Whenever the Far East was mentioned, countries such as Thailand, Singapore, or Malaysia often came to mind of an average exemplar of Central European culture. But only until Borusan Cat got the Russian Far East Caterpillar dealership in 2015…

The Far East, My New Home

From that moment on, we became more interested in the cold climate Russia, well known for Moscow and St. Petersburg and started following its events. The Amur River, the City of Khabarovsk, and Sakhalin Island have now entered into our daily speech. When sharing news with friends outside of work or family, while most of them, of course, had never heard of this region before, to describe its remoteness, I had to say: “Imagine Japan, it is to the north from it,” and the first reaction to that was: “Far away!". The shortest journey from Istanbul to Khabarovsk with a connecting flight, with bird flight distance reaching 8,000 km, takes 15 hours.

I began to learn more about the region in 2016 when two of our Russian colleagues attended to our Lean 6 Sigma Black Belt training in Istanbul, one of them - Anton Krupskiy - is now the Country Leader of Borusan Cat in the Russian Far East. Afterwards, in June 2017, after two more of our colleagues joined the Black Belt class, I visited Russia for the first time. In both Khabarovsk and Sakhalin, I explained Lean Philosophy, Six Sigma, Data-Driven Decision Making, Voice of the Customer, but, most importantly, I tried to convey the Borusan culture we inherited from Asım Kocabıyık, Borusan Group Founding and Honorary President Later, after 2 more visits, at the beginning of 2019, I was assigned to Khabarovsk to work. My family remained in Turkey. I traveled the distance mentioned above but this time added the 7-hour time difference between us and Istanbul.

After a tiring flight, I was welcomed at the airport by Anton Krupskiy, the Country Leader of Far East Russia. On the way to the hotel, my temporary residence, he introduced the city to me. A city covered with a thin crust of snow, with a temperature of -20 degrees... In Istanbul I do not wear hats or berets, I do not need them there. But on the way from the car to the hotel, picking up the beret, what my wife had put in my suitcase at the very last moment, I realized that I would not part with it for a long time.

After half a day's rest from jet lag, I went to the office. As soon as I crossed the threshold, my gaze fell on posters, company news, advertising sheets, and announcements printed in an unfamiliar Cyrillic alphabet, but in the usual yellow, black, and orange colors. Even though I did not understand the content of them, the warmth of the colors filled me. I felt that, notwithstanding the kilometers I had traveled, I was under the roof with the Borusan flag flying over it, and I realized, once again, how great is the organization I was a part of. The concept of distance did not matter anymore.



Far East Climate And Sports

After receiving a warm welcome, I got to know the members of my new family and introduced myself as well. Colleagues did not leave me alone on weekends too; we ate together, went fishing, and did some skiing. The more we worked and produced together, the stronger the bond between us grew. My colleagues have now become my friends, with whom we discussed the similarities and differences between the two cultures. We were no longer people born and raised at a distance of 8000 km from each other; we were family members united under one roof by a great vision.

Distances Do Not Matter

Now I am in Istanbul, but we meet with my Russian friends outside of work online and have conversations over coffee and Far Eastern tea. The more we open up, the less the distance between us becomes. I know that I have one more close family in the Russian Far East - the Borusan family.


Özgür Alagöz

Özgür Alagöz, the Project Leader at Borusan Cat. He has been with Borusan since 2005. He has 2 years of experience in Kazakhstan and 2 years in Far East of Russia. A music lover who plays piano and guitar as an amateur. He is skiing whenever he gets the opportunity. He is a happy family man who has a daughter, a son, and his beloved wife. He would have wanted to become a Movie Director or a Visual Designer if he was not in his current position. His dream is to become a sustainable sailor who tours along the coast of Turkey, to draw his map of where he has been, and to organize workshops that will help develop children’s imagination in places he visits.

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