Carolina Vela

I am Carolina Vela, current Project Manager of European Packaged Ice Association, I must confess that I feel a great enthusiasm to be part of this team.

I was born on the 3rd of April 1991 in Ecuador, when I was very young my parents moved to the beautiful and sunny city of Barcelona – Spain (lucky me), where I currently live.

From here I coordinate the projects that day by day are taking a warm tone and predict a great future for EPIA.

I completed my studies at the University of Barcelona with a degree in Business Administration and Management as well as a Post Degree in Digital Marketing (SEO & SEM).

My work experience is international, I have worked with various industries as a business consultant, project manager and sales manager. Besides Barcelona, I lived in Ukraine and Colombia helping start-ups to reach their business goals, I also did sales strategy trainings in Israel and Germany. I enjoy working in a multicultural environment, that’s why I think EPIA is my perfect fit.

As a senior executive with more than 25 years of extensive achievements in the disciplines of Management, Service and Installation, I have been able to demonstrate a unique combination of engineering background and business and financial knowledge.

I have accumulated my knowledge and intercultural experience working for family-owned and global companies during my 20 years of experience working in the different regions of Spain and abroad like France or Belgium.

I look forward to giving all this knowledge to strengthen and make EPIA known to more companies in our sector to grow our community, create synergies and share ideas of support for all.

I was born in Fraserburgh, Scotland and subsequently moved to Huddersfield, Yorkshire England where my father is from. Huddersfield is a large market town about halfway between Leeds and Manchester.  The town is well known for being the birthplace of rugby league.  Rugby was first played in the town in 1848 and the Huddersfield Athletic Club, the direct progenitors of the original Huddersfield Giants, was formed in 1864, played its first competitive rugby game in 1866. 

I attended Moor End High School in Huddersfield and then like most young men in this area of the UK, left school to work as an apprentice.  I chose to apprentice as an engineer for a local engineering firm called Hopkinson valves a major international supplier specializing in valves, actuators and controls. A few years after completing my apprenticeship I wanted a change of career and so I enrolled at Huddersfield University to study Mechanical Engineering.  This was a good decision, not only is The University in the top 10 in England for teaching excellence and it is ranked in the top 10 nationally for undergraduate and postgraduate employability. 

After university me and my wife Amanda (fiancée at the time) travelled throughout Southeast Asia and Australia with a view to working in New Zealand. By chance I came across an ad with a local employment agency looking for amechanical engineer to join their team, having earned real world experience as an apprentice engineer and recently graduated with my 1st class honours engineering degree, I was eager to put my new skills into practice. I was interviewed and offered the position.

I was enjoying working as a technical engineer for an engineering consultancy.  They specialized in road transport in New Zealand.  As it happens my employer was the NZ agent for KEITH® WALKING FLOOR®.

KEITH® provides a variety of solutions for handling bulk materials. The unique reciprocating slat design provides horizontal loading and unloading of nearly any bulk material or cargo and their products work well in the packaged ice industry.I was often called upon to help on the technical side of sales and my employer asked me if I would like to sell the WALKING FLOOR® products dividing my time between the existing engineering role and sales.

This is really where it all began and how I now work for KEITH® selling their product with one of their many specialties being the KEITH® storage, metering and conveying Ice bin.  My main role for KEITH® is sales, which includes supporting the products out in the field, trouble shooting issues, and providing technical solutions and advice. My territory is UK and Ireland. KEITH Mfg. Co. is a family business with the second and third generation continuing the high standards established by Keith Foster.  The company continues to maintain a family like relationship with all employees. 

I became a member of the EPIA board this year for a second time as Supplier Representative. As we all know the last few years have been challenging for everyone with Covid, the Ukraine war and now the energy crisis but I think in times of crisis it is important that EPIA members get back together again in the form of an EPIA convention. The past conventions have been a great success and have shown its important to meet old friends, share ideas and learn about the latest technology. I look forward to meeting everyone again in 2023!

I was born in Bolivia, and during my childhood I lived in Argentina.

An architect by profession.

I moved to Italy Sardinia where I noticed the lack of ice in supermarkets, for this reason, I decided to open an ice factory Naturghiaccio SRL with my husband Vittorio and partners (Silvia, Enrico, and Simone of Centro Freddo Sardegna).

Since the company was founded, we have become a member of EPIA because quality is always a priority.

Every year we believe in improving technology and growth together with the constant development of the ice market in Italy.

My name in Florin Popovici and the co-owner of the Instant ICE company which is one of the largest ice producers in Romania. Starting from 2023.

I am the secretary of the European Packaged Ice Association.

Our company, Instant ICE, was established in 2007 by two associates that have no previous experience in this field, but with a lot of enthusiasm. In our first year of existence we had the opportunity to be invited in Germany by one of the founders of the EPIA, Matthew Meredith, and we visit his Ice Factory. We have met in Matinal (a small city near Frankfurt) a few ice producers from all Europe and we put in practice Matthew idea to create an association. Being part in this from the beginning was a huge deal for us because we suddenly had acces to a lot of information that we miss: we saw bigger ice factories, we had acces to new suppliers, we discuss ideas with other members, we saw what was happening in other countries with this product. Basically being part in this association opened our eyes and mind to this industry. I can say for sure that this association helped our company to become what is it today.

I hope that in my new position in the board members of EPIA as a secretary I will be able to help revitalize the association which was affected by the lack of meetings and activity during the COVID pandemic.”

Gavin Marks together with his father Paul are joint owners of Eskimo Ice Ltd based in the south of England. They have recently welcomed in a third generation with Gavin’s son Harrison joining the business.

Eskimo Ice have been members of the EPIA for over ten years and know that Eskimo Ice has benefitted enormously from the association.

Having had no Conventions for the past 3 years, Gavin’s top priority is to help insure we have a 2023 EPIA Convention.