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A piece of my life

Dámaso Martínez: Fundador Eninter

Dámaso Martínez: Founder of Eninter

I was born in 1949 into what might have been called a middle-class family at the time in a village of 700 inhabitants in the province of Cuenca. There were four children. After the Civil War, which my father took part in, he asked me one day if I'd like to go to Barcelona with him because he'd been told that there was a lot of work there. That's how I arrived in Barcelona at the age of 12.

At the age of 14, I started working for a lift company called SEIFERT Y BIENZOBAS. There I learned the trade from a great manager, Mr Aguilar. At that time everything went very slowly in terms of professional advancement, but I had been working as an assistant to an operator assembling two lifts in Reina Victoria Street in Barcelona and after a year and a half, he fell ill. I asked Mr Aguilar to let me finish the job. He trusted me, so he gave me a chance. From then on, he sent me to all of our complicated projects. When I was 16, for example, he sent me to Mallorca alone. I worked 10 hours a day from Monday to Sunday to earn more money. And obviously, I learned very quickly. I was good at it, I liked it and I was treated well.

SEIFERT Y BIENZOBAS was acquired at the end of the 1970s by Compañía Internacional de Elevadores, also known as Elinter, and later by Zardoya, a company from the Basque Country that was purchased by Otis years later.


In those days there was a lot of work. I remember we were sent to the mine district to assemble 130 lifts, of which our team of three technicians assembled about 70. Every week we completed two of them. A first-class journeyman's salary was 4,000 pesetas a month (24 euros!! for the younger readers). With bonuses, I managed to earn 30 to 60 thousand pesetas (180–260 euros) a month.

In Spain we had the Franco dictatorship and everyone had to do military service, which involved a year of instruction that took you away from your regular everyday life.

When I returned from my military service, two events took place that would change the rest of my life. I married my wife, Rosa Mari, who would be at my side for all my life, and I founded my business with three technicians, an engineer and my wife. This was 1973. I was 24 years old. I was very grateful to the people who had taught me the trade that allowed me to prosper and grow. Since the company name disappeared with the merger, we decided to name the new company Eninter as a tribute, changing the L to an N because it sounded better to us. We were in a 40-metre shop in Cornellà de Llobregat on the outskirts of Barcelona. We worked as freelance installers for different clients, among them Boetticher y Navarro, which was later absorbed by the German multinational Thyssenkrupp.

The experiment of having partners was short-lived. After a year, I bought the shares of the other partners for 750,000 pesetas. My wife and I stayed on as the owners of the company. At that time, maintenance contracts were not an important part of the business. It was all about installing new systems. I saw an opportunity to go into the maintenance business, because it seemed very secure and like something that could go on indefinitely. So I went for it. From 6 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon I assembled lifts. In the afternoon I did maintenance. After 8 in the evening I went out selling lifts door to door.

In 1976 we bought our first company, Gema Lifts, with 50 lifts under maintenance contracts. Today, we've made more than 60 acquisitions.

As early as 1983, we already had 500 lifts in Barcelona, and we received the only offer that we've had to purchase the company. It was from the Finnish multinational Kone. In the dark of the night in our room my wife and I wrote our decisions on a piece of paper: yes or no.

You already know the answer.

Now my children and a great bunch of people run the company guided by my advice and experience. For my wife and me, the company is part of our soul.

That's how far we've come... so far.

Dámaso Martínez signature: Founder of Eninter

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