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Learning the ropes in Prague

Sep 02, 2015
Ewen Extier is the Branch Manager for AGS Movers in Prague. He’s new to the industry so Steve Jordan caught up with him to talk about his first impressions of this unique business.

Until this year Ewen Extier had been working as the deputy head of the commercial department of the French Embassy in Prague.  His job was to provide advice to French businesses wishing to open up new markets in the country.

He’d been in the job, and in the Czech Republic, for six years and it was time for a change. “I wanted to move into the private sector,” he said. “The moving industry was attractive to me because I had already been dealing with diplomats and expatriates at the Embassy.  I could also see that working with people, especially when they were going through the stress of a household goods move, would be interesting.”

Until then Ewen had little experience of moving.  “I just saw stress,” he said.  “When I joined AGS I realised that everything the moving company does is designed to relieve that stress for the customers.” 

Over the last decade the Czech Republic has become an attractive location for businesses wishing to be close to Eastern European markets but in a stable environment.  The operating costs in Prague are also much lower than in many other capital cities so it’s not surprising that many organisations are choosing the city to locate their head offices.  “I was used to dealing with senior executives in my previous job so I very much like working with these same types of people with AGS,” said Ewen. “Now I also get to work with a wide range of nationalities and cultures.  It’s very exciting.”

Ewen also recognised that the moving industry is unique.  “You have to get deep into the personality of the people.  You need to earn their trust.  This close contact is absolutely essential in this business and that is what I find most attractive.”

AGS Movers has been in Prague since 1992. As branch manager in Prague Ewen has around 10 full-time employees and a number of subcontractors.  “I enjoy providing a high level of service,” he explained. “People need to have their hands held and have everything explained to them in a very transparent way.” He said that it is essential that the customers can trust the crews too.  “We train them very carefully to make sure they are always polite, well turned out and respectful of different cultures.”

Being one of the largest operators in Europe has its advantages.  One benefit the customers like in particular is the use of the European Liftvan, a steel 10m3 individual container developed by AGS for intra-European moves.  It’s possible to fit nine onto one vehicle and each customer can see for themselves when the crew seal them and photograph the seal so they know nothing will been tampered with whilst in transit.  “We have 950 units which circulate between the 28 AGS offices in Europe,” Ewen explained.

But for Ewen the benefit of working for a large company is also personal. He has been in Prague for six years and is happy to stay a while longer yet, but the group does offer him opportunities that he would find hard to get elsewhere.  “I would like to stay here to learn every aspect of the job, then maybe later try another office,” he said.  “That’s one of the reasons I was attracted to work for AGS.”

Like so many before, after just six months in this remarkable industry, Ewan seems to be hooked.

Photo:  Ewen Extier

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