Meet Our Team: Marco Raffinetti
Hello from Hyphen
In today’s Hello from Hyphen, we’re finding out more about Hyphen’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Marco Raffinetti.
As well as leading the Hyphen team and overseeing the development of Namibia’s first vertical green hydrogen project, Marco also competes in endurance sports, though we don’t quite know how he finds the time! Find out how he does and more by reading on!
Can you tell us about your role at Hyphen and what you do day to day?
I’m the CEO of Hyphen and responsible for overseeing and driving the development of our world-leading Hyphen project. Day to day, that involves engaging with our counterparts from the Namibian Government in coordinating the various workstreams required to deliver the project. I work closely with Hyphen’s internal team and external service providers in developing the technical design of the project and engaging potential partners in the execution of the project. This covers engineering and construction companies to equipment suppliers, customers and funding providers.
A significant amount of my time is dedicated to speaking with both Namibian and international media about our project. Most importantly for me, though, it means leading our team of inspired and passionate renewable energy professionals.
What was your first ever job?
My first job as a teenager was working part-time during the holidays in a steel window frame manufacturing company. I worked on the final stage of the production line where the windows frames were painted and fittings attached before being loaded onto trucks for dispatch. With few manual labour skills at that age, it involved a lot of hard work outdoors for eight hours a day, whatever the weather. It was a great learning curve!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The stimulation and excitement that comes from developing a first of its kind mega project in an emerging field with the potential to have a significant impact on the economic trajectory of Namibia. We are laying the foundation for the establishment of a whole new industry through the development of Namibia’s first large-scale, green hydrogen project. It’s an enormous responsibility and immensely challenging.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in renewable energy?
For any career, not just in renewable energy, you must have passion for your work. It’s very hard to stay motivated, work long hours and overcome difficult challenges if you are not passionate about what you do. So find your passion and direct that passion to leaving a positive impact on the world.
Can you share an interesting fact about yourself?
I enjoy endurance sports and have completed the Comrades Marathon four times. It’s actually an 88-kilometre-long ultramarathon across in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, which starts in Durban and ends in Pietermaritzburg. It’s the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race, and attracts 25,000 runners each year. The spirit of the Comrades Marathon embodies the attributes of camaraderie, selflessness, dedication, perseverance, and ubuntu.
I’ve also finished the Dusi Canoe Marathon more than 10 times, which covers 120km also between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the biggest canoeing event on the African continent. The race was founded in 1951 by Ian Player (the brother of golfer Gary Player) who was one of South Africa’s first environmental champions.
A half iron man is next on the bucket list – if I can ever find the time to do some training!
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
Outside of work my priority in life is my family and, with a crazy work schedule, when I’m at home I really try and prioritise time with my wife and two daughters. Holidays are a big thing for my family, most of which we spend in nature trying to find the most remote and out-of-the-way places that are off the grid.
I also try to stay fit mainly through running.
What are you most excited about for the future of the renewable industry in Namibia?
There are so many things to be excited about when it comes to renewable energy in Namibia. With huge, untapped renewable energy potential, Namibia has the potential to transform its economy and uplift her people, and at the same time, help the world to decarbonise.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your career?
Hire people that bring different skills and perspective to the table than you, and then empower them to take ownership for the delivery of their goals.