The new president of ‘Excento’ Mariusz Machajewski: I will build a lasting bridge between science and business | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2020-11-02

The new president of ‘Excento’ Mariusz Machajewski: I will build a lasting bridge between science and business

In the photo  Mariusz Machajewski, president of Excento. Photo: Krzysztof Krzempek / GUT
In the photo Mariusz Machajewski, president of Excento. Photo: Krzysztof Krzempek / GUT
Mariusz Machajewski is the new president of the Polytechnic company Excento, supporting GUT scientists in commercializing their research projects, as well as connecting the world of science with the socio-economic environment. In an interview, President Machajewski talks, among others about the company's vision of development, its competences and previous professional achievements, as well as about the differences between the world of science and business - and ideas on how to overcome them.

Maciej Dzwonnik, GUT spokesman: You worked for the Lotos Group for over 20 years, for over 10 years of which you held the position of vice president of the management board. What were your duties?

Mariusz Machajewski*, president of the Excento company:  I was responsible for the overall finances of the company, i.e. for liquidity and financial risk management, reporting, controlling and many others. I also dealt with the financial side of infrastructure investments carried out by Lotos, for example the EFRA project, which increased the efficiency of crude oil processing in Lotos, and previously with the so-called ‘10+ Program’, which was one of the largest investment programs of the Polish economy in the 21st century.

What was it about?

 It contributed not only to a significant expansion of the Gdańsk refinery itself, but above all to a significant increase in its technological and processing capacity, almost twice.

Did you have any contact with Gdańsk University of Technology during your work at Lotos?

 In fact, it was practically every day, because a very large part of Lotos engineering staff are GUT graduates. Moreover, Lotos has always cooperated willingly and in many aspects with universities and research institutions. They were commissioned research on new refining products introduced to the market, which was a very important element of Lotos's policy of focusing on innovation and the implementation of new products and technologies.

Currently, you have taken the helm of the Excento polytechnic company, whose main goal is to connect the world of science and business. For the university authorities, it is a very important element of GUT activities.

 Yes, and I can bring in knowledge of the business environment and its needs in relation to science and technology. My knowledge of various aspects of business operation is very broad and I intend to translate it into tangible support in the development of Excento.

Until now, Excento has operated mainly basing on the scientific staff.

And it wasn't a bad solution, because it was doing quite well. The benefit for each company, however, is the ability to look at some issues and processes from a different perspective, because it accelerates its development. My goal is to help GUT scientists not only get closer to the business world, but also understand how this business works, what it is guided by and what its expectations are. Finding a common language between these areas is sometimes not easy, because in business what matters most is efficiency, time of action and results, and in science some processes run at their own pace. However, there are tools that shorten this path and allow us to get the desired results in a shorter time.

You took up the position at the turn of September and October. What were the first weeks of your work at Gdańsk University of Technology like?

 I get to know the company more and more every day, I was welcomed very warmly. I like the vision of the university’s development presented to me by its authorities, as well as the goals and tasks set for the Excento company. Many companies and the inhabitants of the Tri-City do not realize how large and important research and academic center the University of Technology is, and one of my main tasks is to build a permanent and broad bridge between them.

What is your vision of Excento's development? What should the company look like in 5-10 years?

 Cooperation with the socio-economic environment is one of the main missions of GUT, and for the Excento company it is undoubtedly a priority. I will make every effort to take this cooperation to an even higher level, which will benefit not only local companies and the broadly understood business world, but also GUT researchers and students.

Excento was established primarily to commercialize research and research projects carried out by our scientists, but I am focused on greater involvement and establishing cooperation with students - even at an early stage of learning. I will want to open the door for them to come up with interesting ideas and implement them on the market. Of course, this is already happening to some extent, but I plan to expand it considerably, increase these possibilities.

I would also like as many spin-off companies related to GUT as possible to function effectively in a few years’ time, and every person from our academic community who will be interested in commercializing their research project to know that Excento would provide all the knowledge and tools to achieve this goal. Creating your own business will be much easier thanks to the support of the university and our company. We have a lot of work ahead of us, on many levels, but I am convinced that with the potential of our scientists and the opportunities offered by today's business, we will be able to achieve common success.

* Mariusz Machajewski was the vice president of the management board of Grupa Lotos in 2006-2017, where he was responsible for the overall economic, financial and accounting strategy of the company. He was professionally associated with Lotos since 1997. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Gdańsk. He took up the function of the president of Excento Ltd. on 29 September, and thus the term of office was ended by the previous management board of the company, composed of: Krzysztof Malicki (president) and Damian Kuźniewski (vice president), who had been managing the company continuously for seven years, i.e. since it was established by Gdańsk University of Technology in 2013.

The most important achievements of the company at that time include: obtaining a total of over PLN 70 million financing, concluding contracts for the provision of services for business worth PLN 19 million, establishing eight spin-off companies, implementing two editions of the e-Pionier project, in which 60 interdisciplinary teams were included in the acceleration process, acquiring and launching the µGrant R&D project for enterprises (the total value of grants for Pomeranian enterprises will amount to PLN 15 million) and launching and servicing the Protolab 24/7 laboratory, which is currently being expanded with new modules.

#LudziePG is an editorial series of the Promotion Office of Gdańsk University of Technology, in which it is possible to find the biographies and achievements of scientists and employees of our university. Applications for the next parts can be sent to the GUT press spokesman: