July 09, 2024  •  Insights  •  Meet the PRISMAtes

Meet Kostiantyn Garbar | Frontend Developer at PRISMA

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man cycling

Meet the PRISMAtes and get to know our team! In this series, our employees tell us a little about themselves and their journey to PRISMA. Let's meet Kosta!

It's February 2024, 17 degrees Celsius, the sun is already high, and Kosta is racing on his bike over Los Alcázares in Spain. Pebbles and dust are kicked up into the air as he speeds by.  

The route, with its stunning sea views, is nearly 100 kilometers long. At its end, Kosta now stands, his bike still between his legs, looking at the display on his bike computer. 

"3:37 hours. That needs to get better," he says with a smile. 

Kosta isn't riding just for fun. He spent one month in Los Alcázares, from February 10th, training to qualify for the UCI World Championships in Road cycling. His real goal for the month was to prepare himself for the season. 

"I want to make it in the top 25 percent at least," Kosta says as he scrolls through the data on his display. "So I need to put in the time and effort." 

Kosta participated in the Millars Gran Fondo race on March 10th. "Sadly, I didn’t qualify for the world championship from that event. But after 4 weeks of intense training, I wasn't too disappointed as I finished the race with a time of 5:24:45. Anyway, I did qualify for the world championship later on in April in another race in Austria." 

Kosta is currently on a workation, which means he's on his bike in the afternoon and on his laptop in the morning. "I cleared it with the team—they know when they can reach me. And as long as I get my work done, it's fine with everyone." 

Kosta created a schedule where he starts work at 7:00 and finishes at 15:00. Then he has 3-4 hours of training every day. On weekends, he has long rides between 4-7 hours.

Discovering PRISMA: A Perfect Match

Kostiantyn Garbar is a Frontend Developer. Since 2019, he worked as a freelancer, and later found a company in Kyiv where he worked. However, he always wanted to work abroad, preferably in Europe and in an international environment. It felt like fate when he came across PRISMA one day while scrolling through LinkedIn on his sofa.

"It said ‘Open Door policy, internationals not just welcome but desired,’ and the job description fit too! I was already very interested, but wanted to make sure. People can write anything." 

He reached out to Mariana Fernandez from the People & Culture team, who answered all his questions and convinced him that PRISMA doesn't just spout empty phrases, but stands by the words in the job description. 

"I felt she was open and honest with me. I appreciate that in people," Kosta explains, adding, "And it was confirmed when I got the offer and things really started. PRISMA truly cares about its people."

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kosta bike

Kosta in Millars Gran Fondo race

New Beginnings: From Goslar to Leipzig

Anyone working at PRISMA needs a primary residence in Germany. This meant Kosta, his wife, and their young daughter had to pack up their things and move to a completely new country. 

"It was definitely a challenge, but we both wanted to go abroad. And thanks to PRISMA, we had support." 

Kosta received a relocation bonus, a budget to quickly and easily set up his new home. Since October 2022, that home has been Leipzig. Additionally, he gets financial support for the local kita fee from PRISMA. 

"The city is very different from what I'm used to back home—smaller, more manageable, but still, there’s a large Ukrainian community here—that was, of course, great for us!" Kosta explains. "And," a smile spreads across his face, "You can really reach everything within a few minutes by bike," Kosta laughs. 

Kosta's daughter was just three months old when they left Ukraine, so she was born at the beginning of the war. "Yes, in fact, I was living abroad since 2013. I was studying in the UK and Germany, and worked in the USA and Spain. Just a month before the war, I had a job offer from Europe and wanted to relocate. My family is safe here, and that's the most important thing for me for sure. On top of that, Leipzig is a really family-friendly city and we are really happy here." 

Kosta's wife worked as a volunteer for the Ukrainian community in Leipzig. "We communicate with Ukrainians here, but also have international friends. We believe that to integrate into the German culture and society, we should also surround ourselves with the local community. So, I’d say right now we have a good balance." 

Back in Leipzig, it's no surprise that Kosta also bikes to the office. He rides his bike to work, rain or shine, showcasing his dedication and love for the sport. "I have the right clothing," says Kosta, "and it’s warm inside and there's coffee!"

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kosta riding

Embracing the PRISMA Spirit

On a typical office day, Kosta’s first stop is the kitchen, where the smell of coffee is already in the air and a few colleagues are always chatting. With a cup in hand, he likes to join in. "I like to break the stereotype of the silent developer," he says on his way to the sofa corner. 

The international team and culture made it easy for Kosta to connect and feel comfortable. "And Pipo played a big part in helping me get up to speed professionally as well," Kosta adds. 

Pipo, as PRISMAtes know him by his nickname, is Philipp Zinz—Engineering Manager at PRISMA, and Kosta's mentor. "He has been there to help and support me from the beginning," Kosta recalls gratefully. 

The PRISMA platform is complex, offering gas capacity management throughout Europe with different auction models, and also the matching mechanism for the EU Energy platform. "Without PRISMA, the European Energy Market would be a mess—I know that now," Kosta says, laughing. 

For Philipp, there was a lot to explain, Kosta notes. And he took the time, despite having a lot on his plate himself. And even as a newbie, hierarchies—real or perceived—never played a role.

"I can comfortably have coffee with my boss, feeling like an equal among peers," Kosta says casually. For him, it's clear that he wants to carry this culture forward and the type of mentorship he experienced with Philipp. "I plan to carry it forward with me. As new colleagues join the team, I aim to support them in the same way." 

This also means Kosta plans to stay. Leipzig has already become a home for him and his small family. And PRISMA provides him with the work environment he was looking for, along with the flexibility to continue pursuing his personal goals.

Achieving the Goal

Kosta qualified for the UCI World Championships in Austria and was 43rd out of over 1000 participants. The World Championships will take place on September 1st in Denmark.  

His colleagues were incredibly supportive throughout his training, often checking in on his progress and cheering him on. "It was amazing to have such a supportive team," Kosta says. "Their encouragement meant a lot to me." 

"Speaking of which, I need to get going and cover some more distance," Kosta says, glancing at the clock. He tosses his keys into his hand, bids farewell to his colleagues, and heads quickly into the bike garage. It's raining again, with large drops splashing on his white helmet. 

"It's just water," Kosta says as he wheels his bike out the door. "I won't let that ruin my training plan." The door slams shut, and into the rain, he quickly rides home to change into his gear and start training.

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