When Tradition and Performance merge in the Future

“Thank you very much, Robert, having the INSPET Team/Family by my side, who shares and implements my vision, means a lot!”


The inspiration came from the phrase you just read. In preparation for an article. An article about us, INSPET Ploiesti. In fact, this phrase is a recent response that our CEO posted on LinkedIn after being congratulated by his counterpart in a partner company on the award received, namely 1st place for INSPET in the “Romania’s Top National Private Companies 2022” carried out by CNIPMMR. Everything you’ll read after that is about professional authenticity and real-world organizational life; nothing from business theory or organizational development books is used.

A seemingly straightforward response, but consider the following insights:

  • respect for friends, colleagues, collaborators, the entire INSPET community
  • micro-understanding, team spirit, “presence” and authentic communication
  • adaptability to the digital context, curiosity and involvement
  • delegation capacity and catalytic power of change
  • long-term thinking, assumed decisions
  • both vision dissemination and implementation

It is said that the conversations we have, what we say, and how we say define our lives, both professionally and personally. The way we communicate. But, perhaps most importantly: let’s not assume that we know everything and all. Learn from people whose worldview is pragmatic, who are innate activators and have a different mindset characterized by adaptability and vision. We will be able to learn information and innovative things, to ask questions about how to set up our own goals, only if we talk to each other, listen to each other actively, and are open to accept other points of view.

If a simple phrase can reveal so much to us… what is it like when a leader communicates and projects direction?

When a company’s CEO communicates, he conveys knowledge, creates an identity, and establishes the basis of a community.

The reason being that everything is ultimately created by people, for people. A CEO’s vision for business, however, is insufficient: his individuality can be only theory without practice. The dissemination of the vision within the organization, its adoption, and its compliant implementation are vitally crucial components in day-to-day business reality, and in this situation, the responsibility and obligation fall equally on the rest of the organization, on the other employees.

When we consider that, on average, an employee spends approximately 75,000 hours of his or her life at work, we can see how important employee’s attitude toward the workplace is. Employee engagement at work has a direct influence on the implementation of the company’s vision, and to some extent on the organization’s growth or decline, as it is a predictor of organizational resilience and performance.

According to the most recent studies, 33% of employees in Romania are completely dedicated to their profession and workplace, are proactive, proud of their company and colleagues, and continuously learn and grow professionally. These are the best people: they are open to new development directions and can adopt the vision and strategy on the fly. They are the stars of the company, they are not afraid of change because they are good professionals, honest and confident in their abilities. They are the pioneers of adoption and implementation.

However, there is a level of employees who are disconnected from the workplace, are dissatisfied with their jobs, or even feel unhappy at work (in Romania, the percentage reaches 20% in 2022). Again, communication and conversations can play an important role in designing a better future in the company and changing employees’ attitudes toward the constructive, optimistic, and growth zone. As long as they recognize that there is only one way forward: “forward, proactive,” these employees crystallize and concretize their career path/direction in a completely assumed manner in the aftermath of change.

In this regard, the most recent interview of Mr. Ciprian E. PALTINEANU, CEO and Chairman of the Board of INSPET SA,  published in Energynomics , is structured on three pillars: past, present, and future, with an emphasis on the importance of people, because they are the ones who shape the company’s entire history and life.

Authentic and confident in the future, Ciprian Păltineanu does not forget to honor the past, which includes all of the company’s activities dating back to 1950.

INSPET begins in 1950. The history of construction-assembly contractors for fluid projects – similarly to that of road, railway, civil engineering contractors – extends over a period of over 70 years in Romania. Initially organized based on geographical criteria and acting in the system of a non-market economy, in the period before 1989, these companies went through major transformation with the introduction of capitalist economy principles. Many such companies failed to adapt to the new economic paradigm, exiting the market. But there were also some noteworthy exceptions, famous companies, which managed to reinvent and stay at the top of the industry. In addition to these companies with tradition, a multitude of new players have emerged – smaller, newly established companies, medium and large-sized companies, and companies in related fields, which decided to expand their activity in the market segment of fluid projects – energy or water – for reasons of complementarity of opportunity. And the evolution of these new players is uneven, depending on market conditions and the specific aspects of each company – technical equipment and staff, experience in project management, access to financing, capacity and workload etc.

