Gökhan Maraş, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OKT Trailer, Turkey’s leading giant industrial corporation that works in the trailer and vehicle equipment sector in Aydin, was the second guest in our ‘About You’ interview series. Marash, who is chairman of the board of the ASTIM Organized Industrial Zone and chairman of the Aidin Chamber of Industry, has transformed the family business into a large enterprise that exports to 78 countries on 5 continents in a short period of time. As one of Aidan’s most important businessmen at a young age, Marash became the pride of not only the company but also the city through his knowledge, experience and hard work. Successful businessman Marash told our correspondent Mehmet Kavas in no uncertain terms what he did not know about himself in public and gave details of his personal life in our interview series.
* Can you tell me about yourself?
I was born in 1983 in Aydin. I am married and have three children. I am a university graduate and engaged in industrial business. I have the responsibility of managing two rooms. I am the chairman of the board of directors of our family company. I’ve been in business since I was little.
* Do you call young people?
We took charge of our business in 2011 from our father, the first generation. His business had to be handed over to us because of his father’s illness. Since we have been involved in the business since childhood, we have adapted to our company’s processes without feeling any foreignness and have taken responsibility for our business. When we went to kindergarten, my dad had an art shop and we went to my dad’s shop after school. My father then started giving us small responsibilities. We have tried our best to give the responsibility that has been given to us. This process continued in primary and secondary schools as well. Our father’s encouragement and involvement in the business process has greatly benefited our development. Now we see that young people came to university, did not go to their father’s business, they do not know what their father is doing. It will be very difficult for them to cope with this task. When the head of the business is conducting the study, there are some things to learn with him so that tomorrow, one day when you hand over the business to you, you will not be like a fish out of water. I’m talking to all young people. While the head of the company is working, learn all the processes and adapt to your work. Tomorrow when your business life is in trouble, there should be someone who can knock on their door. Because those who have established these businesses should be seen as libraries. To do research, you go to the library and get the information, then you apply it. So young people need to learn how business works. Whenever I can, I bring my own children into the business during the school holidays. They’re young, but at least I like them spending time in business, so to speak, in the smell of the air. Also, I always try to help young people, I hold their hand. I share my knowledge, experience and experiences with young people. I’ll do it after college, unfortunately it doesn’t work. In short, our youth should be brave, knowledgeable and curious. It is also important to learn a foreign language at an early age. They have to build a very good bilateral relationship. Our youth need to build good friendships with people from different countries. Of course, they should not have friends on the phone, they should always have friends with whom they can express their every problem. They will see the benefits in the future.
* What do you mean by your 20-year-old self?
I want to complete everything related to vocational education. After a certain age, they do not occur. It could be accounting, finance, we are three brothers and none of us have studied mechanical engineering. It could be a branch of mechanical engineering.
* Do you have any turning points in your life? Is there a person who has influenced you both in your life and in your career?
My father sent me to Italy to learn Italian when I was 17 years old. My younger brother sent Hakan to England. When I went to Italy, I didn’t know Italian or English. The first three months were very difficult. I didn’t even know how to cook. When you go to work, you inevitably start to learn what life is all about. I thought a lot about coming, but Dad bought a plane ticket when he left, and never returned. My dad, if you don’t want to go back to learning, ‘There’s no place for you in the office, you do what ordinary people in business do.’ Says after three months, after overcoming the adaptation problem, we start learning. I have shown a lot of determination to learn Italian. Living in Italy at the age of 17 was a turning point in my life. My father is the one who influenced my life in this context.
* What are the three things you consider essential in your life?
Perseverance, curiosity and courage are essential to me.
* Is there anything in your life that you think you have done well?
Italy was the turning point in my life. I’m glad I went to Italy.
* Are there any areas where you say you are good at this?
My bilateral relations are very good. There’s nothing I can’t do. Even if I don’t know someone, I meet him, I make friends with him, I become friends. As long as I want to do a job.
* What is your favorite habit?
I am a very positive person.
* What is your favorite habit?
In fact, once I remove a person from my life, they can no longer enter my life. I don’t like this behavior.
* Do you not tolerate? What are you most angry about?
I get very angry when people are not honest. That is why I am angry with your sincerity.
* Is there any regret in life?
There are many regrets in business life. You learn by experience. There are many things that you want to learn in your business life.
* Which sentence describes you best?
Believe and achieve. For example, when I was in Italy, I started researching how to get citizenship. I have learned that for citizenship, it is necessary to work as insured for 10 years. There were some conditions. If I do not get this citizenship, I said my name is not Gökhan Maraş and I did what I said and got Italian citizenship within 10 years.
* How is your day going?
After the kids wake up in the morning, we send them to school, and we work. We have something that we do regularly, we control. We have appointments, we meet them. There are unscheduled meetings. If anyone in the industry has a problem, we try to help them. We do not know the time of our journey. It depends on the work situation.
* How do you rest yourself at this fast pace? Can you spend time with your family?
We spend time with our kids. We try to go on vacation as a family whenever possible. I follow the agenda.
* If you could describe Aidin in one word, what would you say?
Aydin is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I am not saying this because I was born and raised here. Because I go to many cities in the world for work. There are so many opportunities for Aydin that we need to make good use of it.
* If you were given the choice of the eighth wonder of the world, where would you choose?
The temple of Artemis in Ephesus is one of the 7 wonders of the world, but I think the ancient city of Ephesus as a whole should be on this list. The ancient city of Ephesus is a great place overall. It is a very beautiful place in terms of civilization. The structure of Ephesus is similar in Italy. I really like Ephesus.
* If you had a magic wand, what on earth would you change?
All I can do for peace in the world.
* Which team do you support?
I am from Galatasaray. My favorite athlete is Cristiano Ronaldo. I really admire Cristiano Ronaldo for his personality and kindness.
* Do you have a totem?
I don’t have a totem.
* Favorite food?
I love all my food. I do not discriminate in food.
* The last book you read?
I usually read books, magazines and newspapers about our sector and economy.
* What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I listen to any song that sounds good.
* The last TV show or movie you saw?
I see a lot of biographies. The last time I saw the Gucci family.
* If you were to make a movie, what would be its title and subject matter?
I want to make a movie about the cruelty or reality of life.
* Which day do you want to revive?
Speaking from business life, we went to Germany to negotiate with a company. A company has gone bankrupt, we are going to buy it. We realized the technical error and we couldn’t get the company. If I could go back to that day. Because if we buy that company, we as a company will be in a different place. We realized we couldn’t trust the people there.
* What do you think makes life the most valuable?
It’s family. No matter how hard you try, the fruit comes back to the family.