June Abroad 2011: The Journey Begins

The group arrived safely in Prague on Saturday, June 11.  After a brief time to recharge our batteries we attended our welcome dinner, which included traditional Czech food, music and dancing.  Sunday, June 12 was spent touring some of Prague’s most famous sights, such as the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town, and the Lennon Wall.

Visits began this morning with Synpo in Pardibuce, which is approximately an hour and half drive from Prague.  We sat down for a discussion with Synpo’s Director Martin Navrátil and Professor Štěpán Podzimek.  Synpo is a privately held company and they intend to keep it this way for the foreseeable future as it gives them a quick response to customer needs due to a lack of red tape. Navrátil gave an overview of Synpo and talked about their three main objectives: research and development, analytical and testing services and paint manufacturing.

One thing I found interesting was that Synpo partners with the local university and allows students (Ph.D.) to work on their thesis in their laboratories.  This is beneficial to the students because they get to use state of the art equipment not available at the university, while Synpo gets free labor and a useful recruiting tool for finding future employees.

Synpo is proud of it’s public and private partnerships.  They are eager to expand their business network of potential customers via publications and yearly trade shows.  However, they are currently supported via a local supply chain, which is both a strength and a weakness.  This may prevent them from expanding their client base beyond the European Union.

After the overview we took a tour of their R&D facility as well as their manufacturing facility to provide us a comparison of the different areas.  After the facility tour Navrátil joined the group for lunch at Birdie restaurant where we continued to discuss his career at and beyond Synpo.

Written by: Nicole Munns


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