INSPET is currently one of the companies with a long history. INSPET is one of the companies with tradition that continue to deliver performance at the highest level, consistently, in the industry that established us. We celebrated over three decades as an independent company, inheriting the experience of the predecessors accumulated uninterruptedly since 1950, during which time we were consistently at the top of fluid projects, for over 20 years being ranked first nationally in terms of the main object of activity. Over the past 30 years, we have executed over 300 important projects worth a total of over EUR 3 billion, recording revenues of over EUR 1 billion, paying in due time over EUR 200 million in taxes, duties, and contributions to the state budget and investing over EUR 50 million in new production capacities and other capital goods.

We continue a 70-year tradition in energy fluid infrastructure. The Romanian oil and gas infrastructure is part of our company’s DNA: we remain attached to large strategic projects that target the development of hydrocarbon extraction, processing, transmission and storage infrastructure in order to secure energy resources.

INSPET’s involvement in a project is a guarantee for the beneficiary that the contractual terms will be strictly observed. The recent experience within the BRUA project, of strategic European importance, has proven that INSPET is able to address large-scale projects, coordinating associates and subcontractors with varied activities, with significant time and budget constraints and implement them in the most difficult social and economic situations, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. As association leader for the construction-assembly of 180 km of DN800 PN63 pipeline and three gas compressor stations, in the end responsible before the beneficiary for the execution of projects, taking over when necessary additional works, including the execution of works from the associates or subcontractors that for various reasons failed to comply with their contractual obligations – INSPET is a professional organization on all levels.

After BRUA, the largest projects completed were the compressor stations within the development of the national gas transmission system in the North-East area, with Transgaz as beneficiary, and the Bilciuresti Natural Gas Dehydration Plant, with DEPOGAZ as beneficiary.

We place a high value on efficiency. We can address any large-scale projects; for optimal efficiency, we target projects of up to EUR 100 million per year, in partnership with other reputable companies, complementary, for energy companies with the majority state capital, public utility companies, multinational energy companies in the country and abroad, central and local public authorities.

The traditional activity sectors are the trunk pipelines and the related installations of high-pressure energy fluids, a smart distribution network for natural gas, water and sewerage, with the related installations. Depending on requirements, we also get involved in civil engineering works or prefabrication of metal structures and profiles for industrial, road, or railway infrastructure construction.

We are especially interested in the development of new gas resources, where Romania can position itself as an important player, both offshore and onshore, and in the development of hydrogen production, transport and storage infrastructure.

INSPET recently became a member of the Romanian Water Association – ARA, a responsible action in the company’s activity where utility construction works for fluids predominate. This is also related to the subject of social hygiene. The 6th Sustainable Development Goal addresses the availability and long-term management of water and sanitation infrastructure.

According to the most recent sustainable development reports, approximately a quarter of the population in Romania does not have access to current drinking water; however, in rural areas, more than two-thirds of the population does not have access to current drinking water. When it comes to wastewater, nearly half of the population lacks access to sewage or treatment plants.

Furthermore, the lack of running drinking water, sewerage, and natural gas and electricity supply leads to social exclusion, and in Romania, approximately one-third of the population is at risk of social exclusion.

As a result, investments in the field of drinking water and sanitation are mandatory, funding sources exist and are being allocated for various projects, and the business potential is tangible for serious fluid infrastructure constructors and general contractors, as long as the works are correctly budgeted, taking into account current prices of materials and equipment, which are significantly increasing compared to the time of drawing up the feasibility studies. We also consider water from the standpoint of land improvement projects, where we have the advantage of our own material base/machinery and construction equipment fleet.

