The second Turk I came across at the Grand Prix
The most prestigious leg of the Formula 1 race, the Singapore Grand Prix, has never before drawn such attention since its beginnings in 2008. There are various reasons for this.
The Singapore Grand Prix is the only race held at night time. While Singapore is among the rising stars of the East, with its streets lined up with skyscrapers, it has been the toughest venue to compete at since day one.
At the Singapore Grand Prix, which I had the opportunity to attend as a spectator the other evening, its Marina Bay track was lit up with 1,500 spots, each of which comprised of 2 thousand watts. The humid, warm night was turned into day – literally.
Now, if I say that it was a Turkish company that turned the evening into day at the Singapore Grand Prix, I’m sure there will be readers who will be surprised.
The company that undertook the track’s illumination for the third consecutive year was the generator-manufacturer, Ankara-based Genpower. The founder of Genpower, Müjdat Uslu, was the second “silent hero” Turk that I came across in the Grand Prix.
The first one I met was in 2006 at the Monaco Grand Prix. The founder of the Do&Co Company, which was in charge of the Monaco Grand Prix’s catering business, Atilla Doğudan, was not a well-known name in Turkey at that time.
A few years after we met in Monaco, Atilla Doğudan set up a partnership with his Vienna-based Do&Co company and Turkish Airlines (THY).
If today, THY’s especially tasty meals hold a special place in the hearts and palates of its passengers, it would be thanks to Atilla Doğudan, who also owns a few restaurants in Vienna.
Going back to the Singapore Grand Prix, Müjdat Uslu’s Genpower, responsible for the illumination of Europe’s longest track, is the world’s seventh biggest generator company.
Uslu, the current Executive Board chairman of Genpower, explained his own story to us.
The son of a civil servant father, Uslu has been in business life since he was 13. He started working as a sales assistant during junior high school and continued working through high school and university.
He quit his job as general manager from the company he started working at as a child to open his own store in 1993. He took the franchise of 52 products.
“When it was 1999, I looked at my budget and saw that of the top-selling products that I was selling, the most sales were made from generators; given that, I decided to produce generators,” he said.
It was as simple as that.
Uslu became a brand only after he reached a certain quality. He started using the Genpower brand in 2003, as well as exporting. Genpower was exported to 70 countries from 2003 to 2008, later focusing on the domestic market only to become market leader.
Today, Genpower exports 60 percent of its products. It has sales and service centers in one of the world’s most important trade centers, Singapore, and also in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and Perth, Australia.
Its factory in China started operating in August 2011. Its sales are climbing in North Africa, Middle East and the Central Asian Turkic republics. Uslu’s target is to become one of the top three generator companies in the world by 2020.
The most interesting aspect of this story is this: Genpower, which performed track illumination for Singapore Grand Prix for the third year this year, does not charge anything.
“We transported 100 generators to Singapore, worth $5 million. The prestige of this job was enough for us, because all energy sector magazines will now mention our name. We have sold the machines that we brought here to Saudi Arabia anyway,” Uslu said.
Genpower will continue providing the track illumination for the Singapore Grand Prix until 2017.