Denitsa Mengova, manager of Stil Laser Bulgaria, representative of Mazak lasers, on the endless strive to perfection
The energy that Denitsa Mengova emanates stuns as early as our first meeting and helps us understand why in just a couple of years the elegant 35-year-old became a recognisable face on the Bulgarian industrial scene. Denitsa Mengova's company, Stil Laser Bulgaria, is not only an official representative of Mazak, a Japanese laser manufacturer, to Bulgaria. She is the only female representative of Mazak lasers for the whole of Europe. We met her at her office, located in the family metalworking company that uses Mazak lasers, to learn how she combines her gentle femininity with her personal energy, her strive to be the best and her work with an excellent product in order to succeed in the men's world of metalworking.
What is Mazak and what products does it offer?
Yamazaki Mazak Corporation was established in 1919 as a family company, as it remains today. An international leader in manufacturing and development of technologies for metalworking machines and manufacture automatisation. Since 2018, my company Stil Laser Bulgaria has been the official representative for the country for the Mazak laser systems for flat components. The brand is a warranty for quality and respect to each client and industrialist, a philosophy for new technologies and a vision towards the future. Mazak lasers are a sign of high industrial culture in manufacturers, of quality production and reliable system service.
How did you become the gentle face of Mazak lasers in Bulgaria?
I have a BA in Italian studies and an MA in public relations. So far, so unrelated to industry, technologies and machines. However, my family has a strong tradition in using Mazak lasers in its metalworking business because of their impeccable quality. This was how the idea of me becoming a Mazak representative in Bulgaria was born. The trust the company has in me is both an honour and responsibility. I work hard every day to live up to the expectations. Starting an activity so removed from my education and previous professional experience was particularly hard, because I am the only woman who is an official Mazak representative in Europe. I underwent a series of technical trainings and seminars, I spent days shoulder to shoulder with machine operators in order to watch, to ask, to learn. Today I am on the right path, but I continue to learn and work, because this is what guarantees professionalism and success!
Technologies and intelligent functions are a Mazak priority. How are they applied in the company's lasers and how they can benefit the industry? In what fields of manufacturing can they be applied?
Technologies, intelligent functions and manufacturing automation have always been a priority for Mazak. In our laser systems we have our own developments, such as DDL (direct diode lasers), which our competition still lacks. There are many benefits for the industry: our machines are excellent value for money, the quality of production is excellent, we have an individual approach to each client, and provide professional and quick service by Mr Georgi Angelov, a Bulgarian Mazak engineer with more than 20 years of experience. Our clients are in different fields of metalworking: from manufacturers of agriculture industry equipment to producers of casino equipment to the automotive and aviation industry.
What were the main challenges that you faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and how did you overcome them?
The main challenge was to adapt to work in isolation and to protect the lives and health of us and our clients. The times are hard and insecure, but we stay on our path. I am hopeful and optimistic about the future: the virus will disappear, but the industry will remain. We overcame the challenges thanks to the united family spirit of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation. There were no delayed spare parts deliveries from our high-technology warehouse in Belgium, we provided fast service in Bulgaria and daily free online technical service by our best software engineers in Europe. Our clients' laser systems did not stop and they continued their work undisturbed. In metalworking this is a golden rule: laser material cutting is the first step, without it no other process can start. The old and new Mazak clients in Bulgaria appreciated highly our efforts during the pandemic.
What are your new products and what do you expect for 2021?
The latest Mazak laser is the fiber tube machine FT-150 and its presentation already provoked huge interest. We hope that in 2021 we will return to normal and will meet new and established partners at the big technological expos in Europe and Bulgaria. So far they are still scheduled.
How do you see the future of Bulgarian industry and the development of its partnership with Mazak?
My mission in Bulgaria is a challenging one. The market is small and the competition is big and aggressive. This only inspires me to communicate more effectively the high productivity and the impeccable quality of materials cut with Mazak lasers. The client should know everything about the machine before they buy it, and they should be happy with their choice. But our advantages do not stop with the sale – they begin with it. Mazak offers fast and professional technical service, free online support and personal approach to each client: from the one with the oldest Mazak laser to the one working with the latest generation of our machines. This is my trademark and a key to success, as I stand on both sides: the manufacturers and clients, on the one hand, and the machine salespersons on the other. The responsibility is huge, but the mission is possible!
You work in a male environment. What motivates you to continue and how do you deal with the stress?
I am motivated by my family and my wonderful daughter who I want to teach to be strong, brave and to work hard towards achieving her dreams. I want to continue to create and to prove that a woman can manage a business. I want to live up to the trust I was given in Japan and our offices in Italy, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Each day I prove to myself that I can. And when I cannot do something, this only motivates me more!
I deal with everyday stress with my typical positivity, clean food, good music and sport. I play tennis, I run, I walk for kilometres, I ride. Nothing, however, erases stress better than the shared moments with the people I love, and travel.
In Bulgaria, March is considered a ladies' month. What would you advise Bulgarian businesswomen?
Appreciate yourself! Boundaries exist only in our minds and can be overcome with hard work and trust in yourself and the good. Be strong and work a lot, but always have time and attention for the people you love. "High heels" can take us everywhere when we know how to walk with them.
To whom do you dedicate your success and how will you continue in the future?
I dedicate my successes, small or big but mine nevertheless, to my family and several strong women that are important for me. My mother, who taught me to be resilient, true to myself and good, and who always supports me. My daughter, Nikol, who gives me motivation, strength and love to continue ahead, with the wish that someday she will answer your questions. My mother-in-law who has given birth and has brought up a wonderful son, and who always helps me. I dedicate this interview to my beloved grandmother who I lost last year but who, I believe, is still proud of me, still protects me and still loves me!
I will continue on the hard, but authentic road that I chose for myself. I hope that I will go a long way and will prove to myself and other women that we can!