Acro Tag

Damian Protano Q&A

Damian Protano Q&A

We’ve been speaking to our key players here at Acro to help you find out more about the people behind our products ahead of this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo at Hamburg Messe.

In preparation, and as the second instalment in our Q&A blog series looking at what makes the team here at Acro tick, we’re introducing you to our International Sales Manager Damian Protano. With nearly 15 years in the industry, this is Damian’s first AIX representing Acro as he joined our team at Crick around seven months ago.

Damian works with clients across the globe to find the right solutions for all their aircraft seating needs, looking after leasing companies in the Middle East, APAC, the US, South America and beyond, and developing and maintaining key relationships in the process.

You’ve worked in aircraft interiors for more than a decade – what is the biggest change that you’ve seen in the industry within that time?

Changes in the world of aircraft interiors are always dependent on external developments in the aviation sector as a whole, and in recent years there has been a large focus on improving fuel efficiency.

There has been a change in travel habits worldwide since Covid, combined with the increasing focus on sustainability in all industries, which is driving the demand to make aircraft seating in general more lightweight as a result.

Businesses in all sectors are consistently looking for ways now to make their product greener. Acro’s Series 9 – independently verified as being 99% recyclable and designed to be as lightweight as possible – is proving to be a very popular seat with airlines because of its sustainability offering.

From the Middle East to the USA and across Europe, you travel a lot for work – do you think about what’s right and what’s wrong with the aircraft seating that you’re sitting on when you do?

If you work in the airline seating industry and you’re not thinking about what you’re sitting on when you fly somewhere, then there’s something wrong with you! It is something that I definitely do, yes.

As a sales professional working in the industry, looking at competitor seating when boarding a plane is pretty much a given. I like to check what their manufacturing methods are, check out their new product lines and look for any seat defects which can be found, and whether it looks like a common fault.

Like all passengers, I also like to check the comfort levels of the seat I’m in too, as this is a key driver for all airlines in selecting the OEM for their seating products.

What areas of expertise have proved most useful in your work with Acro following on from your background working with aircraft leasing companies, airlines, DOAs and MROs in the EMEA region?

My past experience of working in project management is turning out to be a big plus for me in my role with Acro.

It means I am able to speak more candidly with customers and offer them advice on how they can expect a project to go and discuss with them in detail issues around testing and all other elements of the seating selection and installation process with genuine insight in tow.

My previous work in this area has really helped me settle into my role since I joined Acro around six months ago, and helps me promote our products and give the customers I work with added confidence in me and the wider company in the process.

What are the biggest lessons that you’ve learned about the industry and yourself as a person during the time you’ve worked professionally within the aircraft sector?

I’ve worked in the aircraft industry for nearly 15 years, and it’s never lost on me just how close knit the aviation community is. Success in aviation is all about the loyalty you show to your customers and in being able to deliver on time – and in full – what you say you will.

People in the aviation industry are under immense pressure to deliver and the impact of Covid is still very much an issue from a supply point of view, so recognising this and working together is key to success for us all in my opinion.

As International Sales Manager for Acro, how do you help the brand to stand out across the many different markets around the world?

A large part of my role is focused on helping existing and potential customers truly understand what Acro stands for as a business, and how the product lines we offer are going to help them now, but also in the future.

It’s also really important from a global aspect that we make sure Acro as a brand remains visible internationally, and by participating at shows like AIX in Hamburg, it gives me the opportunity to continue promoting our products on the world stage.

What has been your most interesting or remarkable day at work for Acro so far, and which country were you in at the time?

As mentioned, I’ve been working with Acro for a few months now to help drive sales internationally, and so receiving my first order was a pretty good moment for me. I was working with a client in Dublin at the time and it would have been rude not to treat myself with a pint of the black stuff to celebrate!

What do you enjoy most in life when you’re not at work?

That’s an easy one – I love spending time with my wife and family, and I definitely like to relax. Aside from this and aircraft seating, my other great passion in life is following Liverpool football club, which I make sure I do wherever I am in the world.