The BusinessMakers Radio Show

Episode #473: Tim Minochkin & Andrey Sharnin

Audio for this transcript available

Russ: Welcome back to The BusinessMakers Show. Heard on the radio and seen online at, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business. It's guest time on the show, and I have two very special guests. The topic is global business, because both of these men are from Russia. I have with me Tim Minochkin and Andrey Sharnin, both of Moscow. Guys, welcome to the The BusinessMakers Show.

Tim: Oh, thank you.

Andrey: It's good to be here.

Russ: Great. So you're both with Progress Tech. Right?

Tim: Yes.

Russ: Okay. Tell us about Progress Tech.

Tim: Progress Tech is international engineering services company that provides solutions for aircraft manufacturers, and their gear suppliers.

Russ: Okay.

Tim: It was founded in 1991 by a Professor Kulchitsky in Moscow. Besides engineering for aircraft manufacturers, our expertise is in airport infrastructure design and _____. Progress Tech's main customer is Boeing.

Russ: Boeing. Wow.

Tim: Boeing Corporation.

Russ: A main customer worldwide?

Tim: Worldwide. You're absolutely right. And by the way, this year Boeing nominated Progress Tech as a supplier 2013 as one of the best suppliers for 2013.

Russ: Wow, well that's something that you should be proud of. Which makes Progress Tech a good company to work for.

Tim: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Russ: All right. So how long have you guys been with Progress Tech?

Tim: I've worked at Progress Tech 'til 2006, eight years.

Russ: Okay. And do you have an area of specialty within the company?

Tim: My current position at Progress Tech is Chief Project Engineer in the airport design department. Our department is a project for airport and infrastructure, and airport design and planning as well.

Russ: Okay, so since you've been there since 2006 I would assume you've been involved in several airport designs around the world.

Tim: Yes. Not around the world. In Russia, in eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Russ: Okay.

Tim: But right now we would like to grow our business here in the USA, in Texas. And we have some currently projects in Ellington Airport.

Russ: Oh, Ellington, down in - out towards NASA. Right?

Tim: Yes. Yes.

Russ: Okay. Wow. And you've already won that project, or you're trying to win that project?

Tim: We're trying.

Russ: Okay. Really interesting. And Andrey, what is your title with the company?

Andrey: I'm a Deputy Director General responsible for the whole engineering programs and the business development.

Russ: Okay.

Andrey: So my current duties involve project management, program management, progress of the project, and the budgeting and the certification.

Russ: Okay. And how long have you been with the company?

Andrey: Well, I joined Progress Tech after I retired from Russian Air Force back in 2001. And it's been second decade in a row working for Progress Tech in a different position, but I begun as a Design Engineer. My first project was _____ of 747 at Boeing.

Russ: Okay. Wow, real interesting. And you said the company was founded in 1991?

Andrey: That's correct.

Tim: Yes.

Russ: And that was sort of the period where private ownership and private businesses was really taking off in Russia. Correct?

Andrey: Absolutely. As an entrepreneur of Progress Tech, he decided at one point to start his own business, and all it was based on just his knowledge, his experience, because he's a scientist in Civil Engineering. Originally I would say main _____ of business entity was infrastructure design employment. And later on we were able to establish a relationship with Boeing Corporation, and it was and still is our biggest customer.

Russ: That's really cool. So Andrey, you're background before Progress Tech was with the Russian Air Force. Tim, what did you do before Progress Tech?

Tim: Before Progress Tech I was at Moscow Power & Engineering Institute as Electrical Engineer, and after one year worked for some small private company, and joined Progress Tech.

Russ: Okay. That's interesting. So you know, do most people today in Moscow and Russia in general have jobs with private companies?

Andrey: Oh, yes.

Russ: Okay. Wow, that's so cool. I mean, I'm a champion of capitalism and free enterprise in general, and it's really neat to see how far you know, Russia has come. Our countries seem to have a lot of potential together. Right now though, we're kind of seeming like we're at odds with each other, yet business continues on, and I think pulls those things back together.

Tim: Well, I think we will need some time to recover, but I'm sure that there's going to be a bright future between two countries.

Russ: Okay. That's good to hear, too. So what brought you two to the United States right now?

Andrey: One of our goals here in Houston is to develop relationships with TTI Company. TTI provides language and logistic support worldwide. We are looking forward to establish long-term relationship with the best company in the future.

Russ: Okay. TTI. That's Tech Trans International.

Andrey: Yes.

Russ: Founded by Beth Williams, who we've had on the show a couple of times. Quite an entrepreneur herself.

Andrey: Um-hmm. Yeah.

Russ: So you've been spending a lot of time out there, and developing. Is some of this maybe even related to trying to win the project at Ellington Air Force Base?

Andrey: Well of course, it's definitely going to be a huge help for us to be able to get projects here in the states, because one of the _____ here for success comes from the ability to communicate with clients in a proper manner, and reassures that establishing cooperation with Tech Trans International will help us to reinforce and enrich the _____ of our employees to succeed.

Russ: Great. Well, Tech Trans International, when you're out there, it certainly feels international. And I think there are many people from Russia who are employees at TTI as well. Right?

Tim: Oh, yes. I think yes. Maybe 30%.

Russ: Right. And so I understand during your stay here I heard this in the pre-interview discussion here, that you actually got to meet a cosmonaut, a Russian cosmonaut, which you wouldn't have been able to meet back in Moscow. That's pretty cool. Right?

Tim: Yeah. In Houston we were able to meet, as you say, a Russian cosmonaut, and American astronauts, and almost on a daily manner. So usually do lunch or dinner together.

Andrey: Last Saturday we watched a soccer match with some guys from NASA.

Russ: Wow, so you watched the Russian team play soccer?

Tim: Yeah. It was international team.

Russ: All right. Great. Well, I really appreciate you sharing your story with us, and I wish you good luck on the Ellington Air Force Base project, and hope that our countries continue to do business together.

Tim: Well, thank you. Thank you for your time. It was a pleasure for us to be here and share information about the company. Thank you.

Andrey: Thank you for the invitation.

Russ: You bet. Thanks a lot, guys. And that wraps up my discussion with Tim Minochkin and Andrey Sharnin with Progress Tech. And this is The BusinessMakers Show. Heard on the radio, seen online at Brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business.