Additionally, we advocate for the construction of water mains, pipe networks that can also be used for irrigation and are far more effective than open canals, because of the need to use water more wisely in the future, notably in the context of the development of the hydrogen economy.

However, one critical factor is the availability of qualified labor. If only a third of the announced projects are carried out, it is likely that far more skilled workers than are currently available will be required to complete the work on time.

INSPET is a constantly evolving company; we are ready to participate in climate transition, being a signatory of the European Green Deal (PEC) and European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECH2A). We have our own targets to limit the carbon footprint, both for investment works by direct labor and – where possible, from the perspective of beneficiaries – within works for third parties. We invest in renewable energy production infrastructure and explore a potential expansion to construction and assembly works in this sector of activity. 

The challenges of the present are real, and we deal with them. On a national scale, we undoubtedly see some deficiencies in each of the areas linked to managerial ability, engineering knowledge, financial stability, and workforce access. Unfortunately, there are others too. I believe that some of the most sensitive aspects, that can negatively affect national economic performance, including business environment, work ethic and – to a certain extent – the public procurement system.

Regarding the business climate, we need more legislative stability and predictability (the rules of the game cannot change overnight, to allow defining multi-annual business plans). It is imperative to develop a pro-business mentality, a fair partnership between state and the private business environment (based on mutual respect and honest dialogue, focused on national interest in a broad sense) and combat double standards (the rules must be the same for all, and the entire business environment must exclude unreliable companies or businessmen).

We get involved in public consultations, both through the various professional or employers’ associations whose members we are and institutionally, as big taxpayer, with proposals of solutions that from our point of view can provide a fair rebalancing of the business environment. Unfortunately, we feel that many such consultations are purely formal and the business environment still does not manage to find its position as dialogue partner of the state.

Work ethic is currently a vulnerability, but which – if addressed accordingly, as we see that Romanian professionals can perform at high level abroad – can become a strength and propel us into Europe’s elite. We need to work unsupervised with the same focus, quality, pace and responsibility as if we were supervised, to increase productivity and efficiency of work, to combat the waste of resources, including time, but also an increased focus on teamwork and collaboration. Conversely, from companies, a motivating and fair remuneration is needed, to reflect collective and individual performance.

We implemented programs of evaluation and remuneration depending on performance, programs that we constantly calibrate to get the maximum commitment. INSPET is also one of the companies that have implemented a stock incentive plan to motivate the key personnel.

As regards the public procurement system, very beneficial in its role to ensure an unbiased platform that allows the selection of the best offer in terms of quality-price ratio, suffers in practice, in certain cases, discretionary interpretations that tend to disadvantage some bidders to the benefit of others, endangering the purpose of the system, to have quality projects and works, successfully completed, at the best possible price. We recommend finding ways to make the preparation of specifications and the evaluation of bids objective, that do not allow the qualification of bidders that are unprepared in reality for that type of works, and not to disqualify or downgrade serious companies, with proven experience in the execution of works, for purely formal reasons.

INSPET has a clear vision and development strategy. We are working on a number of projects related to hydrogen, both in terms of research and investments. Although we are a relatively small company – if we compare with the energy companies with majority state capital or international investors – we have allocated an important budget for these works and hope to see a broader ecosystem, which collaborates within competitive limits to increase chances of success and international competitiveness of the domestic industry that is taking shape, more end-users and – why not – at some point an electrolyzer factory made in Romania.

We speak openly and honestly, just as we are – excellent professionals, dedicated to our activity, pointing those who are interested in the right direction, and putting a piece of our soul and all our knowledge into what we do. Because, YES, when we construct for the future both physical goals – buildings and energy infrastructure – we also build an identity, a united community, and provide inspiration to those willing to see new perspectives.

Because, in the end, everything is made by and for people.


You can find out more about INSPET and keep up with the latest news via LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and  


Mr. Ciprian Păltineanu’s full-length, bilingual (Romanian-English) interview can be found here, published in Energynomics.