Interview with Mikel Barandiaran, CEO of DOMINION, in TIME magazine

11 / 08 / 2022

The interview is part of the special about the growth prospects of the Spanish economy and its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

A new issue of TIME magazine has recently been published (August 8th - 15th) that includes a special on the Spanish economy and the growth prospects after the pandemic. 

Our CEO, Mikel Barandiaran, participates in this special along with directors of companies such as Solaria, Grupo EULEN or OHLA to talk about our commitment to promote innovation and sustainability. You can watch the full special here.

Original article:

DOMINION GLOBAL – A 360 Degree Perspective

It is now 23 years since the Boston-born industrial engineer Mikel Barandiaran founded the 360º projects and services company Global Dominion Access S.A. and quickly secured the contract to design and implement the entire communications network for Line 2 of Bilbao’s Metro system.

Since then, Dominion has been on an incredible journey itself and grown into an international company active in 35 countries and employing more than 11,000 people with annual sales of over $1 billion that provides integral services and projects to more than 1,000 B2B customers operating in the industrial, energy, telecoms and infrastructure sectors.

Dominion has also established itself as a golden opportunity for the investment community after Barandiaran, now company CEO, had the courage in 2016 to push ahead with a $170 million IPO on the Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, and Valencia Stock Exchanges when IPO activity across Europe was at one of its lowest ebbs. Almost uniquely for the Spanish market, the deal involved an all-primary offering, and was an unqualified success. The Economist’s appointment of Dominion as the best stock listing of the year and tipping it to become one of Spain’s fastest growing companies are still among the proudest moments of Barandiaran’s life.

The multi-disciplinary company has always been ready to challenge the status quo. “From the very beginning, we designed this company to be, at the same time, fearless but reliable, solid but flexible”, We are a company with a very distinct culture,” Barandiaran says. “We have a very flat structure, which is far removed from the classic one. We believe in decentralized management to meet the requirements of each market and client directly. Having a deep understanding of this uniqueness makes us stronger as a team within the company's culture, the most valuable asset we possess”, he says.

Another differentiating factor has been its unique approach to technology. “You don’t need to use the best technology, rather you have to use it most efficiently.” Barandiaran explains. " It is crucial to be up to date with what technology is available and what is most suitable for the particular task. It is in our interests to make a success of each project as we take a 360-degree perspective and build long term relationships with the clients”.

While the technology and projects goals may vary, the group has built its reputation for transparency and resiliency. Established at the height of the dot-com boom, it managed to survive the subsequent crash. It was a baptism by fire which endowed it with the inner strength required not just to survive but to thrive in what has a been a turbulent two decades for the global economy. “We are no strangers to crises,” says Barandiaran, who in 2008 was forced to lay off 40% of his workforce and to waive his own salary for five months. “We have proved to be very good at learning from our mistakes, thus we have managed to emerge stronger as a result”.

Dominion relies for its success on his own way of doing things and on its holistic ability to adapt and harness new advances and trends to the benefit of its customers. “We are not afraid of change. We lead it.” In Chile, for instance, it supplied, installed, commissioned and continues to maintain tsunami warning systems across various vulnerable areas; in Barcelona, it oversaw the design and installation of the Sant Joan Despí multipurpose hospital which it completed in just 20 weeks; and in Mexico, it was responsible for implementing two welding lines consisting of over 200 robots for the Volkswagen plant in Guanajuato, the automotive giant’s second most important factory in the world. And these are just a few examples of the hundreds of projects it has completed in the past 23 years. The company has now also set sights set on Asia. Dominion’s industrial services division, which already has a significant presence in both the European and American markets, is now making increasingly serious inroads there since the acquisition of a local player in 2019.  “We work as an ecosystem that is always open to new ideas, and enables exponential growth.”

Everybody at Dominion shares its CEO’s conviction that sustainable solutions are an increasingly important element within this company’s growth and diversification strategy and have consequently been busy developing a suite of services that will, among other things, reduce CO2 emissions, manage waste of industrial processes or monitor, analyse and control electricity, water, and gas consumption in real time. They also approach the maintenance, repairs, and operations (MROs) of most industrial companies with efficient and sustainable proposals, as well as they assist their customers with their digital transformation and to incorporate technology to increase their competitiveness, frequently a key to survival.

Sustainability is the way forward, and last December it raised $50 million from the sale of a minority stake in its Dominion Energy subsidiary that will help transform it into an independent power producer (IPP) with renewable energy projects totalling almost 2GW under development spread across Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

23 years later, the adventure keeps going. “I want Dominion to be a worldwide leader,” says Barandiaran, who committed to double the company’s net profits in a five-year period. If the company continues its current path of not simply thinking, but living, outside the box, then its groundbreaking disruptive approach for creating ever more diverse and sustainable business ecosystems means there is every reason to believe his wish will come true.