The Business Year

Ángel Paul Proaño

COLOMBIA - Industry

Ángel Paul Proaño

Director of Sales and Marketing, Western States

Bio

Angel Proaño is the Global Director of Sales and Marketing for The Western States Machine Company. With a degree in Agriculture Engineering and Business Administration from El Zamorano and LSU respectively. Before joining The Western States Company, he worked in a variety of industries within the commodities space for over 15 years. His background in sales, management and quality procedures have allowed him to advance with opportunities to hold positions such as President, General Manager and Executive Director in US and foreign companies. His extensive career has helped him to create the perfect network in Latin America to position Western States as the leading company and key service provider for centrifuges for labs and pharma operations into the medical cannabis industry.

“Western States is a well-established company that has had remarkable success in different industries for over one hundred years.“

What do you consider to be Western States biggest asset?

Western States is a well-established company that has had remarkable success in different industries for over one hundred years. We have gained the experience and knowledge about centrifugal separation processes, and we understand customer needs in different industries. We have expanded our presence into more than thirty-five countries. For this reason, we consider that one of the biggest assets that we have is the experience built throughout the years, this has allowed us to provide the best industrial equipment to each customer on an individual level. Western States is committed to providing only high-quality parts and centrifugals, therefore, there are still centrifugals operating around the world that are eighty or ninety years old, and we continue to provide spare parts and service to support those. The ability to stock parts on site give us the advantage to provide immediate shipment.

What projects are you currently working on in the cannabis space, specifically in Latin America?

Latin America is an extensive market which has bought different opportunities to us such as several projects in Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador. One advantage of our company is our facility in Sío Paolo, Brazil where we manufacture centrifuges, this is a great benefit by allowing us to be closer to the South America market and provide faster support. Furthermore, under our upcoming agreement with TruSteel, we will also be manufacturing their equipment in our Brazil’s facility.

What are your goals for next year, and what do you consider to be the next step for the company?

One of Western States’ priorities is to increase revenue percentage of our medical cannabis industry. Our current percentage represents less than three percent, however, our effort for this industry is fifty percent of all the company’s marketing target. On the other hand, the remaining fifty percent of the marketing target will be for our other industries. By 2025, our goal is to achieve ten percent of the company’s revenues in the medical cannabis industry. It is a brief period and a significant goal; however, we expect to accomplish this, especially now, with the relationships that we are trying to build.

Which of your strategies to enter the market have been successful?

The main strategy is to interact with the key players in every single country that we can visit. We are working to build a solid network. Every time that we go to a different country, we make the effort to meet with the people who are making a great effort to make a difference, such as the main speakers for the cannabis industry during conferences or the actors fighting for a change. We must meet all the key members and support them. People that are fighting for a change in the cannabis industry need to have our support since legislators and the government need to realize that this industry is the future for new businesses and will bring opportunities to their countries. Since 2017, we have been part of various cannabis conferences and visited countries to have a better understanding of this market as it is new for everybody.

What have you identified as the biggest challenges that the industry faces?

The problem is that there is little stability in the sector now. There are companies that are entering this new cannabis industry, but then suddenly disappear the next day. They are only focusing on just the cannabis industry. It is risky to put all your eggs in one basket. For example, COVID-19 pandemic affected tremendously the hemp industry in the US. Cultivators, growers, and companies in this industry disappeared which made us lost potential customers. Western States is not only focused on the cannabis industry. We will be here to support our customers for a long time. In Addition, we will also help TruSteel build that kind of relationship. TruSteel is also working in different industries, as well. Leveraging on our relationship with our customers, we will help TruSteel increase its market share in different industries such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

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