Alexander has a multidiscipline background, both from his education as well as his career. His degree in Civil Engineering has provided a solid background and knowledge-base. However, as he usually says “if someone asked me then what was the meaning of life I would probably come up with a number as the answer…” His love for numbers never left him but, through his studies in social sciences at the Adam Smith Glasgow Business School where he had his MBA, he realized that there are different ways of interpreting number and revealing their secrets as well as multiple viewpoints for the same case. He returned to his family business EMCO SA, in 1992, full of ideas and with a dissertation based on how to de-commoditize building products through the addition of quality services, innovative approach for these times. EMCO was a commercial company, established by Alex’s father in 1955, leading company in quality architectural and construction materials in Greece. He worked at EMCO hard, going through all the departments in order to understand the core of this organization. Six months in each department, i.e. warehouse, logistics, accounting, sales and finally management. Apart from being a shareholder, he was a member of the Board of Directors and travelled extensively to find new materials, to enhance relationships and solve operational issues with existing suppliers and to be trained on new technologies, products and applications. He was also trained during this period in Sales, Customer Service, Team-Building and Communication Skills.
In 1996 Alex becomes the founder of STIRIXIS SA, a company which sprung right-out of his research during the MBA and soon his company becomes much more than a service provider and gains turn-key construction contracts for a wide range of projects. Alex has the ability to fully combine his two degrees in the best way and focuses on how to ensure construction is completed with the highest return on investment for his customers. Realizing that the designs given to him did not meet his demands, Alex expands STIRIXIS’ professional services to also include Architectural, Structural and M/E design and supervision. Based on maximizing return on investment, the company focuses on commercial projects such as in those in the areas of retail, hospitality, offices and entertainment, where this approach is highly valued and required.
In 1999, Elena Athanassoulas, Alex’s wife joins the company. Her background (BA Mathematics and MA in Communications Policy in City University, UK) and her expertise (many years in advertising as an Account’s Director of big accounts) bring new food for thought and soon Alex and Elena introduce a new service department, developing complete concepts. Studying and collaborating with the world’s finest companies, such as Paco Underhill’s Envirosell in the US, complete concepts became their edge as the parameters identified and tweaked successfully therein where countless and the return for their customers extraordinary.
Alex is, however, a restless mind. And during his IPMA (International Project Management Association) training and certification in Project Management, he is introduced and studies Systems Thinking and different System Models such as Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model. He realizes that there is a treasure hidden in Systems Thinking, a treasure that up to now has not been transformed into a step-by-step business approach and no tools have been developed for its implementation. By using Feedback mechanisms from different sources, Alex and Elena design the masterpiece of their services, Concept Evolution, a unique combination of Market Research, Trend-hunting, Feedback Mechanisms, KPI-tracking, Strategy and Design fine-tuning, Training and Coaching that results in busting the myth of Concept Life-Cycle ensuring Sustainable Growth. The successful trip of STIRIXIS continues, with more than 400 successful projects already in the company’s portfolio and with clients from around the worlds, from Scandinavia to the Middle East.