Interview with Sławomir Ptaszkiewicz, a candidate for Mayor of Kraków

in the forthcoming elections slated for the Fall of 2014

 

DISCLAIMER:  SF-Kraków Sister Cities does not endorse any particular candidate or party. 

 

 

Follow Sławomir on his Facebook fanpage, official website, Twitter, and YouTube!

 

“We have a lot to offer to each other”

 


Recently you visited Kraków’s American sister city, San Francisco. How did you like it?

I was truly amazed. Especially, because I met many fantastic people who love Kraków, who engage in building relationships and who facilitate cooperation between our cities. The “vibes” and challenges of our cities are similar.  This relationship offers a perfect opportunity for cooperation.

 

Silicon Valley is the cradle of the tech sector.  Several dozen Polish start-ups are in Silicon Valley. On May 7, 2014, at San Francisco’s City Hall (Polish Flag Raising Day to which you were invited), you said, “We must build the bridge linking our two Silicon Valleys”.  How are you going to bridge-build?

I would like to create a series of events in both Kraków and San Francisco that would facilitate the flow of capital and of ideas, that would result in partnerships.  In Poland there are many talented people but the cash flow is insufficient. Support in the transfer and exchange of these two resources would be highly beneficial for both sides in establishing a partnership.  I would like to see further cooperation between universities.  Kraków is a great window to the entire European Union.  It is a place that offers a substantial market of potential customers.

 

Among the many sister-city relationships in Kraków, which are the most active and why?

The most productive relations are between cities whose citizens are active and kind. Due to distance, European contacts are more frequent.  After meeting the wonderful San Francisco community I hope that we can tap into its potential and openness.

 

What are the ways that regular citizens and small business owners in Kraków can participate in sister city relationships?

I consider access to information as well as tourist cooperation crucial. It is always better to visit friends. In today’s world of competition, the ability to cooperate allows for better positioning on the market. Kraków has become one of the biggest centers of BPO (business process outsourcing) services in Europe. It has the potential to be attractive to many companies in California.

 

In March 2014, you decided to run for Mayor of Kraków. Was it a tough decision? What are your goals?

After 15 years of running a business and accomplishing many successful real estate and investment projects, I decided to use my knowledge and experience to improve the functioning and development of the city. I am disappointed with the current management style.  Instead of complaining I decided to act. Four years ago I became a city council member. Today I can see that to have real impact on management style and performance, there is a need for executive skills that I believe I can offer. Therefore, I decided to run for this position.

 

What are the top three priorities for Kraków?

- Clear vision regarding the direction of the city’s development (e.g., transportation, air quality improvement)

- Attracting new businesses and investors

- Security improvement

 

We heard that Kraków has the highest concentration of computer game development companies in Poland.  Why is that, and what are the unique characteristics of Kraków that attract so much talent?

Our city has a unique Genius Loci (City Spirit). This allows for versatile development. We have many prestigious universities and a creative atmosphere. That is the reason why there are so many Nobel prize winners and prominent figures who live here, or who have lived here.

 

What are some specific goals and objectives of Kraków's international Sister Cities relationship in general and in particular with San Francisco?

I think it would be beneficial to:

- Create a permanent meeting center in San Francisco where Polish entrepreneurs visiting California could meet. It could also be a place where Americans could learn about Polish culture and cuisine.                                    

- Develop cooperation between universities and promote student exchange programs.

- Organize workshops to discuss the problems and challenges that our cities are facing, and to work cooperatively on problem solving.

 

One of the most important values in your life is family. You have six sisters, and one brother, and three daughters. Do you all live in Kraków?

My siblings live all over the world. One sister lives in Australia because she married an Australian. Two sisters live in Connecticut in the United States; one married an American. The third one lives in the United Kingdom and married a Brit. The rest live in Poland. They are young and have begun their family lives and are raising children. One sister, Kasia, is very active on the start-up market; my brother Marcin is in real estate.

 

Since high school you’ve been working and building your position. You are a successful businessman, your housing projects are among the most attractive places to live.  You were only 22 years old when you started your family. How did you manage this?

Giving was always my goal. Giving myself to others. I have always tried to do this in an active and comprehensive way so that I could quickly learn and hone my talents.  I was attentive to the balance between my body, mind and soul. I was driven by the love of people.

 

Are your daughters following your career path or are their areas of interest completely different?

For now my daughters are still in high school and have not yet decided about their future.

 

Biography:

Sławomir Ptaszkiewicz was born in September 30, 1973 in Krynica and grew up in the small town of Gorlice. At the beginning of 1990 he arrived in Kraków to study management in business at Jagiellonian University. He was 22-years-old when he got married. Now he has three adult daughters. It was one of the most crucial decisions in his life. The value of family has always had great meaning for him. He has six sisters, one brother. Each of them has already set up their own families.

 

His first work was as a waiter and a bartender in a local pub. He was still studying in a technical college at that time. During his studies he got a job at a real estate office and later in a few international gas companies: Du Pont Conoco, Amoco and Texaco. In 1998 he set up his own business -- a company called Terra Casa.  At the beginning he was involved in advisory services for foreign companies that were planning to launch investments in Poland. Later the company managed construction projects, both commercial and housing, including the housing estate “Parkowe Wzgórze” in Mogilany near Kraków, a complex of apartments -- “AvanGarden” -- in the Warsaw district of Wilanów, and Villa Emaus in Kraków.

 

In 2007 he decided to get involved in politics and contribute to the urban development of Kraków and Malopolska. From 2009 – 2013 he was a member of Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform). Between 2009-2012 he served as Chairman of the Regional Development Group.

 

In 2010 he ran for City Council and was elected. As a council member he serves on commissions related to auditing, budget, development and innovation, regional planning and environmental protection, education, housing, and financial reform.

 

In June 2013 he was elected Chairman of the J. Dietl Self-Governing Corporation in Kraków.

 

Sławomir is a candidate for Mayor of Kraków in the forthcoming elections in the Fall of 2014. 

 

DISCLAIMER:  SF-Kraków Sister Cities does not endorse any particular candidate or party. 

 

  

 

 

 SF-Kraków Sister Cities Association
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