“You are the voice of the plant and its people”

Vyacheslav Zolov, Head of Nizhnevartovsky GPP (branch of SiburTyumenGaz), shares his thoughts about people, music and responsibility.


About parents

I was born in 1966 in Kazan and grew up in a working-class family. My parents spent their lives toiling at Kazan Motor-Building Production Association. Each of them has a working experience of 45 years. My father held blue collar positions all his life, working his way up as a first-class miller. My mother started off as a rank-and-file controller. Simultaneously, she was studying at an aviation technology school, from which she graduated with honours. After graduation, she continued her career as a senior inspector at an advanced aircraft production shop. She is very critical of herself and people around her, including her own children. That helped me and my brother grow up as responsible adults.

Family is our greatest gift: as long as your family supports you, there is nothing to hold you back from professional growth.

I graduated from Kazan Institute of Aviation and was assigned to work at Kazan Motor-Building Production Association, following in the footsteps of my parents and elder brother.

About support

My wife and I were students when we first met in Kazan in 1984. I think that one of the keys to our happy marriage is our gentleness and consideration for each other. The support coming from my family is very important for me. Having a soulmate to share mutual understanding and respect with means a lot to me. I believe that family is our greatest gift: as long as your family supports you, there is nothing to hold you back from professional growth.

The key to success in sports is inner determination, unflagging energy and professionalism. In team sports, the responsibility is even greater, as the team’s result depends on you.

About the 1990s

We moved to Nizhnevartovsk when our son turned 18 months. At first, we were planning to make just enough money to buy a car. After that, we wanted to go back home like most people working in the Russian North do. As time passed, we started to fall for northern charms. We found new friends and gave birth to our second child. My path to gas processing was not straightforward. I started off working as a panel beater at a repair shop. I was always short on money and did not have the means to support my family. As a result, I had to take up all sorts of side jobs. I became a jack of all trades, working as a mechanic at car repair shops, taxi driver, spare hand at kindergartens, etc. To make things worse, we did not have our own housing when we came from Kazan and spent two long years moving from one rented apartment to another.

But despite all these hardships we did not give up.

About being overwhelmed by the scale of gas industry

On 25 September 1991, I got a job as a mechanic at Belozerniy Gas Processing Plant. During the interview, the chief engineer gave me a tour of the facility. When we entered the machinery hall, I was overwhelmed by the size and power of compressor units and the number of equipment types around me. The emotions were so strong that my first encounter with a gas processing plant remained etched into my memory for the rest of my life.

When I show people around the plant now, I often tell them how much I was impressed by the scale of production during my first visit to the facility.

About what it takes to build a character

I started doing sports when I first went to school. I skied, did track-and-field athletics, and played hockey. In the fourth grade, I switched to handball, which remained my speciality until the end of my career in sports. As I earned the title of Candidate Master of Sports and joined the regional team of Tatarstan, sport became my all-consuming passion. I trained five times a week and regularly participated in competitions.

I am convinced that the key to success in sports is inner determination, unflagging energy and professionalism. In team sports, the responsibility is even greater, as the team’s result depends on you.

Career is the logical reward for diligent work. Much more deserving of my respect are the people with firm convictions who value integrity, rightfulness, care for people and decency above all.

About success

My secret of success is integrity and dedication at work. It is very important for a man to be responsible for his work, words and actions. Responsibility before family, friends and colleagues is equally important.

About responsibility

I spent 18 years working at Belozerniy GPP. I started off as a mechanic and climbed my way up to the ranks of chief engineer.

When the plant’s director offered me to become the chief engineer, he told me: “Remember that you are now the voice of the plant and its people. Your each and every word should be well weighed as you are responsible for it.” This has become my life motto: “Never forget about the people.”

About the guiding principles of a manager

Seek to become a best-in-class professional and build a team of like-minded individuals around you.

Stay committed to transparency and do your best to win the trust of your employees.

Do not act like you are here today and gone tomorrow.

A famous actor once said: “When you are on stage, you should look like you are acting for the first or last time.”

This wisdom applies to work, too.

I want to lead by example and show that rules are the same for all irrespective of their job or rank.

About music

Playing the guitar helps me release stress and tension. This is my way to vent out frustration, my personal art therapy.

I am very fond of music, but I would not be able to name one single style or genre that appeals to me most. I often ask myself if I should have focused less on sports and studies when I was young and spent some time doing music professionally. My dream is to learn how to play the saxophone. Whenever I hear its sounds, I feel an uplift in my mood.

As far back as I can remember, a guitar has always been my faithful companion. Unfortunately enough, I learned to play it by myself and only know three chords.

Playing the guitar helps me release stress and tension.

This is my way to vent out frustration, my personal art therapy.

Friends are one of the most valuable things to me. We have ended up living in different cities and towns, but this does not prevent us from keeping in touch and having regular meetings.

About the important things

Friends are one of the most valuable things to me. My five best friends are from kindergarten and school. Later in life, I made friends with people working in the Russian North. We have ended up living in different cities and towns, but this does not prevent us from keeping in touch and having regular meetings.

About people

I do not view my career as my key achievement in life. I take it very easy and treat it as a logical reward for diligent work rather than a pretext for self-indulgence. Much more deserving of my respect are the people with firm convictions who value integrity, rightfulness, care for people and decency above all.

My love for the city gave me a feeling that I can make a real difference living and working here.

About travels

There are three iconic places on my bucket list: Baikal Lake, Kamchatka Peninsula and Georgia. I believe that one day my family and I will be able to go there.

About the home city

Every now and then, I find myself facing a dilemma of which city to call my home. When I come to Kazan and see the “I love my city!” banners, I can’t help but agree with them. But as I have spent a significant amount of time living in Nizhnevartovsk, this city has become as dear and precious to me as Kazan.

About making a difference

My love for the city gave me a feeling that I can make a real difference living and working here.

In 2016, I ran for the local parliament and was elected an MP in Nizhnevartovsk’s Duma.

As a result, today I work simultaneously as the head of the plant and MP. This role implies great responsibility before the people. I spend most of my time liaising with the elderly, pensioners and young activists.

It is rewarding to see that I can help tackle a lot of serious challenges.


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