After finishing my studies in the School of Industrial Mastery of Úbeda in the Electrical Branch, I set up the first company SOTO Y MARTOS, in which we dedicated ourselves mainly to installing electricity in homes. Then, thanks to Juan Candelas, a colleague from Westfalia Andalucía, I started to work as a collaborator for the company FUENTES CARDONA, until it was later established in Úbeda as WESTFALILIA SEPARATOS IBERICA, which was then changed to GEA. I have participated in the design and the development of electrical and control equipment and control panels of more than 1,000 oil mills on the 5 continents.

What was the sector like before?

The same with Fuentes as with GEA, we have been collaborating partners under the name of TILOMA, contributing using our experience and knowledge to improve automation processes, both for obtaining oil and for the treatment of the sub-products. We have ample experience in the sector, both inside and outside of Spain, ranging from rolling mills to hammer mills, to the 4.0 oil mills that we have today. The most important thing is the improvement in quality. In the old days, we would consume olive oils with more than 20 degrees of acidity, a vast contrast to what we have today. The consumer must be grateful for what we are able to consume today.

From 1982 until my retirement I did just about everything in this sector – I was a salesman, together with my colleagues from Westphalia (Candelas and Martel) and later, during the harvest campaign, I was a technician in the start ups and I coordinated technical assistance.

How do I see the sector now?

It’s full of opportunities, but it is not yet as specialized as it should be. While other countries have innovated in regard to olive groves, we have not done so in any area of the chain, especially in the training, knowledge and experience of the management bodies. This requires a serious update in order to keep up with the rest of the global sector.

After the change in 2002 in Westphalia, I started to work with my colleagues from GEA (Higueras and Adan) in the commercial field until my retirement.

During this long time I have experienced the transformation that the industry has undergone in terms of means and controls to facilitate the work of operators and improve production, thanks to the programmable automations that have evolved over the years.

I am very proud of this sector, and of my contribution to it. I have spent many years trying to make it better.