07 / 03 / 2023

Interview III– 100 Years of Oropal



As you already know, we are conducting a series of interviews with workers who were once part of the Oropal brand’s staff before it was acquired by Irurena Group.

In the two previous interviews, we were able to talk to the manager and the commercial director of Oropal who orchestrated the brand’s transition to Irurena Group, and with the R&D technicians who became part of Irurena’s technical team. With all of them, we have learned how the way of manufacturing and selling paint has changed over the years.

Now it’s time for Javi Preciado, one of the factory workers who has been packaging and serving paint for almost 30 years.


Javi emphasizes that the continuity of the brand under Irurena Group’s ownership allowed saving many jobs. This, in turn, ensured that the families of those workers had their life projects secured.

Alongside all the manufacturing staff, he is one of the most valuable assets in the workings of our work system. He provides another perspective on what it means to work for a paint brand that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

How was your work experience at Oropal?

As a small family-owned company, we all knew each other. From management positions to manufacturing, we worked closely together. It was a very pleasant working environment. The entire staff got along well. Additionally, it was where I started my journey in the paint industry, and I learned a lot of what I contribute to Irurena Group today.

What has made you most proud of working at Oropal?

Maintaining my job after the company was transferred to Irurena Group, the relationships with colleagues that we still have today, and the ability to adapt to a new work model. Naturally, when joining a new company with a larger staff and higher turnover, the initial feeling is somewhat akin to vertigo. Will I fit in? Will I adapt easily? How will my new colleagues welcome me? All these doubts were dispelled shortly after arriving; I received a warm welcome, and I quickly adapted to a work model unfamiliar to me until then.

How has the work changed since you started and how is it now?

I joined Oropal in April 1996. We were very few workers for a paint factory, exactly 25 people. In contrast, now we are more than 100 people who coordinate like a football team to handle a much larger workload than when I started in the paint industry.

It’s fantastic to see how, with the effort and involvement of all Irurena Group staff, the business moves forward. The dynamism of the people in the different areas of the company through daily communication and coordination is what makes it possible for the quality of Oropal paints and the rest of the coatings from various group brands to remain high, and orders reach our customers at the stipulated time and place of delivery.

Can you share any anecdotes, personal experiences, or interesting stories that you remember?

Certainly. I have an anecdote that, when I tell my family or friends, they burst into laughter. I taught a colleague how to clean the 1000L tanks. At that time, we had to take a broom and clean the pot where paint mixtures are made by hand with solvent. I went to do other tasks, and when I returned, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He had climbed inside to clean it, with paint still inside! He was covered in paint up to his knee. I started laughing uncontrollably. Amidst laughter, I asked him what he was doing. At first, he looked puzzled, but then he started laughing hysterically, just like me. We joked about it for months.

What did it mean for Irurena Group to continue with the commercialization of Oropal?

Primarily, it meant that I keep my job, as the founding family of the brand, Franco Hermanos, did not want to keep the business alive. This helped our families maintain their life projects. Irurena Group continued the Oropal project, strengthened it, making our paints reach more people and places by adapting the brand to the market.


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