Generation 4.0: Agostinho Marques

He has a background in Marketing and works alongside his father in the company since 2008. Agostinho is part of the third generation of Dura.

Why did you decide to work at Dura? Was it a natural choice?
I followed my father in the company from an early age and I have understood the dynamics and characteristics of the sector. It was always a field of my interest and when I chose Marketing, I already had the goal of getting into the industry. After a short period working in the area of education and promotion of professional vocational courses, I started dedicating myself full-time to the footwear sector, in both Dura Footwear Factory, Lda., and Exceed Shoe Thinkers.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges in this succession process, in which you most certainly can include yourself (and is becoming ever more common within the sector)?
In a company with over 50 years of experience, there isn't a lot to revolutionize. It’s important to realize our strengths, for which we are known, and how we can adapt to an increasingly demanding market. The investment in a private label was a challenge we all committed to since the first day and that journey, although difficult, has been very rewarding. The evolution to a high-quality product has enabled us to extend our customer base and reach new markets.

In your opinion, what does the new generation of entrepreneurs has to offer to the sector?

A different insight… The merging within the sector of qualified people in several areas has brought other work methods, a more theoretical knowledge, a more realistic perception of the importance of customer satisfaction and willingness to do the work even better. However, we shouldn’t forget that although this is one of the most traditional industries of the country, APICCAPS had given a great support, for several decades, on defining strategic plans and image enhancement campaigns of the companies and the sector, in general, abroad.
Yet, we already know that the past’s success does not guarantee the success in the future. Therefore, we must be aware of the importance of the investments in technological innovation and production efficiency because of the enormous responsibility. In truth, we have the life and economic stability of thousands of people in our hands.

In what way do you believe it’s possible to evolve the footwear industry in the coming years?
The investment in training is fundamental. There is still a lack of qualified workforce in the industry. It’s important to rethink the education sector in Portugal. The youngsters need to get in touch with the labor market at an earlier stage of the academic career and it need to be designed to be more oriented towards specialization. It’s also important for the footwear cluster to not evolve at two speeds… To become better we need access to the best raw materials and components. Lastly, the investment in design is no news but it is essential to reach segments with greater added value.

What piece of advice would you give to a youngster who is entering the industry?
I would say for them to warn their family and friends. This industry will completely absorb them and, in the end, there’s not a lot of time for anything else. Nevertheless, it is very rewarding.