Founded in Malta in 2014, WES Trade Ltd provides technical and commercial internationalisation services to a diverse range of sectors, including defence and maritime security, water and energy management, airport and transportation, ICT and cybersecurity, and smart city solutions. Together with the company’s specialised subsidiaries, Co-Founder and CEO Alessio Bucaioni continues to channel his extensive international experience into creating valuable business expansion opportunities worldwide.

Nicknamed ‘Hyperdrive’, Italian-born Alessio Bucaioni is known for his insatiable energy, passion for people and tireless curiosity for global cultures – signature traits that he has etched into the fabric of the company he co- founded, WES Trade Ltd.

Indeed, WES Trade is a mirror image of Alessio’s values and character. For seven years, the company has helped an expansive range of clients internationalise their products and services, using the network of contacts, worldwide partners and opportunities – not to mention linguistic and cultural abilities – that Alessio has amassed over a long career in sales.

“WES Trade grew from my international experience as a Sales Director, offering what any company wishing to internationalise their products or services might look for,” explains Alessio. “It is very much a company shaped around me and what I love to do: to travel and discover different cultures, meet people and support others as they expand their businesses worldwide. Every experience teaches you so much, including how to adapt your sales approach to suit the local culture. It is one of the many reasons I love my job!”

Alessio built WES Trade with his best friend Daniele Rosa, and with the constant support of his beloved wife Chiara, using their shared values and extensive professional experience to create an organisation powered by diversity. Across a network of around 50 countries,

WES Trade specialises in internationalisation, complex project management, and research and development programmes across sectors including defence, maritime and homeland security, energy and water efficiency, logistics, engineering and civil construction, environment and agri-food, airport and transportation, and ICT and cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, the company’s ever-widening portfolio of services is supported by subsidiaries including WEST Italia, which oversees Italy-based projects; joint venture WPM with partner PT Matic, which provides environmental turnkey solutions; and SG Dynamic E, in which WES Trade acquired shares to invest further in the renewable energy market.

“Today, WES Trade provides services while also implementing projects of its own,” Alessio continues.

“A critical step was when we became a member of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, for which I deeply thank former President Frank V. Farrugia. He is a unique professional and real friend whose energy buoyed us as we joined Malta’s thriving business environment,” the CEO says.

As WES Trade grew, Alessio also directed the company towards another personal passion: research. “As an engineer I have always been attracted to research. I am proud that we have established multiple collaborations with start-ups, research centres and international universities, where new ideas and challenges originate,” he shares with excitement. “We work closely with them to merge these ideas into products that become industrial innovations. In recent years, several research and development projects have become our oxygen for future business, made possible by our team, which is brilliant at converting scientific ideas into products and solutions using their wonderful mix of exceptional skill and creative drive.”

Alessio’s leadership style is another reflection of his energy and passion for people. “Leadership is an innate ability, not a learned skill. It can’t be created if you don’t already have it – but it is nonetheless essential to build upon it with the help of your team,” he asserts. “It is vital that they see you as a good ‘captain’, since part of the role of a CEO is to convince them to follow your ideas and dreams towards a specific vision. But being an effective leader is more than that: it is to create a team that knows what to do at the right time, who help with decision-making and share their ideas, which I then transform into action. I love people with ideas, so as a small company we strive to create an environment that will welcome their creativity, develop their skills and help them build their own network – and networking is everything in our line of work.”

While the team shares his dedication towards the business and innovation, Alessio also highlights the importance of the company’s ethos of transparency, clarity and honesty. “Being in sales worldwide for so long, I learnt that you must always be fair, clear and transparent with clients. It is so important to build that relationship.

“But we want our clients to trust the company, not just me, so everyone on our team makes sure to offer the same high-quality service. And, of course, this also means that I can spend time with my family, safe in the knowledge that the business is in good hands,” he remarks, adding that a CEO’s work-life balance is possible only through the understanding and support of family, friends and colleagues.

But it hasn’t always been easy. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 tested the close-knit dynamic of WES Trade’s team, as well as the company’s global operations. Yet, as a man so used to adapting to the challenges of cultural change, Alessio applied his characteristic positivity to the situation – both as a leader and as a human being.

“The pandemic has significantly changed our habits and approach to life as a species. In the internal ‘small world’ of your company, you realise the extent of your responsibility for your employees, for their salary, for their health, for their future dreams. The biggest surprise was realising the fragility of our world and how quickly your life can change. It isn’t easy to stay positive when people are at their lowest, but that dark period made me stronger. I have spent most of my life travelling abroad for business, so staying at home meant I could enjoy more time with the people – and cats – I love, while I could significantly grow my network online and by phone.”

Supporting the community through stormy times is a pursuit close to Alessio’s heart – one that he also applies with pride to WES Trade’s CSR strategy. “Your company is a grain of sand. Collaboration and brainstorming with other companies highlight the need for social responsibility. Each of us is responsible for helping economic and social initiatives; we should not work with blinker-vision solely towards our own targets. I strongly believe that each person and company should contribute to a better world for humans, animals and the environment.”

Channelling this ideology, WES Trade supports several NGOs globally with systems, solutions and donations to help children and people in difficulty. The company’s CSR milestones include the donation of its ‘We-LEARN’ e-learning platform to the Progetto Continenti NGO for abandoned children in Guatemala and aiding the Animal Care Malta Sanctuary through large shipments of free pet food secured via WES Trade’s international contacts.

Meanwhile, time spent enlarging the company’s reach digitally during the pandemic is set to pay dividends in 2022, through a series of new project opportunities currently in development. “There are multiple major international projects in the pipeline and I will be looking to employ more staff to support this growth. While completing our works on Tripoli International Airport, we will also start implementing technologies for quartz and gold in the Mali Service Centre (MSC) and complete ongoing projects in Italy. We will also follow up on the ‘Blue Drop’ study to establish possible applications to improve water performance, while progressing our studies on smart irrigation through the ‘IRRIGOPTIMAL’ pilot project. Yes – 2022 is going to be a busy year!” the CEO smiles in conclusion.

This article is part of the serialisation of 50 interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2022 – an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders.

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