Three managers from Agrolaguna
Sep 17, 2015
Agrolaguna from Poreč is the largest producer of agricultural goods in Istria, owner of several strong delicacy brands, and its wineries and vineyards, olive groves and cheese factories constantly create products that receive awards at international competitions.
A group of three ladies who are Agrolaguna’s employees working in managing positions, leave the impression that their work is a hobby they love, considering the energy and the emotion with which they speak about olives, wine and cheese. To be specific, these employees are: Katja Gašparini, head of olive and oil production, Luana Kušće Vodopija, head of sheep breeding, cheese factory and animal feed and Sabina Salamun, oenologist and head of exports to UK market.
Katja Gašparini is the head of olive and oil production in Agrolaguna and she can tell you everything about olives. After graduating from the Faculty of food technology and biotechnology in Zagreb she wanted to work with something closely related with nature.
“I have started working in Agrolaguna in 2008 in our olive oil refinery because it was necessary to raise the quality of olive oil to a higher level and I wrote my thesis on the subject of new technologies in olive oil production”, said Katja Gašparini.
“Every year we developed new products, invested into new plantations, new technology, the refinery was reconstructed and the brand Oil Istria was developed. I am over seven years in Agrolaguna and the thing that motivated me in this work is the progress we achieved and the fact that the efforts we made bear fruit. Today, Oil Istria is a recognizable brand, not only in Croatia, but outside it as well and it represents a premium product. What can possibly motivate you or make you happier than this?”, she said.
Luana Kušće Vodopija is the head of sheep breeding, cheese factory and animal feed in Agrolaguna. She graduated food engineering in Faculty of food technology and biotechnology in Zagreb and works in Agrolaguna since 2003.
She loves the cheese production technology and she is a cheese lover as well. Speaking about her work, she points out to two of her associates, who are both experts in their segment – Đani Koraca, head of farm and Krunoslav Salaj, head of cheese factory. “Every daily obligation and challenge becomes easy to solve when working with them”, she said.
“I like it the best when I am in the facility itself, in direct contact with the products, walking through ripening facilities and admiring our new creations.”, Kušće Vodopija pointed out.
“The happiest moment in my career was last year when we received recognition for our work and success by having our cheeses win prestigious awards three times in a row in three different international competitions in England. For me, this was a sign that we are headed in the right direction with the aim of becoming a small “boutique producer” that will, with our special cheeses, transfer specific and recognizable features of Istria and Istrian products to Croatia and the world.”, said Luana.
For Sabina Salamun all roads led back to Istria as well. Salamun is a technologist-oenologist and even as a student of professional study in wine making and vineyard cultivation in Poreč, she worked and helped at the Institute of agriculture and tourism. She already knew what she wanted back then, but she was aware that first she must have top class education.
“My work day starts early in the morning and finishes when all tasks for that particular day are completed. I am highly motivated by success and the desire to accomplish goals. The most challenging situation for me was the presentation of Vina Laguna in Jamie’s Italian Restaurant in London (restaurant ran by a world famous Jamie Oliver) and I was extremely happy when the first order from The Wine Society, a very influential wine club in UK arrived.”, she said.
Sabina Salamun modestly pointed out that her “role models are colleagues from whom she can still learn a lot”.