaries, for example one specialised in metering devices. After having acquired a wide understanding of the basics, equipment and coordination, she broadened her horizon by taking on new duties as a power system dispatcher. In her new role, she gained insights into the fascinating world of power flows, power system stability, and electricity grid processes. Before joining TSCNET, Ivana held the position of Head of Power System Control Centre at HOPS.

The energy doesn’t stop after work
Looking at Ivana’s passion for electricity, it only makes sense that she is very energetic in her free time, too. She is a climber, snowboarder, and lindy hop dancer, who knows how to perform lindy hop aerials, an acrobatic technique developed in the 30s. As a frequent traveller, she also enjoys learning new languages and even speaks basic Chinese.

At TSCNET, she will use her expertise and power to boost the operations quality and support the team in its daily business. Along the way, she will also have many opportunities to pick up new words in one of the many languages represented in our so diverse staff. She can then tell her former fellow workers about it, after all HOPS is one of the customers and, at worst, just a phone call away.

TSCNET Services hired Ivana Duraković as Operations Manager in the Business Unit Service Operations 

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Skills with a good dose of laugh

07.04.2020

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” is a well-known proverb from Pakistan. That should not be a problem for Adam Ali, the new Junior Project Management Officer, who has joined the Business Unit Portfolio Management at TSCNET Services.

Adam is originally from Pakistan and is excited about the amazing challenges in the energy industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in the second largest city in Pakistan, and subsequently completed an MBA degree in International Management in Pforzheim, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. He has more than three years of experience in project management and has a strong affinity for IT systems and software. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he worked in Lahore University of Management Sciences as part of the programme management team, taking care of finances, project coordination and process alignment.

Quite a lot of practice already
His experience also extends to the corporate world: Adam not only interned in project management at Allianz Technology SE, but also wrote his MBA thesis on agile and hybrid methodologies in cooperation with the company. In addition, he joined the NBHX Trim Group as a working student in the programme management department and helped to digitise cross-departmental communication strategies to optimise internal information exchange.

At TSCNET Services, Adam will use his skills to help the multinational team ensure smooth operations. His enthusiasm for the energy industry will help to achieve this. With his knowledge of project management in agile and international environments, he will support the new colleagues primarily in process optimisation and standardisation.

Apart from the business side of things, Adam is an avid traveller and hiker who loves to entertain people with his sense of humour. Again, there is a saying in Pakistan that suits this: “Do good and throw it in the river.” With Adam, it’s quite possible that the Bavarian Isar River feels almost like the legendary Indus, thanks to a smile amongst coworkers.

Adam Ali has been hired as Junior Project Management Officer

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New financial manager gives a good account

02.03.2020

At TSCNET Services, we are committed to providing the best possible service for our shareholding transmission system operators (TSOs). International understanding is thus not actually our primary corporate objective, but we are nevertheless encouraged by the perception of our new Senior Finance & Reporting Manager in the Corporate Services business unit, Houssein Ben Boujemaa. We were already able to recruit him in September last year. When asked what particularly intrigued him about TSCNET in addition to his personal career prospects, Houssein mentions the fact that we are a company with a good 60 employees, but above all 28 nationalities. We can only say: Welcome aboard, Houssein, and great that you have already added some additional facets to our diversity.

35-year-old Frenchman Houssein holds a master’s degree in Marketing and Applied Management from the IDRAC Business School in Paris and a master’s degree in International Business from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce et de Gestion de Paris. He has gained professional experience in various sectors. For example, he served as a Business Controller for France for the medical and travel security services company International SOS. At EBI SA in Paris, an affiliate of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, he oversaw the global corporate revenue planning and control for Africa and handled trade finance and loan syndication for the sub-Saharan Africa commodity market. And in the IT sector, Houssein was responsible for EMEA operations at the German branch of the computer software and service company PTC in Unterschleißheim near Munich.

For TSCNET, Houssein has been working successfully to improve financial processes and financial management since his start with us. Of course, he appreciates not only the international working environment at our premises, but also the dynamic growth of the company to which he wants to actively contribute. We are pleased that our finance area is already giving a good account of itself!

Houssein Ben Boujemaa is our new Senior Finance & Reporting Manager in the Corporate Services business unit

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