The image of a discretely tattooed motorbike rider who loves skydiving and martial arts is not that common yet among business people in Romania. But Simone Favat, the general manager of IQ Facilities Management, deals well with combining a couple of outdoor activities not for the faint-hearted with a more down-to-Earth activity: the real estate asset management business.
By Corina Saceanu
Simone Favat has jumped off airplanes 1,600 times and has more than 40 flying hours in the wind tunnel - the equivalent of other 2,400 jumps. He has seen the Earth from 4,000 meters above in the sky on numerous occasions while holding hands with his skydiving formation team colleagues. Yet, this is not his main activity- nor his day to day job, which is managing real estate assets, but it is one of Simone's greatest passions.
The first 'jump' from Italy to Romania was in 2000, when he run a due diligence on a Romanian company. It was not the best first encounter with the country. The deal didn't go through and for some time his contacts with Romania consisted of in and out flights and short stays in the country. As with many coming for the first time to the country,
“I didn't know much about Romania before coming here. In 2000 Romania was quite a mystery for me. But I have been living here since 2007. My understanding of Romania was completely different before that, spending one week at the time in a hotel room didn't help me understand the country,” says Simone Favat.
The first impression about Romania was not the best, he remembers. It was August, a terribly hot weather. He was staying close to the Cismigiu park and it was full of dogs. But he looked beyond all that and ten years after, Simone says he has learned to enjoy life in Romania.
“I learned to enjoy life and open my mind. You have to accept the lifestyle and adapt to it. It is wrong to come here with an arrogant attitude,” he says.
He had enjoyed life before coming to Romania too. In fact, he had a broader perspective on life – from up in the sky to deep in the sea waters, through two of his passions: skydiving and scuba diving.
He started skydiving when he was 19, before joining the paratroopers in the Italian army. This passion lasted in time and is still one of Simone's main hobbies, although Romania doesn't offer too many opportunities to challenge himself this way.
“I have joined Italian skydiving competitions for years, I was part of the Italian Big Formation record – 60 people all together doing a formation in the air, I have trained with them,” he says.
He's not necessarily passioned about extreme sports, but rather about sports which are not easy in the beginning and make you push your limits. Skydiving and Krav Maga are among these. “It is a safe sport but you need to be very careful and train a lot,” says Simone. His former skydiving team is back in Italy and he joins them for skydiving sessions whenever he returns to his home country. The passion for sports is also supported by his Krav Maga training - he was a student of the Vigor Legio School, where he learned the hand-to-hand combat art of Krav Maga.
Enjoying life in Romania was not the only thing Simone has learned during his stay here.
“I learned a lot about managing people here. It was the most challenging thing, I did it when I was in the army, but back there there were other rules. In the business environment you need to be flexible and ask your people to be flexible as well, which is not easy. Sometimes you need to manage difficult people. It was a good lesson for life” he says.
Simone Favat now runs a facility management company in Romania that he owns together with other Italian shareholders. He has been working as an asset manager with Cefin Real Estate Romania since 2006 and in 2008 he started his own company here in Romania. One of his partners in this business is a friend he met while serving in the Italian army 20 years ago.
Simone has studied software engineering and graduated from the Polytechnic University in Turin, but never liked programming. Instead, he has managed projects, infrastructure and telecommunications. His affinity for logistics came from his University dissertation paper on operational research. Together with a colleague, he came up with an optimization algorithm which was used to solve the traveling salesman problem.
“We used the theory of the ants colony : how ants find food and then go back and how they use pheromones to leave a track and find it on their way back, in order to understand which was the quickest path.”
For his job, Simone is particularly interested in green management best practices, that he wants to implement on properties managed by IQ Facilities Romania. Meanwhile, he's pursuing a degree in real estate facility management with the University of Reading, as well as a RICS certification. Whenever he will decide to retire, Simone dreams of studying international politics, which is another passion of his.