Meet Deniz Koçak

Deniz Koçak is the Plant Manager at the Erftstadt factory in Germany and has over 170 colleagues working with him.

As Plant Manager, I make it my business to foster a personal connection with my staff. I prefer to speak to people in their individual work environments, where they’re more comfortable, so I spend a lot of time meeting people around the factory. If you want to get a sense of how things are going on the factory floor, there’s no point in asking those questions in an office.

Before I started at Refresco, I worked for a family-run business and I’m grateful for the time I spent working in another system, with different approaches to business: for me, it’s invaluable to see how different businesses operate. If you’re not careful, you can get stuck in a single position and I don’t think that’s conducive to personal or business growth. Teamwork is very important to me: I played field hockey for 25 years in the 1st division in Germany and from there, I learned what it takes to win. There, everyone’s contributions pushed the team forward, but each player had a different role. That’s the same here as well. Everyone in my team has a part to play that’s crucial to our success and it’s my job to help each person develop themselves.

"There’s a good deal of autonomy here: people have a strong sense of responsibility. That’s something I work really hard to nurture."

- Deniz Koçak, Plant Manager, Erftstadt

Trust and communication are the most important ingredients

Challenge is a word I learned quickly here, and communication is key. There’s a day-to-day pressure here that really motivates me: we have to make decisions quickly and everyone down the line feels their own responsibility and knows what to do. If they didn’t, the tendency would be that they would wait for me to make decisions, and that’s a style of management I don’t like. I trust my people to make decisions and give them the autonomy to get on with their jobs.

If you spoke to my wife, she’d tell you that the two loves in my life are her - and my job. I love to spend time at work. The environment we’ve created here is full of possibilities: I want to develop myself into further positions, and I want to learn what it takes to do that. Sometimes those lessons come from our leadership program, and sometimes they come from the factory floor. If you’re open to receiving lessons from all angles, you’ll go far.